Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Loving Humanity and Hating People

"I love humanity,' he said, ' but I wonder at myself.  The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular.  In my dreams, he said, 'I have often come to making enthusiastic schemes for the service of humanity, and perhaps I might actually have faced crucifixion if it had been suddenly necessary; and yet I am incapable of living in the same room with any one for two days together, as I know by experience.  As soon as anyone is near me, his personality disturbs my self-complacency and restricts my freedom.  In twenty-four hours I begin to hate the best of men:  one because he's too long over his dinner; another because he has a cold and keeps on blowing his nose.  I become hostile to people the moment they come close to me.  But it has always happened that the more I detest men individually the more ardent becomes my love for humanity."

"I came with horror to the conclusion that, if anything could dissipate my love to humanity, it would be ingratitude.  In short, I am a hired servant, I expect my payment at once - that is, praise, and the repayment of love with love.  Otherwise, I am incapable of loving any one."

~Quotes from two different people in The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

In my women's group today, the following question was posed, "Jesus set down certain conditions for those who wanted to be His disciples.  In Matthew 16:24 we read, 'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'  How has Christ presented you with the Cross in your life?  Has it strengthened your faith?"

Our discussion centered around the crosses of everyday life - Usually those that involve relationship,  ingratitude, selfishness, and unmet expectations.  The heaviest of these crosses are those which we have been carrying for a long time, and there has been no sign of positive change.  The wounds get deeper with the passing of time, and we are tempted to eliminate the source of them (the person who is repeatedly hurting or frustrating us).    We don't want to be so foolish as to allow other people to continually hurt us.  So, we become paralyzed in the relationship.  We want the situation to improve, but the other person won't allow it.

Consider the following: 

"If we only had faith we should show good-will to all creatures; we should cherish them and be interiorly grateful to them as serving, by God's will, for our perfection."
~ Fr. Jean Pierre de Caussade

"Harm does not come to us from external circumstances, but from how we react to them interiorly.  The harm that other people do to me, never comes from them, it comes from me."

"We have no right to identify people with the wrong they do.  That would be to imprison them and lose all hope in their regard.  Nor can we identify anyone - especially not ourselves - with the good they do."

"It is consoling to know that we can draw great spiritual profit from a trial with nothing spiritual about it."

~Interior Freedom, Jacques Phillipe

"Vain are all our lookings around to companions and relatives; they are broken reeds if we lean upon them - often unwilling when able and unable when they are willing.  Since the promise comes alone from God, it would be well to wait only upon Him, and when we do so, our expectation never fails us.  In all times of fiery trial, in patience let us possess our souls."  ~Charles Spurgeon

Sometimes things seem very complicated when we are in the center of the relationship matrix.  However, we should strive to imitate Christ's simplicity.  If someone hurts us repeatedly, we are called to forgive repeatedly.  We need to know that sometimes a difficult conversation is required to "clear the air".  We are very hesitant to do this because we don't want to hurt anyone.  However, 

"The Christian ideal is not to avoid hurting people, but to avoid harming them.  Peter probably did not feel very good after Jesus said to him, 'Get behind me, Satan.'" ~The Art of Christian Listening, Thomas Hart

We are called to speak the truth, in love.  And we've heard it a million times - Sometimes, the truth hurts.  If you think an uncomfortable dialogue is in your future, be encouraged.  Pray.  Ask God for wisdom.  Spend some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  Write down what you want to say.  Ask God if he approves it.  Consider whether you will still think engaging in dialogue was best, even if it is not well-received.

"Human beings are more than the sum of the good they can accomplish.  They are children of God, whether they do good or cannot yet manage to do anything.  Our Father in heaven does not love us because of the good we do.  He loves us for ourselves, because he has adopted us as His children forever.

This is why humility, spiritual poverty, is so precious:  it locates our identity securely in the one place where it will be safe from all harm.  If our treasure is in God, no one can take it from us."
`Interior Freedom, Jacques Phillipe

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the truth of who You are, and for calling us so clearly to be like You.  Please grant us prudence and wisdom for the relationships in our lives, especially those that are painful to us.  You know we are tempted to protect ourselves at all costs, and yet, You don't.  Help us to realize that our love for humanity must boil down to love of man, with all of his irritating faults and shortcomings.  Lord, thank you for loving us into existence and loving us just because.  Help us to imitate Your mercy, Your forgiveness, and Your love.  Please give us the grace to detach ourselves from our expectations of others, and to look only to You for our every need.  I love You.  Amen. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

15 Graces To Pray For

Today is my first day back after a 3-day silent retreat to participate in the Ignatian spiritual exercises.  I have so much I want to share with you, but know I have to pick and choose the things that are good for you.  Before I get carried away, let me very seriously encourage you to make one of these retreats in your lifetime.  The sooner, the better.  The more often, the better.

You cannot return the same after spending a weekend conversing with Jesus Christ.

These retreats come around twice a year in these parts.  Next year, mine will be February 13 - 16 in Castroville, TX.  Put it on your calendar if you live less than two states away!

I attended this same retreat last year and it was the impetus for starting this blog.  If you haven't read my very first few posts, it will give you the necessary background for understanding my motivation every time I write.  In a nutshell, last year I was completely convicted of God's love for me, and the pain it causes Him when we fail to trust Him.  I felt very compelled to do something to love Him back, and encourage others to do the same.

This year, I was reminded of His love for me (my conviction from last year remains), His generosity, His patience, and His mercy.  I had many personal lights and wrote my program of life, which is basically a plan that identifies the major area of sin in your life, how it manifests itself, the opposing virtue, and specific measures to practice that virtue. 

It is very personal, and every person's looks different.  I am not opposed to sharing mine with you, but am going to wait for that inspiration, as I'm not yet sure if it would be helpful to you.

However, I know something that will be helpful to you.  For each of the 15 meditations, we were encouraged to ask for a specific fruit or grace.  I want to invite you to ask for the same graces and encourage you to incorporate them into your prayer life. 

In Apostolate for Holy Motherhood, Christ says, "Ask of Me all that is good for thee spiritually, and it will be granted thee..."

Lord, please grant me the grace...

1.)  Of detachment of all that is not You nor leads me to You.
2.)  To seek You alone.
3.)  To know the malice of sin, so I may despise it in my own life.
4.)  To be ready for death at any moment.
5.)  To be a disciple that is called to Christ's right hand at the final judgment.
6.)  To be meek and humble of heart.
7.)  To imitate You in simplicity.
8.)  For a deeper desire to follow You.
9.)  For the grace to experience the depth of the Mass.
10.)  To know You as a person.
11.)  To accompany You in Your suffering.
12.)  To be as faithful a friend to You as You are to me.
13.)  To ardently desire Heaven.
14.)  To be an apostle, who with You, can do all things.
15.)  To use well the gifts You have given me, especially my intelligence and free will.

Thank you for hearing me.  I love You.  Make me love You more and more.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gossip and Correction

Most of us are a little uncomfortable correcting one another.  This topic comes up a lot, because we're confused about the right course of action.  Until now.  I attended a Morning of Reflection two weeks ago; Gossip 2.0 - Fraternal Correction was the topic.  Fr. Michael Sullivan, LC deftly led us through this touchy subject.  Following are my notes from that morning, based on Fr. Michael's presentation, which he compiled based on St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa:

Matthew 18:15-17

If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.  If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.  If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that 'every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.'  If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.  If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

~  Fraternal correction is the antidote to gossip

~Gripes should always go up the chain of command, not down.

~How do you correct a brother/sister?  Fraternal correction is charitable.  Sin is harmful to the sinner and conducive to harming others.  The first goal is improvement of the sinner by driving out evil to procure good (protection from himself).  The second goal is to safeguard justice for the common good.

Note:  Negative precepts DO NOT have exceptions.  ie.  Thou shall not kill, Thou shall not commit adultery, etc..  For any act: consider the object, circumstance, and purpose.  If any part is wrong, it is ALL wrong.

~Can one sinner correct another?  Yes!  Sin doesn't deprive us of all right judgment.

~When we have to find fault with anyone, consider if you have also committed the same sin and that we are all weak.

~Should you correct a person who will become worse for the correction?  No!  If the person will not heed warning, omit the correction.  It is no longer a good.

~Secret correction should always precede public correction.

~Practice prudence:
1.  Counsel - Seek advice from the wise.
2.  Judgment - Make the call.
3.  Action - Do it.

~Speak of someone as if they were present.

~Believe all the good you hear, and only the evil you see.

~Avoid being triangulated.  Take yourself out of the position of authority if two friends are using you as a referee or mediator.

~All truths do not have to be communicated in all circumstances.

~Be wary of neglect and micro-management.

~When we correct peer to peer, it is charity.  When correction takes place from the top down, it is justice.  (end of notes)

I hope this helps you.  It was a great morning, and clarified many things for me.  Feel free to ask questions in the comments section, if you need further clarification.  We covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time, so I hope my notes are sufficient. 

A few other quotes on gossip to keep in mind the damaging potential of this easy-to-engage-in sin:

The slanderer commits three murders:  his own soul, the soul of he who listens, and civil death to the object of his slander.  When you hear evil of anyone, cast any doubt you can.  If that is impossible, make any available excuse for the culprit.  If not possible, be pitiful and compassionate, and remind those you are speaking to, that such as stand upright do so solely with God's grace.  Do your best to kindly check the scandal bearer, and if you know anything favorable to the person criticized, take pains to mention it.  - Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales

When I want to speak, let me think first.  Is it kind?  Is it true?  Is it necessary?  If not, let it be left unsaid.  -Babcock

Let thy words be few.  -Ecclesiastes 5:2

A good test for conversation:  If you wouldn't write it and sign your name to it, don't say it.

Dear Heavenly Father,  Thank you for this beautiful day.  Thank you for giving us many helps when we try to apply Your Word to our lives.  Please grant us wisdom and prudence when we see our brother sinning or are privy to gossip.  Lord, we do not want to be an obstacle for anyone in their walk with You.  Help us to act out of love, pure intention, and humility.  Amen. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fasting for Lent

Yesterday, our Lord told us, “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”  

Do we fast because our Lord has been taken away from us? 
In Matthew 28:20, Jesus says, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”  We know this when we meet Him in the Sacraments.  So, why should we fast?
We should fast to make room for our Lord.   We fill ourselves up with the stuff of the world – food, alcohol, Facebook, video games, and fleeting pleasures of every kind.  But, Mother Teresa says, “Even God Himself cannot fill what is already full.”
 During Lent, we are called to enter the desert with our Lord, to know and love Him more.  We have the privilege of carrying Him in our very bodies and souls.  Let us not force our Lord to travel by another way because there is no room for Him.  He already knows what that feels like.  It was the first experience of His humanity.

Dear Heavenly Father,  Thank you for this Lenten season.  A time to go deeper with You.  Thank you for the example of those who suffer and unite their suffering to Your own.  Help us to know what needs to be left at the desert's edge, those things which You will not be bound up with.  Help us provide ample room for You, so that You may reside comfortably within us.  Help us to imitate Your humility and spare You the pain of repeating the circumstances of Your birth.  Lord, never permit me to be separated from You.  Amen. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day - The Un-Hallmark Version

I am looking forward to dinner and a date with my husband tonight.  Today is (should be) special for all couples, but it is especially special for us because it is the anniversary of the day we met.  Yes, I believe in Providence. 

I am thankful for the 3 years that have passed since this journal entry that make sharing this once painful day, a joy and a part of history.

February 14, 2010 – Valentine’s Day

Sunday 1:47pm 

I just put the boys down for a nap and I need to sort a few things out in my head, so here goes…  This morning, I gave Brett a book, a card, and some chocolates for V-Day.  He didn’t want to open it until he came back from San Antonio (which he was leaving for today), so we could have a mutual gift exchange.  I wasn’t expecting a gift, but I wasn’t expecting nothing, either.  He said instead of going out and getting me something yesterday, he thought it was more important that he come home, so I could leave and have some time to myself.  After a little disappointment, I started thinking about what was bothering me the most, and it was that he didn’t admit that he just didn’t make the effort.  After all, he is a logistics man and the day before Valentine’s Day isn’t the only day to come up with something…my favorite thing in the whole world is a handwritten note from him (and he knows this). 

If he had given it very much thought at all – he could have given me what I value most.  Even if he had put it off until this morning, he was up almost 2 hours before me.  The way I see it is that it just wasn’t important to him this year.  I can deal with that better than him not admitting it.  So, after wrestling with letting it go, or letting him know, I called him.  He was quick to point out that he took Friday off and had to work an extra long/hard day on Thursday to do so.  Furthermore, he gets very little time to himself (one Saturday a month since November for shooting - He didn’t mention his lunch breaks and the opportunity to work out).  

Then, he told me he had some things to get off of his chest, too.  He thinks I’ve been pretty self-absorbed lately and listed the following:  going to Lauren’s (one Friday night for a few hours), time practicing music with Tomas, my rugs, and going to have coffee with Becca.  This is almost the entire list of things I do, which are not taking care of my children or house.  The only thing that is missing is the occasional hour at Lick Creek Park to walk the dog.  I think it is of note that my music practice and coffee with Becca are all after the kids are in bed (or on their way), and this is not an accident.  I don’t think he is self-absorbed for wanting to go shooting (even 3 times a month – it just gets too expensive).  So this leaves me with the question, “Am I self-absorbed?” 

Probably so.  Day in and day out, I wrestle with wanting some time alone, doing my own thing.  I try to give my kids as much of me as I can without being resentful.  When I start to feel resentful, the only thing I know to do, is to try to put something back in my own cup – by working on rugs, going for a walk, or playing music.  Mother Teresa says any time we have lost our peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.  I think it is true (but often forget) that my time belongs to my children as much as it belongs to me.  It is a constant battle to put that into practice.  However, I don’t think that because Brett has to watch the kids from time to time - to accommodate me - makes me self-absorbed. 

I would love a quiet evening in a hotel room.  I haven’t been ALONE (without Brett or the kids) for more than 24 hours at one time since Brayton was born (in 5 years).  He has been deployed multiple times since our marriage, gone on many work trips, has had the house to himself on at least 2 different occasions when I’ve taken the kids to KS, and is getting ready to have the house to himself for a week.  He gets time for reflection and to gain perspective on things at home, even when he’s not doing “his own thing”.  Being away helps you appreciate things at home and to love your family better.  I have not “been away.”  I know I could do better and be better, but there are times I feel like I am totally losing myself, and since I can’t leave (for more than a couple of hours), I turn inward.   

I’m not sure where to go from here…I’m a solution-oriented person, but I feel like only half of the problem lies with me.  I can find ways to “be okay” with not getting more time to myself.  Time spent outside and little adventures with the boys feel like “my time”, too.  But, I don’t know how to handle the perception of being self-absorbed, when I do anything for myself.  All I do know, is that my life is not about me 90% of the time, as it shouldn’t be.  Our lives are supposed to be about other people, so my prayer is for this to come more easily with each passing day…that I will not lose my peace. (end)

Dear God of Love,  Thank you for Brett, the man you chose for me before I was knit in my mother's womb.  Thank you for ignorance of the day and hour I was going to meet him.  If I would have known, I would have been a nervous wreck, and he might have changed his mind!  Thank you for rich people who hired a girl like me and made it easy to move far away from home.  Thank you for the hilltop outside Mountain Home, TX, where our lives were changed forever.  Thank you that real love stories aren't confined to Hollywood.  Thank you for allowing us to meet You, through our spouse, in marriage.  Thank you for unconditional love.  Please be near to those today who have not experienced it.  If there is no one else, please let the love of a stranger break into their world, and hint at Your love for them.  You are an awesome, generous, and loving God.  I love You and I know You love me.  Amen. 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Finding Meaning in Suffering - Part II

We stumble when we try to reconcile suffering with a loving God.  It just does not make sense to us.  We cannot understand how our comfort isn't more important to Someone who loves us. Those who have gone before us have tried to help us along...

 "The Infinitely Holy cannot cease to hate evil.  He tolerates it, nevertheless, in order not to deprive man of the use of his liberty."  Rev. Lehodey, Holy Abandonment

"Because God did not make evil, and the devil's villainy introduced it, God postponed vengeance so that the devil could be overcome by those very persons whom he had deceived."  St. Ambrose

"God judged it preferable to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist."  St. Augustine

"Prosperity has attractions which charm the senses and lull the reason to sleep.  It imperceptibly brings about in us such a change of disposition that we begin to attach ourselves to the gifts and to forget the Giver."  St. Francis de Sales

The problem is that we are nearsighted when it comes to eternity.  We simply lack the Big, big, big picture.   If God's primary concern for us was our comfort, we would likely never get to Heaven.  We would be too comfortable to go there willingly, and He doesn't drag people.

After examining cases of tremendous suffering (Genocide in Rwanda and individual lives chalk-full of suffering - Job, Blessed Margaret of Castello, holocaust survivors), we learned that we especially struggle when suffering seems unlinked to any personal sin.  Innocent suffering.  In fact, they didn't even believe in it in the Old Testament.  All suffering was seen as direct punishment for sin, which is why Job was such an enigma to his friends.  After considering many things, it all boils down to two questions.  Is a life of suffering a life worth living?  Can a loving God allow and approve it? 

If God is a God of love and mercy, doesn't that require that He give us every opportunity to draw close to Himself?  To obtain eternal salvation?  Isn't everything secondary to that very secondary?

"Rejoice in your trials; they are setting you free from the bonds of slavery to sin...All sin must be purified from the soul before a soul can stand before the throne of God in Heaven...Do not fight the cross, rather accept it as the glory it truly is...Fear nothing that unites you to Me, such as your trials and crosses, rather fear only that which separates you from Me, such as pleasures and indulgences of the flesh.  Pray for strength and courage to carry your crosses, not to have them taken away when they are your means of purification or sanctification.  Although the mercy of God indeed includes the cures of many afflictions, it is only in those cases where I deem it unnecessary for their salvation to carry that particular cross.  If a cross or trial is of great spiritual value, I will not remove it, and you should never wish that it were, for it may be the means of salvation of many, not only the individual soul."  The Christ Child in The Apostolate for Holy Motherhood

"If you try to find rest in this world, how will you ever reach that rest which is life everlasting?  It is not long hours of rest you must be prepared for here, but for long hours of patient endurance.  True peace must be sought not on earth, but in heaven; not in men, nor in other forms of creation, but in God alone...For the love of God you ought to endure with gladness all that befalls you:  toil and sorrow, temptations, afflictions, anxiety, want, weakness, injury and slander, rebuke, humiliation, shame, correction, and scorn.  All these things are aids to holiness; they test the man who has newly entered the service of Christ, and go to the making of his heavenly crown."  Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ

I'm so appreciative of these quotes, where it's all laid out.  I wonder how many years of conversation could be spared if we would reflect on these words, instead of trying to figure it out on the phone.  I can just imagine our holiness if the time spent beating X to death would have been used praying.  (I'm not saying we shouldn't talk to our friends, but it would be good if we talked to God more). 

For me, this post is a reminder that suffering is not incompatible with the plan of a loving God.  I am renewing my trust in God's plan for my life, no matter how crazy and nonsensical it may seem at times.   I am reminded that I stink at suffering.  If I am tired, I get snappy.  If I feel I've been treated unjustly, everybody knows it.  If I have too many things to do in too little time, my peace flies in a direction far away from me.  I'm a terrible actress.  I used to think that hiding my little hurts was being dishonest, and I felt justified in being transparent.  However, after reading and praying John Henry Newman's Learning Christ prayer, I know better.  (If you are not familiar, I have posted it previously under the title," I Love This Prayer!!  Maybe One Day I Can Live It!"). 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the rain and Grandmas who can keep little boys with fevers.  Thank you for Woody Woodpecker and the time to finish this blog.  Thank you for teaching us about suffering and how You use it for good.  Thank you for the saints and for revealing Yourself to us through the ages.  Lord, I know I don't suffer well.  Please forgive me for all of the times I have caused others to suffer because of my lack of ability to keep my suffering to myself.  Please draw near to all of those suffering in ways big and small.  Help them to know that there is purpose in it, and bless them with the joy that comes with that knowledge.  As we begin our Lenten journey tomorrow, help us to take more comfort in knowing and loving You, and less on the comforts of this world.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

One Cruel Mark At A Time

The following applies to us any time God is at work in our life, but we don't have a clue what He's up to.  All we know is that it hurts.  Here is another view, from a distance:

It is true that a canvas simply and blindly given up to the work of the pencil only feels its movement at each moment.  Each blow of the hammer on the chisel can only produce one cruel mark at a time, and the stone struck by repeated blows cannot know, nor see the form produced by them.  It only feels that it is being diminished, filed, cut, and altered by the chisel.  And a stone that is destined to become a crucifix or a statue without knowing it, if it were asked, "What is happening to you?" would reply if it could speak, "Do not ask me, I only know one thing, and that is, to remain immovable in the hands of my master, to love him, and to endure all that he inflicts upon me.  As for the end for which I am destined, it is his business to understand how it is to be accomplished; I am as ignorant of what he is doing as of what I am destined to become; all I know is that his work is the best, and the most perfect that could be, and I receive each blow of the chisel as the most excellent thing that could happen to me, although, truth to tell, each blow, in my opinion, causes the idea of ruin, destruction, and disfigurement.  But that is not my affair; content with the present moment, I think of nothing but my duty, and I endure the work of this clever master without knowing, or occupying myself about it.

Yes!  give to God what belongs to Him, and remain lovingly passive in his hands.  Hold for certain that what takes place either exteriorly or interiorly is best for you."

~Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean Pierre de Caussade

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for Fr. Jean Pierre de Caussade and his writings.  Thank you for this one, in particular.  Please help us to remain lovingly passive in Your hands, and endure Your work, in whatever form it may present itself, with peace.  Please purify our self-love, which always demands to know what is going on, and help us rest in our ignorance of Your divine plan.  Amen.

It's Hard to be Holy When You're Sleep-Deprived

A blast from the past for a friend who has been sleep-deprived for far longer than anyone I know, and for all who have been there (or are there)...

September 9, 2009

11:10am – Wednesday 

The car is all packed up to go to Lake Bryan.  It’s raining outside and I’m waiting for the baby to wake up.  I’m tired and don’t feel like going, but I think it will help me “chill out” some, and Brett is out there w/ his guys today running the boats.  I feel like I’m being pecked to death by my baby chickens (Brayton and Walker)…fix this knot, my train track is broken, where are my logs?, Brayton pushed me, Walker called me stupid, find me in my fort – no not through that hole, this hole…The baby is still getting up twice a night and it doesn’t seem to have any relationship to hunger, as he sometimes wakes up earlier after he eats a big meal before bed.  I can’t figure it out and it is really starting to affect my patience level during the day. 

I have been reading about being resigned to God’s will for my life.  Is God’s will for my life for me to be sleep deprived?  I vacillate between wanting to wean the baby entirely (not that I could do it quickly – I’ve been trying to get him to take a bottle for months) and giving him God’s best by breastfeeding him – as much and as often as he wants. 

I am beginning to wonder if it would be easier to suffer pain/sickness, as the suffering is coming from within rather than without.  I am always at the mercy of other people.  I am trying to give thanks in all circumstances, as written in Thessalonians.  However, as my sleep deprivation grows and my patience shortens, it becomes more difficult with each interruption/demand.  I thank God for my three healthy, beautiful children.  I thank God my legs work, so I can tend to them.  I thank God I don’t have to work and entrust my kids to someone else’s care (even if it would be better than what I can offer some days).  I thank God I am able to breastfeed (as this was my fervent prayer when pregnant with Wyatt).  I thank God Brett has a good job.  I thank God we can pay our bills without receiving utility disconnect notices or foreclosure notices.  I thank God I have parents who love me.  I thank God He loves me.  I thank God for Jesus – I am believing more and more all the time my own weakness and incapability to do much on my own.  I thank God for the consolations of Wyatt’s smiles, and him reaching out to touch my face, and the boys’ laughter.  I thank God for “Mom, you’re my best.”  I am reading Teresa of Avila’s biography.  I can relate to her about so many things.  It took 40 years for her to develop/recognize her holiness.  I hope it doesn’t take that long for me.


September 13, 2009

Sunday – 1:29pm 

I just wanted to write before I forget how great it feels to be well-rested.  We started to wean Wyatt from his night feedings a few days ago.  The first night he cried for 32 minutes.  The next night about 35.  The following night for about 10 minutes (according to Brett – I was so desperate for sleep and couldn’t bear listening to him cry again for so long, so I slept on the couch with ear plugs in and the fan going).  It was probably the best night’s sleep I’ve had since Wyatt was born.  Last night he only woke up once around 3am and cried for a minute or so, and didn’t wake up until almost 7:30am.  Thanks be to God!  The sleep deprivation was really starting to get to me.  I’ve been extremely crabby and impatient.  You know something needs to change when Brayton says, “Mommy, why are you so crabby all the time?” and Walker says one morning, “Mommy, did you not wake up crabby this morning?” (That was the first morning after I got decent sleep).  I pray I don’t forget what a blessing it is to sleep without interruption.  I want to be at my best for my kids and my husband. 

Note:  Please see my next post for a more objective view of how sleep-deprivation and all other emotionally and physically painful things might fit into a much bigger picture, and the best way to endure. 

Dear Heavenly Father,  Thank you for sleep and for sleep-deprivation, if it drives us closer to You.  Thank you for children who grow up and no longer need us in the middle of the night.  Thank you for notes kept that bring it all right back, when it is helpful for another.  Thank you for You.  Please draw near to all those who are suffering from insomnia, those who tend to others in the middle of the night, and all others who are simply tired from the pressures of daily living.  If it is not outside Your Will, please restore restful sleep to those who are most in need.  Amen. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Love Is Not Jealous - A Work In Progress

My boys had a swim meet today.  Brett volunteered to time, and I came later with the youngest and my mother-in-law.  As we walked in and took our seats in the balcony, Brett was talking and laughing with a young lady with long dark hair, tight pants, and a tank top on.  I'm pretty sure she could be a super model, if she's not one already.

I felt my stomach sink, but thought it would just be a momentary thing.  Then, I realized she was his timing partner, and they would be together for the duration of the swim meet.

Ohhhh, what an excellent opportunity for growth, here.  As the meet progressed, I vacillated between feeling proud that I wasn't feeling more jealous, and then feeling more jealous than proud.  Yuck.

Just today, we heard in the second reading that love is not jealous.  So, what the heck?  I know I love my husband, but apparently my love still needs to be purified, and maybe more than a little.

Unfortunately, I think God has a plan to help me with this (as demonstrated today).  Bummer. I mean, Thank you, Lord.

On a rational level, I know I am "proven" (as a friend's husband tells her in her insecure moments).  I know I am a much better "catch" than I was 15 years ago, and I wouldn't go back to 20 for love nor money.  But, that doesn't mean it isn't pretty to look at.

One day, I hope to reach the place where I can be happy that my husband has enjoyed another woman's beauty.  But, for now, I am going to have to settle with knowing that these humbling opportunities are perfecting my love.

Note:  I was very tempted to keep these thoughts tucked safely away in my little green journal, but in the spirit of a soul laid bare, I am sharing them, that they might be at worst, amusing to you, and helpful, at best.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the Eucharist this morning and the priests who bring You to us.  Thank you for another gorgeous day.  Thank you for already-made-Knights-of-Colombus-chili and sparing me another opportunity to disappoint in the kitchen.  Thank you for healthy children who can and want to swim.  Please forgive my imperfect love, even after all this time.  Thank you for exceptionally beautiful women, and the opportunities they give others to grow in virtue.  Help them to know that their beauty is a reflection of your Beauty and that You are the One who bestowed it upon them.  Please help me and all other women who shrink when we (or our husbands) are in their company.  Help us to feel Your Love, especially in those moments, when we feel only the things we lack.  You are so generous and faithful.  Thank you for all.  I love You.  Amen.