Monday, February 1, 2016

From the Vape Shop to The Mystical City of God

No, I haven't taken up vaping.  My mom has.  Weird, I know.  But she had been using these funny little metal cigarette-shaped e-cigarettes (sorry if I don't use the correct terminology) that had to be constantly recharged and were always having issues because they were such poor quality.  "Smoking" these things helps Mom with her anxiety, so she would get frantic when she didn't have one ready to go.  I would spend ten to fifteen minutes a day checking on e-cigs, trying to get them to charge or making sure they were charged.  It was nuts.  So my son suggested that I get her set up with a nice one that has a tank that you fill up with "juice".  Desperate to be done with the irritating e-cigs, I purchased an Aspire Nautilus tank and a hot pink Eleaf iStick battery last June, and she has been one happy vaper ever since.   She affectionately calls this rig "my puffer."  I call it her peace pipe.  I generally refill the tank every other week, and I charge it every night.  Super easy.

Except for the rare problem: Last Thursday I couldn't get the tank open to refill it.  I actually rubbed the skin on my hand raw trying to twist the thing loose.  With the prospect of no vaping, Mom started to panic.  She dug out this box of mini cigars that she had tucked away, and I quickly lit one up for her.   Then I busied myself with trying to charge one of the old e-cigs.  I  realized I needed to make an emergency run to the vape shop.

The vape shop I patronize is a friendly place with a team of ever so helpful young men at the ready to answer my latest question and/or mix up my juice order.   One of the guys leapt to my assistance as soon as I walked in.  I described the problem, and he immediately wrapped the tank with a piece of rubbery stuff and used some pliers to turn and open it   I was so excited!  And enormously relieved.  Then I went and sat at the juice bar to await my order being filled.  I asked for a recommendation on a pre-mixed juice for an 82-year-old grandma who doesnn't like fruit flavors.

The answer was "Cowboy."

"Fine," I said.  "I'll take three bottles."

They were busy, so I had to wait a while.  This is when my discomfort began, because not less than three people shared a story, amid uproarious laughter, of giving a child an energy drink as a form of lighthearted "revenge" on the parent.  I was keenly aware of being from a different culture from these poor people.  I looked hard at each storyteller and tried to see what had happened to them in their life to cause such thoughtlessness.   I began to feel sad and disheartened.  Finally I got my three bottles of Cowboy and checked out.

Once home, I discovered that my order of the new English edition of The Mystical City of God by Ven. Mary of Agreda had arrived.  I sat down and began reading Volume 1.

Immediately I was immersed in a world where the love of God was the highest priority.  It was almost a shock after the vape shop.   I soon noticed that tiny moisture droplets were stealthily creeping down my cheeks.  This seems to happen to me whenever I experience a deep moment of connection with the Faith.  It's tears without crying.  I actually think it's more like a signal to me to pay closer attention, kind of like how a hunting dog points when it spots a bird.

When I read that Ven. Mary died on Pentecost,  at the hour the Holy Ghost descends, and that several people heard her last words to be, "Come, come, come," I just wanted to suck the whole contents of the book inside myself in one great draught--my version of vaping, I guess.  What a balm for my troubled soul!   I thought of my friends at the vape shop and how different they would most likely be if they had been born into Christendom like Ven. Mary.  And I deeply regretted not making an attempt to charitably propose an alternative viewpoint to their acceptance of doing harm to a child for their own entertainment.

Photo Credit:  Tradition in Action

Yesterday, I wanted to read again about Mary's dying on Pentecost, but I couldn't find it in the book.  So I decided to google it.  I saw several results concerning her 500 bi-locations to America to convert some of the Indians of the Southwest, including Texas.  I read a 3-part series of articles on Tradition in Action about this, her work as "The Lady in Blue".  And I thought, "Dear Mary of Agreda, we have a whole new tribe of Indians in need of conversion in Texas!"  I was particularly thinking of my dear "Indians" at the vape shop.  I was a little startled at that point, remembering how I refer to my mother's "puffer" as her peace pipe and that the juice that was recommended to me is called "Cowboy".

God really does have a sense of humor.

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