Evil…

If a person performs an evil act and is mentally ill, I wonder what their time of judgement is like? Do they end up in the fiery abyss of hell or does God have mercy on their soul because they they were mentally unaware of what they were doing?

I can’t, nor do I want to, imagine the gut wrenching anxiety, stress, or sorrow those poor parents in Connecticut  felt waiting to find out if their elementary school children were safe. I can only imagine their immense relief after seeing their precious child’s face after having realized such a tragedy occurred in their hometown. Or the overwhelming grief and then pure anger that someone could take the lives of INNOCENT children. Babies. Angels.

I, along with so many others in this nation are left to wonder about the evil that produced this tragedy. I am so sad. Why?

I am not just sad but angry. Disgusted. My focus then turns to MY children and their safety. No one is ever really safe are they? We never know when evil will befall us. I am left wondering about justice. So, if the parents cannot get justice or see justice in this life, and if the one who performed the evil was considered mentally ill because of some schizophrenia or other illness, how does God judge?

Take Courage, Do Not Be Afraid…

I can’t believe it has been six months since my last post. I have been completely distracted. My mind has felt scattered for so long now that I have actually felt somewhat distant from God even though I think of him constantly.

In the past six months even though I’ve been able to start exercising again and “stabilize” my life much more by being employed from home, which helps me to be more present for my family, my mind is still so scattered, so worried. I am worried about my country’s future and therefore mine, Jason’s, and all those around us. I worry about what this world has become and is becoming.

I have pretty much stopped watching the news constantly because quite frankly it is depressing, but I can’t stop from reading it, or listening to radio broadcasts to stay informed about the daily deals going on in Washington. As I read and listen I just become so enraged and disgusted that it saddens me. How did America get to the point that those people elected to office with the job of representing our voices, entrusted with our votes, have become such elitists?

I get so angry because people are struggling to make ends meet, to put food on the table, pay the bills, pay for their futures and then some. Almost half the nation is unemployed and not by choice. WE are the ones having to cut back while the Washington elite continue to enjoy the same level of comfort if not more.

I went to mass yesterday and realizing Congress was in the midst of “striking a deal” I felt a little hopeless. Looking out toward our futures, there was no optimism for me as I continued to worry what life will be like after the current administration finally gets done doing their deed. Jason and I have worked hard to live within our means and to really boost our savings. We worked hard to follow all the rules and do what we’re supposed to in order to secure our futures. Maybe we were wrong and should just put it all in our mattress so we don’t end up having to start over?

And then I sat down to listen to God’s Word. My only saving grace.

I heard it in Isaiah (55:2) as He told me, “Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed me, and you shall eat well…”

I heard it again in Psalm 145, “The eyes of all look hopefully to you, and you give them their food in due season; you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

In Romans (8:35), “What will separate us from the love of Christ?” The answer, nothing. We will overcome everything with Christ at our side.

In the Gospel of Matthew (14), “They all ate and were satisfied…” And still there was more.

Today in Matthew 14 again, I read Jesus’ words, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid…Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Honestly, just when I need God the most, He is always there speaking to me. It amazes me how we hear what we need to in just the right moment. I am not in control. Oh, the elitists might think they are but they aren’t. There is only so much we can do and the rest is up to God. While I am still angry today, I have remembered that whatever is going to be is going to be with or without my worry. We can only do our part to provide, to be active, and make sure our voices are heard all while keeping God in the center of our lives.

God is in the center of mine. I am working on my children. 🙂 I know, I know, I know in my heart, that God is watching and working and that there IS optimism not just for me but for our country. I feel my hope in Him.

Born to Die…

I stopped by to visit some friends this morning, not for long, just a short visit because I knew they would be busy and tired. Honestly, I have been avoiding it. My friend’s husband is in the last days of his life and now in hospice care and frankly that is not a position that I really wanted to be a part of again so soon. I thought that I was stronger than I am and I’m not. I keep having to remind myself that we are born to die and our time here on earth is short. I was able to go in and say my goodbyes to a great man. I really didn’t want to bother him because frankly, I didn’t want him to waste his energy on me, but save it for his family. I’m glad that I did—I’m glad that I had just one more chance to see his sweet smile one last time.

My visit was short, and I left quickly because I didn’t want to steal any more of their precious time together as family. As I walked briskly to my car I felt my chest tightening and my throat already welling up and I could not open my car fast enough. “We are born to die. We are born to die. We are born to die.” I keep telling myself this as I turn around and drive to the end of the street. I look at my watch suddenly and notice the date, 7/10.

7/10…We are in the middle of July. July…July 2010. Five years. Five years ago almost to the date I was at my childhood home, nursing my own father through his death. HE was in that same bed, with oxygen tubes, weak and tired from morphine, his body slowly shutting down and wasting away to nothing. My father passed away July 16th, 2005 surrounded by his wife and children and here I am, seeing it all again if only for a moment. Seeing him weakens me and makes my heart ache. As I go over the day’s events with my husband who is gently holding my hand, I hope that he never has to go through it, but I know someday he will. I tell him that no matter how long it’s been and how much you eventually distance yourself from the pain, the void will always be there. My mind drifts daily to my father even if it is only for a slight moment, a passing thought, he is there.

Living that month at home with my mom and siblings was the most difficult thing I have ever had to face in my life so far. I try to never remember my father as he was while ill because that’s not who he was as a man, as a person. He was full of life, and humor, and love and was so much more than his illness. So today, I am saddened—saddened for my friends who are losing each other and the forthcoming pain, and saddened that for whatever reason, God wanted me to see it and feel it again. Yet, even as I write this, I know that only through suffering can we experience true joy and that these are the true blessings in our lives. It helps to give our lives purpose and meaning.

I Am Not Worthy…

During this Holy Week I have been thinking about Jesus’ sacrifice for us all. Being able to go over the meaning of Holy Week with my children and teach it to sixth graders has helped me to meditate on the meaning of my beliefs, my faith, and Christianity.

Holy week is the culmination of all the events of Jesus’ passion, death, and ressurrection. It is the entire reason that we as Christians celebrate our faith in His Holy Name. Pondering upon the Lord’s passion and even discussing it and trying to bring it to life 2000 years later for my children and those children that other parents have entrusted to me as a teacher is not only humbling, but it brings me to great sadness every time I do it. I know that when they look at me my children think I’m crazy, and they think it is boring because it is the same old story over and over again. They look at me like I am crazy because while I am discussing it and bringing it down to a level they can understand, it pains me to think about what He had to go through for our salvation.

I have had the grace of being able to learn about the bible, not only read it, but learn about the culture of Jesus’ time and try to understand it. Through these lessons I wasn’t able to just come to a historic understanding of the bible and these “stories” but, grew to a deepened relationship with God. I feel SO lucky, so favored and because of this feel a profound sense of obligation, want, and longing to pass on this love I now feel to my own children. Would that at their current ages they could know what I now know. Would that this knowledge come to them  26, 29, and 32 years earlier than it did to me.

After meditating on Isaiah and John’s readings, I wonder would I have been given the grace of faith had I lived during Jesus’ time? Would I have had the courage to follow despite persecution? Would I have known and believed in my heart what I know now only because of other’s testimonies?

How vicious and cruel a death this divine man had to suffer and to be fully aware of all the events and yet love what he created so much…it is beyond me. His life, his agony, his death brings me to my knees because I know that I am not worthy no matter how hard I may try.

On this Good Friday, I can only thank you Jesus, my God, for loving me so much that you gave everything for me to believe. And I do believe in you, my Lord and Savior.

Is 52:13—53:12

See, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.
Even as many were amazed at him
so marred was his look beyond human semblance
and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man
so shall he startle many nations,
because of him kings shall stand speechless;
for those who have not been told shall see,
those who have not heard shall ponder it.

Inspiration…

It comes from many places. A book. A drawing. A look. A moment. A simple thought. Silence. Not just any silence, the silence that comes from a peaceful inner longing to listen and to hear what is truly going on around you. This time of year, we spend our days wanting and rushing; but for what…to what?

Our lives are wrapped up in keeping up with so many ridiculous demands. During this time of year, around the holidays, I find myself longing for my childhood days when things for me seemed simple and carefree. I find myself longing to give those restful easy moments to my children and yet, it seems so hard to do because we are busy trying to keep up with the many demands of today’s world. For what?

I sit here in the silence after the morning rush. I force myself to turn everything off so that I am alone in my restful thought. I am trying to hear God speak to me, because this holiday should be something more than just rushing and wanting for parties, presents, and good times. It should be a rushing of wanting of knowledge, reflection, and spiritual longing for Christ. I have allowed myself to get caught up in the hedonism and hectic nature of this time of year.

This morning I stopped. I stopped to be in silence. To think about the Immaculate Conception because I was inspired by someone else’s remembrance of this day. I stopped to think about Christ and the meaning of this season. Someone else’s simple thought provides my inspiration. My silence leads me write.

In silence I am surrounded by God. I hear a ticking clock. The whoosh of the cars rushing by outside. The caw of a black bird. The sound of my breath in my ears. In silence, I hear life. I hear God who is life. In silence, I am alone to calm myself and allow myself to let this world slip away and ask God to enter into my mind and my heart so that I can listen to his call. I want to remember Him. I want to long for Him. I want to know Him. It is THIS experience, THIS longing, THIS rushing, THIS wanting that is THE gift that I want to give to my children during this Advent and Christmas season. Not the stuff on which we spent our money. The ability to be inspired by simply being—either alone or with family—to hear God’s call.

How do I give this gift to my children? By trying my best to infuse God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit into every aspect of our lives. Is it working? I don’t know. I do not know if I am succeeding as a good Christian woman on any given day. I can only try and try my best not to be a hypocrite, yet it is so easy to fall into the trappings of society and worldly things. I try to model for them and to bring Christ into our lives. On any given day, I feel like a failure. But I will continue to stop however many times it takes and to ask God for enlightenment and His inspiration so that my children and my husband may be graced with knowing what it is to be loved, truly loved by God.

O God, my heart desires
the warmth of your love,
and my mind is searching
for the light of your Word.
Increase my longing
for Jesus. Amen
–Living God’s Word, weekly reflections from Catholicgreetings.org

It is the second week of Advent, which to me is such a special time of year. I hope that everyone becomes inspired by something–whatever that is– to spend this season, not in the stores, but in the meditation and spirit of Advent with a longing to increase in knowledge and love in Christ. We must remember. Remember to prepare our way for the coming of our Lord, Jesus.