Walking in the Dark

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I have no idea what is going to happen. In this country. In my state. In my town. Even in my own home. There are so many stories, nay true events, of injustice. They are not stopping. They are increasing. Injustice is being supported. My faith, my academics, my life’s work is being disregarded. Power seems to be all that matters, something that by chance of birth I have very little. I do not live in squalor or lack, but on many days I feel I might as well. Poverty sits outside my door. Worse is the feeling that if the worst happened people would simply walk right by me. As I have done so many times to those in dire situations. I am certain that Jesus is with me. I am certain He is here. Am I willing to accept whatever He has for me? I feel like a blind person walking through a war zone. I have only Jesus to hold my hand and help me and my son survive. These are days where faith is being challenged on a global scale.

Falling off the wagon, Getting back in the boat.

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This is my familiar creative cycle. Wonderful ideas, fast start, invest what I can, and then family happens. Not my son. Who is the light of my life.  Just everything and everyone else. Suddenly the demands grow and I am scurrying to find moments of time even to pray in peace. If only I had more of everything and the question I have heard over and over again. What am I going to do? I need to make more money. What am I going to do with my looks? How will I be more impressive, more organized, more efficient. Why isn’t my son smiling every second? Why is he crying? ….even as I typed this in my five minutes a call for assistance came again. Don’t get me wrong I am thankful for the moments of assistance my family gives me but the pressure is intense. Become an amazing mother while continuing to build a profitable career. It seems like an insurmountable challenge particularly when my health is calling me to change my work entirely. God is demanding I do something different. I know what my heart yearns for but how to I bring in dollars in the mean time. I can’t work the 8 hours a day on my feet job I used to do on top of my professional work to bring in extra money. I have to find a way to make money that is easy on my body. All I have ever wanted to do was learn and share what I learn with other people. Does a single mother begin the road to ministry and a doctorate in theology at 38? I believe that is exactly what the Lord is asking of me. My faith tells me our God can do anything. He can move mountains. I will follow where ever He leads me. Just one foot in front of the other. One prayer, then another, and then again. God is with me. Jesus is with me. Mother Mary is with me. The angels are with me. The saints are with me. I am not alone.

Teacher Trauma Creative Malpractice

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Can’t stop thinking about the ads my facebook, youtube, google everything has been sending me for masterclass.com featuring Margaret Atwood. Atwood is an amazing writer. She truly is a living legend. Her class is for creative writing. I cannot help but think it will be filled with help since her ad almost brought me to tears.

“If you really do want to write and you’re struggling to get started…You’re afraid of something.”

Well that was like hearing a message from God. No I don’t think Ms. Atwood is a God but I do believe she is a messenger created by Him.  When I hear something or someone speak something that creates a visceral reaction I notice, I stop, I listen .  The message of my last post was to listen.

What am I scared of and where did it come from? Rejection and even more than that dismissal.  I have many, many good teachers and I have had a few truly great ones. Yet the teachers that rejected me seem to have stuck the deepest wounds. Whispers and statements that the young overachieving, people pleasing woman carried with me. Don’t try, Stop, Make Me Happy, Stop Being Different, Follow the rules, DO WHAT YOU ARE TOLD.

Not everything that is spoken over you is true.  Spiritual study calls recognizing the truth  discernment. Discernment takes patience and experience. Discernment was simply not available for me as a young woman.

Young woman no more but I am hardly a crone.  I welcome Discernment’s arrival to my party. I had no idea Discernment would be bringing such a good time.

Reading Speaks If You Listen

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Well I read the Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson and discovered something about myself.

I give a fuck.

No criticism of Mr. Manson but you see the book is simply the discoveries of a man who became older than 29 and realized he was caring about the wrong things. Sex, money, etc. I appreciate learning about his perspective but it did not speak to me at all.  As a woman in my late thirties with a family, there are many, many things I give a fuck about and rightfully so.

Thirtyish dude not speaking to you? Where else to go…a Jesuit Priest. I know a celibate old man does not seem like the most logical move. It may seem like a total over correction. But au contraire! James Martin SJ’s ” The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything” has been a fantastic experience and I am only half way finished! His book is about people who really do care and want to know how to go about doing so correctly. So far the line that has spoken to me so clearly is “When you pray, however you pray, and feel that God is speaking to you-pay attention.”

I am paying attention.

Missing the Mark, Changing the Target

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Well it’s my twenty year high school reunion this weekend. I am looking forward to seeing everyone and hearing all of their stories. I wish I could give them a glorious story of my professional triumph and my lovely home. That isn’t my story though, My story is more like a classic rock and roll tale about a star that shined too bright, too soon, took too many risks, fell and is now seeking to rebuild after the fall.

No one starts out a saint.

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What do you love? I know the first thought that should come to my mind is “I love God.” and it’s true I do love God but I must tell you that was not the first thing that came to my mind. Or even the fourth or fifth. It is a thought I must constantly remind myself to think. I have to constantly work to keep the first commandment at the front of my mind. Of course God made everything that does pop to the front of my mind when I ask myself that question.  God brought me my son, my husband, my mother, my brother, the books I read, the art I love, even little thing like my magical hairdresser or my Phillies t-shirts. God made everything I love. He made all of those things. He made everything. Even the things I don’t love, understand, or even like.

I received a token of John Paul II. I kept wondering why and why is he insisting on being carried around with me. I got part of the answer today in my prayers. John Paul II wasn’t always a Pope.

God didn’t make me a saint. At least not yet. Maybe not in this lifetime.  He isn’t done with me.  I am not a completed creation. Creation is not a swift business.

Words are Life. The Pause When Life Ends.

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My blog began with a story about my father taking me to the opera. Just a few weeks later. He passed away suddenly. I had no words. Death came like a thief. I felt like Death had been casing my home but I said nothing. I felt it and did everything I could to discourage it. Time with family. Phone calls. Health advice. Like I was banging pots and pans around the house to let whoever was outside know I heard them. I was awake.

It doesn’t matter. We have no control of mortality. When the Lord comes to take you home your time is done. My family rushed to the hospital. We prayed. We circled his body. I felt it though as I said the words. He was gone. The machines performing a maudlin show. His soul had already left his body which hadn’t been helpful to him for so long. I was oddly calm. As I tend to be.

Silent. Silent as the machines continued to beep. Silent as the crash carts came. Silent as I held my mother. Silent as I heard the sobs and shouts of my mother. My brother. Silent as I hugged my young niece. Silent as I hovered in the space between here and there.

Silent as the curtain closed on my father’s show. Words so rarely come to me right now. Although late at night tears have finally come. Silent slow tears. Gentle relief. I can only hope that was the feeling for my father as he passed from this life to the next.

Secrets of Snow Days- Come Inside

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Remember the absolute exhilaration of being a child when the Snow Day is announced? It feels like the skies have opened up and offered you a gift. A break from the normal routines of life. It felt like someone just went on your local news station and handed you a personal gift. Twenty four hours, maybe more, to do whatever you wanted in the house. You could play any game, read any book,listen to your favorite songs, watch your favorite movies and cartoons, probably taste your favorite treats, if you were lucky you got extra time with people in your family and friends that you loved. Snow days as a child are amazing.

Then ADULTHOOD sets in. Adulthood which leads to cleaning up, facing the cold, getting to work for many people has little to nothing to do with acts of God. At some point the joy you felt as a child is replaced with responsibilities and duties. Joy has left the building. The moment of transition from child to adult somewhere around 18 is when society dictates it is time to put away childish things. Joy is for the young only.

Should we be surprised that so many of us go astray from Christ during this time of life? Christ brings Joy.  Too often we don’t learn how to keep Him (Joy itself) with us. When I lost Joy in my life. I didn’t just lose happy feelings. I lost direction. I lost clarity. I spent years searching for joy again. I found some unreasonable facsimiles. Money, glamour, prestige, sex, booze. The rock and roll lifestyle. It was never enough. I never felt as much joy as I did on those snow days of my youth.

Why not go back and discover the activities that created joy when I wasn’t looking outside? Maybe it is time to search within and find Joy again. He never went away.

The Best Choreographer

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Theater. Theatre. Shakespeare. Andrew Lloyd Weber. Pavarotti. Beyonce. Basically if it’s a spectacle on a stage I am going to have a great time. Classical. Modern. I love the beauty found in the creation.

Beauty is one of many paths to embracing the Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I can only speak to my experience, but surely this is my personal favorite path. God is THE CREATOR. He wrote the play upon which the stage of the world moves and acts.

Just today I received news which will push me towards the path of my deepest desires. It was such a surprise! I remember feeling overwhelmed. There had been all these pieces of my dreams in my hands but I was stuck. I just couldn’t see how to put it together. I put the pieces down. Just let it go and found myself engaging in a practice of gratitude.

Thanking God for everything he had handed me. Just stating my thanks for everything as it was as the Lord had created this exact moment. The pieces were enough. I was enough. God was as always more than enough.

God always keeps his promises. As I found myself in that space of gratitude, the puzzle turned around and I could see the next steps. A beautiful moment. Another moment of beauty drawing me closer to Him.