Browsing Category

Encounter

Encounter

A Useful Life

December 27, 2017

“I believe that our stature as human beings makes us desire a useful life.” (Davide Prosperi, Page One: At The Beginning It Was Not So!)

This sentiment truly struck me to my core. As I approach the halfway mark of my first year in my mid twenties, I find myself wondering, not infrequently, if I am living a good and useful life.

Last night was the first time in weeks that I got a really good night’s sleep. I didn’t wake up to blow my nose. I didn’t wake up to cough because I hadn’t blown my nose. I slept through the night. I awoke feeling refreshed and, like I could totally take on the day.

This morning I realized that over the course of the past year and change I have been in survival mode. I have been so busy that I keep neglecting to take care of myself. Sure, I am fed, showered and made up… but one can only live on coffee and Too Faced Mascara for so long before they realize it’s not gonna last.

I use to have this great big desire to do good things, and help other people to encounter Christ in their every day life… but I can barely encounter Him myself because my brain and my body are so tired I can’t even keep up with my laundry on a regular basis.

So as the new year approaches, and I start to think about all those resolutions I want to make, the first has to be getting back to this desire for a useful life. And I am going to spend the next few days in the Florida sunshine, with my family, trying to figure out what kind of resolutions will help me get back to this ultimate desire.

Hit me with all of your best tips for self care, and increased sanity- especially those of you in grad school or who have survived this process!

 

 

Encounter

I Choose Freedom

October 12, 2017

“At a time when people are talking a lot about freedom, we witness the paradox of it’s absence. And what is even worse, we have settled for living without it.” (Carron, Disarming Beauty)

Freedom. This is a word I hear a lot lately. With each passing day, another news story pops up, begging me to pick a political side, choose a freedom that totally annihilates the freedom of the person on the opposite side of party lines.

I look to my friends who are married and not doing the MBA thing, and I wish myself to the freedom of not taking classes any longer.

I wish myself to the freedom of reading a book for fun, or watching a television show without having to write a paper at the same time.

I wish myself to the freedom of designated prayer time, that doesn’t brutally disrupt my precious few hours of sleep.

I wish myself to the freedom of time set aside each day to do chores and always keep my house in the tidy order I like it in.

This is me, every single day of my life. If only I had more time. If only I had less to do. If only, If only, If only.

And suddenly I have settled for living without freedom, always just assuming it will come with the next phase of life.

But there is freedom in the small sacrifices. There is freedom in gratitude. There is freedom in letting go of the comparisons and the preconceived notions that freedom looks better on the other side.

Moving forward, I am going to choose freedom. I will get up, just a little earlier to make time to pray. Heck, I may even try to pray at night too (wouldn’t that be something?!). I will complete just one chore a day. Maybe tackling a little at a time will help with the overall tidiness I so long for. I will read for fun at least one night a week, even if it is just a few pages. I will try to write my paper before watching that show- keeping my priorities in line, and being overall more effective. I will be grateful that I get to go to school to pursue this degree that I know I will ultimately love.

But most importantly, I will make sure to Thank God for each and every trial, and the continuing opportunity to sacrifice that He has given me, rather than constantly lamenting my “lack” of freedom. I will choose to live in the freedom of every good and perfect gift that has been given to me at this moment.

What is holding you back from choosing freedom today?

 

Encounter

Disillusioned With Reality

June 28, 2017

“Disilusioned with reality, with the church, and with themselves, they expereince a constant temptation to cling to a faint melancholy, lacking in hope, which seizes the heart like ‘the most precious of the devil’s potions’. (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium)

Wow, wow, wow. You know, I always thought Pope Francis was cool but this- this is a whole new level. Even me, the person who volunteers with the parish youth group, goes to daily mass as often as possible and loves Reality can become disillusioned with it all.

How many times have I asked myself: Am I good enough to do this? Do these people even want me to be a part of this? Is it all worth it?

I constantly have to tell myself YES.

Because an encounter with Reality is worth it every single time. If just one more person can live more fully alive, then this is all worth it.

Have you encountered Reality? Do you want to share it with someone else?

Encounter

A Museum of Records

June 21, 2017

“Without freedom, the life of each of us could become a museum of records of old times.” (Carron, Disarming Beauty)

This line is striking to me. This freedom that has been given to me allows me to choose to press forward in my quest to always encounter reality.

Freedom was a gift given to me so I can live more fully. It allows me to have a life that is vibrant and full of color. It allows me to be me and eliminates the boring categorical life I once lead.

How can I help others to embrace this freedom? How do I help others to encounter reality? Sometimes it is easy- a cup of coffee, an afternoon walk. And sometimes it is really difficult.

But each day I try again in the hopes of always inviting others into this freedom that I’ve found in this true encounter with reality?

How do you invite others into this freedom?

Encounter

Reality, Evident

June 14, 2017

“Reality makes itself evident in experience.” (Carron, Disarming Beauty)

Words could not speak deeper to my soul. One of my greatest strengths and simultaneously my greatest weaknesses is my reliances upon that version of reality. You see, seven years ago I met these people who all seemed to be SO alive. They lived and breathed in a different realm than I did. They had experienced Reality, and they were always trying to remain in that realm.

I started on a journey all those years ago, to also live in this wonderful state. Sure, reality also produces difficult times but the feelings, emotions and reactions are pure.

In some ways this encounter with Reality is my greatest strength. I’m fully present and fully alive- feeling the good, the bad and the ugly. But it is also my greatest weakness, for when reality is based on experience, feelings can be hard to forget, and it can be hard to work past hurts.

I struggle to find the balance between experiences shaping my reality and letting things go, giving one more chance and ignoring past experiences… you guessed it! I go off experience every time. This is what I know. But I also know that forgiveness is a beautiful ting, and trust can be restored.

Patience is everything in this delicate balance. I hope and pray to one day know how to do both: live fully submersed in reality and also live in a state of always forgiving so that others can encounter Reality with me.

How do you encounter reality?

 

Encounter

Life is Beautiful

June 7, 2017

“Life is beautiful because ever day theres an opportunity for a relationship with the Mystery, and everything can become a challenge to discover it and receive that something more for yourself.” (Carron, Disarming Beauty)

Once again, a sucker punch to the gut. Recently, I have found myself despairing frequently. Nothing seems to be working out the way I had planned, and my self esteem seems to take a beating more often than not.

Each day I plaster on a smile, try to look cheerful, and usually pretend to enjoy where I am in life. But deep down I am sad because I just can’t catch break.

My mom is an absolute saint. As I cry she listens, and constantly reminds me that I have a GOOD life. She challenges me to rediscover the good, truth and beauty in my life, and for that I am very grateful.

Her patience and love allow me to come to a closer encounter with Reality, something I so very badly need.

Do you have someone that helps keep you grounded in reality?

Encounter

Hospitality

May 29, 2017

“Clinging to each other in a fraternal way, creating hospitable homes, is the greatest help that Christians can offer to everyone to foster the reawakening of an interest in family.” (Carron, Disarming Beauty)

This is something that is really important to me. As people, we crave community. I am a very strong believer in spending time with the people that help us encounter reality. We are very fortunate to live in an area where we have people wh obuild us up and love.

We are also very lucky to have all decided this community was very important, and we make the time to see each other regularly. Dinner at each other’s houses. Morning mass. Walks and book clubs. Simple things that don’t take too much time, but which totally strengthen the bonds of friendship.

How do you build community in your life?

Encounter

The Thirst for Human Happiness

May 22, 2017

“The person of Jesus is so great and precious a good because he alone fully corresponds to the human thirst for happiness.” (Carron, Disarming Beauty)

I love the idea of Jesus as a person. So often I get caught up in the philosophical nature of this religious entity we call Jesus. But Jesus learned to walk, talk, and was probably (definitely?) potty trained. He ate with his family, learned a trade and had friends.

He shared in my day to day doings. All of the things that I do, or long to do that bring me happiness, he did too. And I just have to remember to look for the person of Jesus in everything and remember that this faith I try so hard to live out is all about reality.

Does this bring you as much comfort as it does me?

Encounter

Walking Together Towards Happiness

May 15, 2017

“The spouses are two human subjects, an I and a you, a man and a woman, who decide to walk together towards destiny, towards happiness. The way they approach their relationship, the way they conceive of it, depends on the image each on has of their own life, of their self realization.” (Carron, Disarming Beauty)

I am instantly transported to the day our pre-cana test results came back in while reading this passage. Our priest was kind and gentle. I had done the ten hour drive to Austinburg, Ohio and we were in his office ready to go over results.

Most of our answers were compatible- sometimes having the same one, sometimes interpreting the wording differently. One question we had different answers for stands out in my memory.

“Marrying my partner will solve all my problems.” The priest looked up, and invited us to share why we had put what we had put. He did seem alarmed, but he wanted to hear us out.

Absolutely not! I said with a fervor not yet seen in the conversation. ” I was made for greatness, I was made for everything. I want EVERYTHING. Sean could not possibly fill the void in my heart, and I would never expect him to do so. How horrible it would be for me to rely on him to fill something that only HE could fill for me.”

Father chuckled and asked Sean why he had answered “yes”. Sean told him that he had put yest because his greatest problem was not having the life partner needed to achieve complete happiness.

Different words. Same answer. Sean and I run at life head first, together. Sometimes one of us has to slow the pace so the other can keep up, and sometimes one of  us has to kick the other into high gear but ultimately, we are heading in the same direction.

Marriage is a beautiful, sacrificial and gloriously strange experience. To have someone care about you so deeply they long for your deepest happiness is our of this world. And to reciprocate those feelings is at the same time the easiest thing to do and the most impossibly difficult thing I have done.

But having a common goal allows us to keep running after it TOGETHER.

Have you ever experienced this?

Encounter

Reawakening Humanity

May 1, 2017

“Christianity is forced to show the truth of its claim of answering the human being’s needs. Not just any version of christianity will be capable of reawakening humanity…” (Carron, Disarming Beauty)

This is a major gut check. This “code of rules” I live by, this faith so lively and generous to so many is meant to answer our deepest needs. So often I feel like God must really need me to suffer, for so often I cannot catch a break.

But how am I answering the needs of the people placed in my life? I know for a fact I could be better about loving people just where they are at. Even the people i don’t understand, and the people that hurt me without knowing.

I need to be better about this. I vow to be better at this.

Do you meet people where they are at? let me know the ways you do so I can learn from you!