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.
When I think about Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis I never think of them as a brand. I never read their works and think to myself “I can’t wait to read the twitter commentary and the Jezebel think pieces!” I place the book down and think about the story. I think about the life I have lived through sharing this story. I consider the beautiful words that created this story. The story was an experience. I was living for those moments and nothing else. I stayed up way too late to finish one more page, one more chapter, one more act. When did stories and authors become brands? I know that I have engaged in twitter universe madness when it was about my favorite comic book characters, my favorite fantasy. George R.R. Martin, J.K. Rowling. Yet, I never engaged in this kind of social media cage match with my favorite romance novelist. I could give a damn about what twitter has to say about Nora Roberts or Diana Gabaldon or Danielle Steele. I am sure all of those authors have an online presence but I don’t care. Is this intentional on their part or simply a product of their writing and genre?
We all want to feel special. And honestly, we are all unique. BUT at the same time our stories repeat. In my quest to find my creative spark again I have been reviewing the stories that have spoken to me. The stories that seem like unauthorized autobiography under an alias. What’s mine? Do I even need one?
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.
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.
I can’t tell if I am at the beginning or the end. Maybe this is the middle. I have no idea. I started listening to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson and eating pizza. I’ll let you know how it goes…
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.
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.
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.
I really thought that today was going to be the day I could get all of the chores done that I am behind on. Yet, when I…(12 hours later) I have finally gotten back to finishing this blog post. I stopped mid sentence because my life called. Again. And again. AND AGAIN. A grumpy baby. Was there any reason in particular for this grumpiness? No. No reason at all.
Yet, my son is always teaching me new things. Today, well yesterday really, was all about Grace. I had a bunch of desires and visions of how the day would be and what I could do. I knew how my son would behave. In reality, I had no idea. I was not going to be the author of that day. In reality, none of us are ever in control. God is in control.
Yesterday, God said to me: Total focus on the most important things in your life then rest. Repeat.
That’s it. That was all I could do yesterday.
Feeling a million times better today. So does baby. Lesson learned.