I have been trying to stay healthy and not bring any kind of virus into the house. My wife has one more week of radiation treatments left. Is it possible that we will make it through this final phase of treatments without any additional complications? Time will tell.
I have spent much time today reading and praying. Entering into Holy Week is always a special time for me. There have been years when my Lenten journey was really powerful, and there have been years when it has been lackluster. Guess who has to take ownership for the lackluster episodes? The jury is still out on how to classify this year. However, today was good.
This afternoon I took a ride and stopped in at a local church. The doors were open and I went in and prayed. The silence was amazing. It was short lived as the choir soon arrived and began practicing for the evening Palm Sunday Mass. I stayed and waited for the Sacrament of Penance to begin. As preparation to receive this sacrament of mercy, I did some reading from the writings of St. Faustina regarding confession. The wave of mercy that I felt in that moment was most welcome. I was ready to be flooded with God's grace and mercy through the powerful forgiveness offered through the Sacrament.
For those of you who know me, or who have followed my writings for a while, know that I have personally struggled with churches being declared nonessential during the societal lock-down. Everything that I was taught over the last six decades about the value of the sacraments was tossed out the window in a heartbeat. I have heard the reasoning behind it, the supposed justifications for doing it to protect the people, etc. However, how did we as Church serve God's people when they were hurting the most? Where was the pastoral care?
My heart continues to break for the people who were isolated and alone in hospitals and nursing homes. No visits. The Sacraments were unavailable for the healthy or the sick. Do we believe chapter six of John's Gospel, or do we not? If we believe it, should not our response have been different? The shuttering of our churches only added to the pain that was being felt from all the other circumstances surrounding the virus.
Yes, I am still seeking healing for the things I feel about the last two years.
Okay. That leads me to my final segment. I use this blog to encourage you (I hope). Sometimes, I use it to share my own struggles and shortcomings in the process, but overall, it is my intention to lift you up when you read these pages and look at the photos.
I began this blog at the prompting of my son back in April of 2013 when we were snowed in (again) in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He set the page up for me, and then I set about experimenting on it. I had no idea what I was doing. I did not even know how to upload pictures or anything when I first began. April 16, 2022 will mark nine years since my first post. Jennifer Ristich, God rest her soul, was the first commenter way back then.
Why do I mention all of this? I just received notice from Weebly (my web host) that it is time to renew my website. This includes paying for the domain and the web hosting services. The last time I renewed these services I took out a five year contract. Today, I am wondering what to do. Has this page fulfilled its original purpose? Is nine years enough? Or, is there still value in what I am bringing to these pages?
Why do I ask this? My readership has declined. There are a few factors behind this. When I was traveling on a regular basis and preaching and teaching in many locales, people would start following me on social media. That led them back to this website. (Since the societal lock-down, my speaking engagements have not resumed.) Instead of thousands of page views in a day, my site now only receives a fraction of that number. On the flip side of that coin, my readers are scattered across the country. The highest percentage of readers are in Missouri, Iowa, Wyoming, and Colorado. I also have some in Illinois and South Carolina. Other states occasionally show up as well, and a few international followers are present too.
Some of my postings have been "fact-checked" by the basement dwellers at Facebook and Twitter. This has resulted in getting my hand slapped a time or two. That results in a changing of the algorithms and my posts on social media get buried. Subsequently, my readership declines.
Bottom line--is this blog meaningful to you? Should I continue? Yes or no.
Have a powerful and blessed Holy Week!