Monday, April 30, 2012

My kitchen window has about twenty moths that have managed to figure out how to get into the screen, but are apparently not so adept about getting out.  I'd take a picture, but it really grosses me out.  They're either going to have to get smarter or die there.  I'm thinking they're not going to make it.  They really don't seem that bright.

I feel bad for them, though. They're stuck in the middle.  They can't get into the house or back in the yard.  I really hate stuck.  I hate when I'm stuck and I hate when my friends are stuck.

I feel like those moths. Like I'm beating my limited brains out in the narrow confines of where I'm stuck and it's all futile anyway.

You know what's getting me right now? It's today.  I often feel like I can handle today, but I'm not sure that I can handle the next day or the day after that.  I don't even care about the future, it's today that I can't handle.  It's another night of frozen dinner by myself.  It's yet another awkward dating situation. It's the silence.  It's no one to talk to at the end of the day.  It's first communion week when many parents my age are celebrating the first communion of their children. It's spending a couple of weeks dreading Mother's Day.  It's having completely amazing fun things going on, and not being able to share them with that special someone.  It's a family celebration for all kinds of anniversaries and no anniversary of my own. It's feeling a call and having no way to answer.

It's not that I don't have hope for what the future will be.  It's that sometimes I'm not sure if I'll make it until the future gets here.

Okay, really I'm not all that depressed in general right now, I'm just having a moment.  I think it will pass fairly quickly.  It's too nice outside and there's too much hiking and climbing to do for it to last terribly long. I'm going to go to bed now.  I have a date with sunrise tomorrow, and it's a whole new day.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Walk Through Time

In this part of the country, it's all about the peaks.  If you're young enough and healthy enough, you may get bitten by the peak fever.  It starts slow.  You may want to hike this or that peak in your back yard.  Then you want to do a 14'er.  Then you want to do all the 14'ers.  When you finish the 14'ers, you start to look at the 13'ers, all the summits in a county, all the county high points, all the high points in the 50 states, and so on and so on.  Some people feel they haven't hiked if they didn't summit something.

Me? Not so much.  Not yet, anyway.  I like a good peak, but there are a lot of other things that I like as well. Like a hike, even though it's flat, that has some good history to it.  Like a canyon with legends of hidden gold, haunted by lost souls.  That's really all I know to that story, but that's what they say. We didn't see any signs of gold, but there was lots of other stuff to see.

About what all 5 miles of this trip looked like.

Remains of what was probably a ranch house.
Remains of what was definitely a stove. 15-20 feet from the house.  I always wonder why something so heavy got moved. It's not important, but it makes me curious nonetheless.
Detailing that shows that what is now a hunk of rust once mattered.
Okay, the next part does not show up well in pictures, but I have to share it anyway.  We have no idea how old these are.  Someone said 400 years old, but it seems possible that they could be more or less.

I wish I could draw arrows and circles, but there is an animal up higher on the right.
Dunno what all of it is or means, but it looks cool.

I will let you draw your own conclusion what this might be about.

Because of the headdress, someone thought this might depict a shaman.

This was to the right of the shaman was this figure. It kind of looks like he's holding a cross in the left hand.
 Next stop on the trip through time was a Spanish mission.  This one was not as old as you might think, dated in the late 1800's to early 1900's.

The remains of the church and old cemetery.
The last stop required a river crossing. So fun! Normally, you try to stay dry, but we brought appropriate footwear to change into, and you just step in.  I had old tennis shoes, and it's really an odd sensation to feel all of the air bubbles release and then you are squishing water with every step.  But it was hot out and the water was cool and it was fun to wade across the river, so there you go.

And our destination on the other side of the river? Dinosaur tracks! For real, folks!


It is, unfortunately, sort of hard to get in pictures, but we were walking where the dinosaurs walked.  My favorite was the brontosaurus tracks.  You could see the paths that they walked. The rock was all rounded between their footsteps and almost still looked like mud.  You could almost see their feet squishing in. There are several sets of parallel tracks, showing that there was some social behavior.  Dinosaur bones may show something of what they looked like when they died, but their tracks show something of how they lived.  It was such a crazy feeling to be there in the middle of their footprints.

Their feet were a little bigger than mine.
 The allosaurus tracks were much smaller.  These were the meat eaters. Luckily the best set of tracks had a little water in them, so they are a little easier to see.  For the most part, their tracks were harder to find.  They didn't create such deep craters!

The conditions have to be just perfect for the fossils to form in the first place, and then they have to be just perfect again for them to be uncovered for us to see them. It was so great to get to experience that.

A little something pretty that I found on the way out.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Issues...

I was trying to start adding people to my other little blog, people who've been hanging out here long enough that I thought they might also be interested in a few more personal photos, but I seem to be having problems. If you got both invited and uninvited, I didn't mean to! And if you haven't gotten an invite yet, I'm trying to, but I'm invitation challenged!  And if you don't get one, please email me, because I'm not trying to leave you out, I'm just challenged.  And also email me if we've been on this blogging journey together but I don't have your email.

It really is only for photos that might be more personal.  Most of the outdoor pics and that fun stuff will still be here. This is just for those times that people might actually be in the picture.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hiking and Hope

I feel like I've written a number of different posts about hope that may all be saying more or less the same thing.  Kind of like beating a dead horse.  Except not, because hope is not a dead horse. Maybe my perseverating has more to do with the fact that it is something that I am trying to figure out, so that maybe I can nurture it.  But this particular post on hope may come with tangents.  I feel tangent-y.  You've been warned.

I went on a hike today, and I took my new point and shoot camera.  It was a hike I've done a lot, and I usually don't take a camera on a trail I've done a lot, but I had to get acquainted with the camera and see what kind of pictures it could take.


Turns out, it takes pretty run-of-the-mill photos.  Granted, I usually don't take a camera on this hike because, while it is quite pretty, it shows up a little messy in pictures.  So I don't blame the camera only.  I'm actually glad that it takes okay but not great pictures.  If it took fantastic pictures, I would feel silly for owning my big camera.  As it is, I'm glad I have this one for convenience and that one for better pictures.

Hiking generally makes me feel pretty hopeful.  I think it's the combination of fresh air, endorphins, and the pine scent.  That and there's that secret fantasy I have (and it is a secret, so don't tell anyone!) that I will get to the end of my hike and meet my special someone up there.  That also makes me feel hopeful, even if I feel silly about it. (This was fueled recently by the older couple that I met on a recent hiking trip.  They were newlyweds who had met on the top of a 14'er. They were really funny.  At one point they were being particularly mushy so someone yelled at them to get a tent! It cracked me up.)

Today it was overcast and a little depressing, but I had my course set.  Not just where I was going for the hike, but that I would be hopeful.  I am NOT talking about hoping to meet someone on a hike, because while that would be awesome, it is a pipe dream. I'm talking about real hope.
Hope against hope; hope amidst the wreckage of shattered hope; hope that is there is hope beyond hope. Faith and hope are finally one. Hope is faith disposed toward the future; it is faith holding on; it is faith holding out; it is faith defiantly, trustingly hurled into the present absence; it is handing over our hopelessness. (Referenced here.)
Yes, I am still completely stuck on that reference.

So there I was, out hiking on a trail that goes over a stream a number of different times. I crossed the first bridge all happy, and thinking about that quote. Then before I got to the second bridge, all the negativity set in.  You know, the whole "it'll never happen to me, who am I kidding, this is the way it'll be forever..." blah, blah, blah.  But when I got to the second bridge, I started laughing.  I took a picture of it, but I'm going to save that for later.  My outlook improved considerably and I continued on.

The clouds started dripping rain, but it did not dampen my spirits, because rain is always needed.  I was a little sad that I couldn't try out capturing the blue sky with the new camera, but I didn't mind too much. Real hope can outlast a little rain and a few clouds.

I don't know if you can tell, but at the last bridge, the sun poked through a little to make the water a little more sparkly. Yes, after the second bridge, sparkles made me happy.


As I was hiking down, I was thinking about the new church that I tried this morning.  It has big windows facing the mountains, so I was struck by the altar and the crucifix in the foreground and my wonderful mountains in the background. As I was waiting for Mass to start, I was reading the morning prayer which included this in the hymn: 

Hast thou not seen
How thy desires ever have been 
Granted in what he ordaineth?

Facing the mountains, I could see for a moment the truth of that statement.  After almost 2 years in the mountains, I am a different person than I was when I moved out here. Things that I am so glad to have had a chance to discover, and things that I realize that came about because of His timing with the plan of me coming out here.  And I even remembered how much I hated how things were going at that time,  but now I am so grateful for those circumstances that led to me moving out here and becoming the person that I am now.  In that moment, I could see that even though some of the deepest desires of my heart seem to be languishing as yet,  "faith in God includes faith in His timing" (Neal Maxwell, as quoted on here).

So, this has nothing to do with hope, but does anyone know how to tell the difference between an arrowhead and a rock?  I found this and the edge seemed different than regular rocks, but it was just sitting on the trail, so I feel like it was a plain old rock.


Back to Pollyanna-land: the clouds broke! Blue sky! And new leaves! That you can't see! But I promise they're there!



Okay, so I can talk the good talk, but as I mentioned before, between the first and the second bridge, any hope plummeted.  I have been waiting so long, I barely even know sometimes what I am holding on to or why I am trying to hold onto it.  Those feelings were starting to suck me in and pull me under (it's amazing how quickly that can start to happen!) Normally, I may allow myself to get a little put out with God and have a long and somewhat testy conversation, or I revert to Eeyore mode because I figure it's just easier to be depressed.  Want to know what transformed me from Eeyore to Pollyanna for the rest of the hike?

Sometimes God sends a sign, and this one was so obvious that even I could read it. So in my face that it made me laugh out loud and drop the fears in the dust where they belonged.

Ready? Here's what I saw as I came around the bend:

(Scroll slowly for the full dramatic effect)










Someone had gathered some small white rocks and arranged them in a clear space in the stream.  I don't know what that person was thinking or hoping for, but I love that they went to the work to do it, because it totally made my day. So, yes, sometimes God does speak to us in clear and unexpected ways!*

Note: I actually don't love Pollyanna most of the time.  She's so sappy that it makes me nauseous.  However, I was feeling a little nauseatingly positive on this hike, so it fits.  It's possible that tomorrow I'll be back to some sort of angst, but for now I'll go with it.


*I know that whoever did that didn't know what it would mean to me, and I share it hoping that it will help someone else, too.  After all, this is a hike that I do a lot and NEVER take a camera, so it's a bit of a coincidence that I had it so I could share this shot with you. So if you're reading this and feel like that message is meant for you, too... It probably is! :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 163)
1) I have been hungry for two days now.  I keep eating and I keep being hungry. Teenagers everywhere have my sympathy. I need to go to the grocery store.  I have food, but I need to fix it.  I don't want to, because I'm too hungry to cook.  I'm also extremely reasonable when I'm hungry.  Can you tell? I get this way sometimes if my metabolism's gotten ramped up from things I've been doing.  It's not all bad, but you need fuel, actual nutrients.  It doesn't work to just down ice cream. Darn it.

2) My house is a mess, and I have errands to run and food to prepare.  So I'm blogging.  Heck, yes, I have my priorities straight!

3) So I found something out this week.  Climbing shoes are not walking shoes.  I mean, yeah, that should be obvious, and I would never walk distances in my climbing shoes, but I got shoes that only pinched my toes a tiny bit. So I could walk in them and stand in them without too much of a problem.  However, when you try to do precise foot placements in shoes that are a little big, it's very hard to do.  So I got some shoes that make my toes curl slightly when I put them on.  Walking in them kind of makes you feel like your toes are going to break off (okay, maybe not that bad, but it isn't comfortable), but when you get on the wall, it's amazing what you can do!

4) I have a hike this weekend that should be interesting.  It's a long ways away, so that might be a bit of a drag, and it's a pretty flat area.  It doesn't sound like it'll be any elevation, or much of a view, but some interesting things to see along the way.  I'd tell you more, but if it's any good as a hike, I'll post it with a lot of pictures.

5) Speaking of pictures, I have to make a camera decision.  Here is my camera saga.  About 6 years ago, I got a camera that was fairly expensive at the time, and used that for about 5 years with decent results, but sometimes inconsistent results.  The problem was that it only had 4 megapixels, so when I did get a good shot, I'd be lucky to get a decent 5x7.  Then I moved out here, and decided to get a digital SLR. LOVE it.  The only problem is that it's big and bulky.  It takes fantastic pictures, but if I'm on a long hike, or a climb or a hike with a big group, sometimes it's too much to deal with.  But I don't like my little point and shoot anymore because the pictures are truly awful in comparison.  So I got another camera.  This one was one from a rewards program, so I didn't actually pay for it.  I didn't think it would be here by this weekend, but it came yesterday.  So now, do I take the new, shiny, and tiny point and shoot (with 16 megapixels), or the heavy and bulky but wonderful dSLR? It's a long hike with a lot of people, but I think they'll all want stops where I want pics, so it might be okay to have the camera that takes a few minutes to get out. Decisions, decisions.  But such a first world problem that I'm not going to worry too much.

6) Well that one was so long, you deserve a short one. How about a picture?
The Midwest wishes you a happy Spring!
7) Since we're on the subject of pictures, I did decide to start a picture blog.  I don't know if anyone's interested or not, and I'm not going to pretty it up much. I'll just post pictures when the mood strikes me to post more personal pictures. It will be private, but if you're interested in an invite, just email me at catholicmutt(at)gmail(dot)com. If I do post and it's related to something on here, I may link over.  I put up a few of family and friends from last month just to get it started (though if you are my family and friends, they're also on fb).

Have a great weekend, and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Awkward

A former patient came in today, determined to see me.  She's a sweetheart in general, but today was just awkward.  Like the way that she announced- several times- that I was "wasting away".  It would have been one thing if she was joking, but it's a whole different thing when she announces it in a slightly alarmed voice like she thinks I might need an intervention sometime soon.  And she says this loudly in the waiting area.  Ah, thank you.  Please use your indoor voice for making awkward statements next time.

It's amazing how- even though I completely disagree with her assessment- hearing her say it several times in that tone made me feel like I needed to find the nearest fainting couch and dig out my smelling salts. And consider counseling. Seriously!  I'm very happy with how I look and feel since I've moved out here, and I am certainly not trying to lose weight.  (Which is good, because judging by the pile of chocolate wrappers beside me, that's not going to happen. Love Dove dark chocolate with almonds!) But I am NOT wasting away.  My current BMI is 24.2, and healthy BMI is considered to be 18.5-24.9.  So, yeah. Not flirting with being underweight.  I actually found out that women consider the ideal weight for my height to be 15 pounds less than I weigh right now.  I disagree. My ideal weight is about right where I am.

Sorry, you didn't need to hear all that!  I'm more justifying to her, which is ridiculous since she doesn't read this blog. But the awkwardness continues!

The real reason she came today? Because someone she knows- who is probably a very nice guy- just broke up with his live in girlfriend of 2.5 years, and she wanted to know if I wanted his number.  Let me see... Umm, no?  What on earth made you think that I would like to volunteer as the role of the rebound?!  I told her that I wasn't interested until he'd had a chance to get over her. So she says she'll check back in a month and a half.  Really? Six weeks is all the more time that bought me?  C'mon, I should've at least had 3 months from that! And ideally by then he would have found someone else.  (Or I would have, but that seems unlikely projecting from past experience.) At the very least, it is to be hoped that he will have some sort of living arrangement then since he was living with this woman.

But here's the real issue.  People want to set me up with guys, admittedly good guys, but guys that do not know or have any interest in faith. I can't connect with them in a deeper way, because what I find most important in life is not on their radar screen.

Oh, well.  Such is life.  At least she's trying to be nice by thinking of me when she comes across a nice available guy!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mercy

I have a confession to make.  I have been obsessively watching Grey's Anatomy recently.  I know, I know.  I'm way behind the curve.  I didn't watch it when it came out seven or eight years ago, and I realize it's been over for a couple of years now.  Is it kind of trashy?  Well, heck, yes.  That's kind of the point and kind of what they built the show around.

One of the things about the show that fascinates and frustrates me is the completely messed up view of reality and relationships that is exhibited by the characters.  Obviously it is purposely taking things to the extreme, so it has to be taken with a heaping spoonful of salt, but it is interesting to see how these relationships are defined and what is going on with some of them.  I, of course, spent a fair amount of time on my high horse, because clearly I could point out the numerous things that they were doing wrong in their relationships that I would never do.  Like if you say you're trying to make your marriage work, but you go through the motions perfunctorily while you constantly obsess over someone else, you aren't really trying.  Quit trying to fool yourself that you are!

But then I realized something.  I am doing the same thing right now.  Just like this ridiculous (and fake!) character went through the correct motions of doing the right thing, but let himself be constantly distracted, I do the same thing with God.  I do the things I should do, but I allow myself to be distracted. I allow other things to have a greater priority than they should. I allow other concerns to step between me and my Beloved.

I have been thinking recently about Jen's question of the antagonist in my life story. At first I couldn't figure out who the antagonist could possibly be, but now I think that it is my own plan that may be the antagonist.  If I am called to marriage, God can make that happen in His time, but my frustration and anger and confusion and hurt can get in the way of my relationship with Him, because I want it to be now.  I want to be done waiting.

I admit, I tend to get a little passive aggressive with God.  You don't want to help me out? Fine. I'll go do other things instead. I'll put my time in the mountains at the top of the list of things to do.  The problem is that I am angry with God for not being the means to the end of marriage and family.  But God should never be the means.  He is the end.  Marriage and family should be a means to Him; and if that is not the circumstance of my life right now, then anything in my life should lead to Him.

The good news is, God is much more forgiving than any of the characters in any show.  Today, as it is Divine Mercy Sunday, there was adoration and confession in one of the churches, so I went to that. I'm also going to look into a couple of other things that might help me get more involved in the Catholic community to help me get better grounded.

Anyway, the point of my rambling is that the things that I am doing are not bad things, but I am letting them get slightly out of kilter as to what comes first.  It doesn't work, and I feel the effects of it in my relationship with God.  But He is merciful and He is waiting.

Friday, April 13, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 163)
1) I'm feeling a little out of sorts tonight, and I don't know why.  The good news is, it's raining right now and it sounds lovely and we badly need it.  And I'm tired, so maybe I should just go to bed.  It's the best place to be when it's rainy and you don't quite know what to do with yourself.

2) I was thinking about starting a picture blog, a private blog where I could actually post pictures of actual people.  I can't decide, though.  I might be too lazy for such a thing.  Also- inevitably- most of them would have me in them, and that's just a little weird. 

3) This blog is making me a little antsy.  I guess I didn't realize just how long I've been blogging.  And I feel like I just keep talking about the same things over and over again!  It makes me want to go through and delete extensively.  Again, the laziness issue will interfere with that plan. And maybe it's just because of the whole out of sorts thing.  SO glad I didn't know when I started that I'd still be blogging about the singleness thing for this long.

4) I got smoked out of Easter Vigil this year.  That has never happened to me before. I think we all can get a little affected by too much incense, but this was bad.  I was sitting close to the front because of the whole RCIA thing, and I'd been out all day, so maybe I was dehydrated or my electrolyte balance was off.  Who knows.  All I know is at the sign of peace, I slipped out the side door for fresh air.  Unfortunately the fresh air was cold enough to give me a ridiculous chill, so I went home.  It took me a good hour to get warmed up.

5) God bless our choir for working so hard to do a good job, but I really wish they didn't have such poor taste in music. Cheesy, show tune-y guitar flavored nastiness with clapping is not new and hip and engaging!* It's always been tired and blah, and now it's way old and behind the times.  Let's have some solemnity with the Vigil Mass! But seriously, the choir (all middle aged to older) really did work hard and were trying to make it beautiful.  We just have WAY different taste in beautiful.  I may not be able to go to another Easter Vigil at that church, which will be awkward if I keep helping out with the RCIA.

6) Which is not to say clapping or guitars (especially guitars) are cheesy or nasty in and of themselves.  But there is a lot of music involving them that is, and it doesn't belong in any Mass, and especially not Easter Vigil.

7) Head over to Jen's for more and have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hanging Around

Hope is an elusive booger some days.  I was realizing how long I've been writing this blog, and I was feeling a little depressed that I am STILL single. But hope is not for the faint of heart. I'm still stuck on this quote from Richard Neuhaus:

Hope against hope; hope amidst the wreckage of shattered hope; hope that is there is hope beyond hope. Faith and hope are finally one. Hope is faith disposed toward the future; it is faith holding on; it is faith holding out is is faith defiantly, trustingly hurled into the present absence; it is handing over our hopelessness.

Did you know that two years ago, Easter was on the 4th?  I'm pretty sure it was, because the day after was the 5th, and that was the day my life changed.  On the 5th, I was feeling stuck as I was hanging around on the couch wondering where my life was headed, if anywhere. I felt that I could see into the future, and the future? She was looking bleak.

Last Saturday I was hanging around, too.  But not on my couch. Nope. No couch in sight. I was hanging from a bolt by my harness while I set up for a rappel. In front of me was the light white-yellow limestone. 100 feet below me was the base of the cliff and my climbing partners. Behind me was a gorgeous valley bounded by evergreen covered mountains to the east and west and topped by a deep blue sky.

Later that Saturday, I sat in church, the only light was the Paschal candle and the lone cantor singing the Exsultet. I love the Exsultet.  It is hope flung into the darkness.  It is a confident hope, confident despite the fact that there should be no hope.

Today there is a different hope.  I woke up this morning to wetness on the ground.  We have been so incredibly dry here, that any form of wetness is welcomed and embraced.  It is hoped that it will decrease the chance of wildfire at least a little bit. Tonight, the rain has been pouring down. Thunder has cracked and rolled, rain has been coming in sheets and waves.  It is a wild hope, this rain, but welcome and so needed.

There have been times in this too long journey that I would rather push hope down and away, because I can't take it anymore.  I used to think hope was a happy little emotion.  Now I know it is not, but I choose it all the more for that.  I want the kind of hope that lasts despite every last shattered dream because it is the hope that is based on faith in the One who rose from the dead.  It is my hope in Him, in the Light, sung out confidently despite present darkness.  It is wild hope of new life in the midst of the storm.

I guess this is all a disjointed way to say that, yes, I am still waiting.  Yes, I still dislike the wait and want it to end ASAP. No, I do not think that hoping means that I will necessarily get what I want, but I do believe that hope kept close as faith that is defiantly and trustingly hurled into the present absence will get me closer to Him.  I do not know what the future holds.  Never in a million years would I have guessed how my definition of hanging around would change.  Who knows how life will change or when?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

This Night

It is easy to skip from the drama and agony of Christ's Passion to the glory and joy of the resurrection.  But do not skip that Saturday in between.  The disciples kept watch that first Easter vigil, but they did not yet know what they were waiting for.

They kept faith, though the One they believed in was dead.
They did not let go of hope, though they no longer knew what they hoped for.
They could not forget Love, though we had all killed Him.

The faith and hope that come in the midst of these circumstances is something altogether different than we usually imagine.
Faith can be holding fast to the promise even as we are haunted by the thought, "Maybe I just imagined it." This is not blind faith, but faith with eyes wide open to all the evidence to the contrary... Of Abraham, St. Paul writes, "In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations; as he had been told"- even though he was a hundred years old and as good as dead... Hope against hope; hope amidst the wreckage of shattered hope; hope that is there is hope beyond hope. Faith and hope are finally one. Hope is faith disposed toward the future; it is faith holding on; it is faith holding out is is faith defiantly, trustingly hurled into the present absence; it is handing over our hopelessness. "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."*
For all those who struggle and believe they are past the end of their rope, this is the faith and the hope that I pray for you today.  Then, like the disciples, the utter darkness of the circumstances can be broken by that single Paschal light.  And suddenly a voice rings out into the darkness and explains how our sorrow has become our joy.

...This is the night,
when once you led our forebears, Israel's children,
from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea

This is the night 
that a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin.

This is the night
that even now, throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin
leading them to grace
and joining them to his holy ones.

This is the night,
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld...

O truly blessed night, 
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ arose from the underworld!

This is the night of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me,
and full of gladness.

The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord and brings down the mighty...

O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.**


Wishing you all a happy and blessed Easter!


*Death on a Friday Afternoon, by Richard John Neuhaus, p. 233
**Excerpts from the Exsultet (the Easter Proclamation) from the Holy Saturday liturgy

Monday, April 2, 2012

Your Cross

Here is a quote from St. Francis de Sales that I really like:



Your Cross

The everlasting God has, in His wisdom, foreseen from eternity the cross He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. The cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with His loving arms, and weighed with His own hands, to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you.
He has blessed it with His holy name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God.
~

I have mentioned this quote before, but I have been thinking about it again. The cross is not beautiful and it is not glamourous, as we would expect a blessing to be.  It is not fair, anymore than it was fair that Jesus be condemned to death.






It is not easy to accept, the weight and the pain can mask the worth.



I can't carry it wonderfully, I will fall a lot, probably even more than the three times He fell.  Those falls are hard and so difficult to get up from.



I hate how my cross affects others, how it means that my parents are not yet grandparents, how my mom has to watch me carry a cross that she can't help me fix. But He knew that part, too, when He allowed it to happen this way.


I never knew how hard it would be, and I also never knew how much the help would mean to me.  I am so glad that having to carry my cross doesn't mean that I have to carry it alone.




I only wish that fewer of my falls were because the weight of my sin.





I didn't know either, how much it would strip away to have to carry a cross for so long. 


 I didn't think about how it would be to have to die to myself.  I guess I thought for some reason that carrying a cross eventually meant getting what you wanted.  You know, "when the time is right". I think that not all crosses last throughout life, but each of the crosses that we have lead eventually to death.  I don't know why I was so blind to that.

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? I don't know why I didn't realize that embracing the cross would lead to that moment of being left behind even by God.  But even Jesus felt that way.  Why wouldn't I?



I know now (as I should have realized before), carrying a cross is a hard, lonely, bloody road.  It will make you fall, whether through emotions you can't shake, or sins you commit in the midst of weakness. It leads to death.

The blessing, and the unbelievable gift is that death. It is the death of ourselves so that we may have new life in Him.

This Holy Week, realize that whatever cross you carry will be hard, it will be heavy, it will be impossible for you to get through it on your own. When God says He won't give you more than you can handle, it doesn't mean that you won't fall (because you will, multiple times). It means that He will help you back up afterwards and get you to the end.  The end may see you stripped of so many things that you held dear, it may see you pierced by pain you never could have imagined. If you accept your cross, it will end in death.

But the messiness, the pain, the desolation, the falling are also triumphant.  He walked the Way first.  If we truly follow Him, we will not only join Him in death to ourselves, but also in new life with Him.

May you all have a very blessed holy week!



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Another Post of Bits and Pieces


  • I cannot seem to get caught up from my trip! I have so many posts that I would like to write, but there is no time.  And I haven't even commented on others' posts like I'd like to either.  I'm still reading and I'll get better at it soon.
  • But not this week.  I'm not sure what the deal is, but I seem to not be doing so well on the whole Lent thing.  But as Jen is so good to remind us, it's not over yet.  There's still Holy Week.  I think I need to put the computer down and back away slowly. I might even try the whole light thing she mentions. I've never done anything like that, but it sounds interesting.
  • I do have one post that I may try to write quick before Sunday's over, to schedule later in the week, but we'll see how far I get.
  • Speaking of posts I want to write, I actually logged into to fb today and I saw that one of my young cousins had written this utter nonsense on their wall: "Truth is only a matter of perspective."  Thankfully another of my cousins called him on it, and explained objective truth quite well, mentioning, among other things, that it is objectively wrong to kill someone. Cousin #1 first responded with agreement, then followed up with: "but also, some people find a logical explaination to kill someone, and therefore they find it a truth that killing is not bad" Argh! I hate all forms of relativism because it leads to this kind of nonsense! Just because some person finds what they think is a logical reason to kill someone, it is still a truth that it is not okay to follow up on that!
  • I found another person for a role model of who I want to be when I grow up.  I do not know how old this man is, but he has been retired for 10 years, and he has white hair. Maybe somewhere between 65-75? He was on the hike that I did yesterday.  He totally kicked my butt, and most everyone else's on the trip (and there were 11 of us).  At the end, he called it a "moderate" hike. Ten miles and 3,000 foot gain in elevation, and he calls it moderate. I guess for him it is. He's training to climb the highest peak in South America this winter which is 20,000 some feet in elevation, and they will be carrying 70 pound loads between camps.  I don't want to be as extreme as he is, but I definitely love the idea of my age not being a limiting factor for whatever it is I want to do!
  • So I've lost a couple of pounds, which I'm not really trying to do right now, but it just happened.  You know what I think did it? I've been walking to work.  It's flat and takes 10 min, so I don't feel like I'm doing anything, but I guess it's affecting things.
  • The Jayhawks are in the championship!!  YES!!!!