I have been thinking about all manner of things spiritual and otherwise lately. Here are those that are rolling around in my head and popping up like the lottery ping pong balls. In no particular order:
On turning fifty in a few short weeks. I am really amazed that my well being and overall health are not as bad as they were even a year ago. That the human body can have such resilience, that even at this advanced age, with a little sweat and a bit of discipline, it responds and _somewhat_improves. I have known, (but was trying to ignore), that my physical, mental, and emotional well being are tied to exercise. I just have to carve out twenty or thirty minutes each day (thank God for Exercise TV). At first I thought I had to choose between time for spiritual health and physical/mental/emotional health. But, darn, then it became quite apparent that they are all tied together. Drat.
But really the more amazing thing is realizing that God Isn't Finished With Me Yet. He seems to think it is perfectly okay to start a whole new chapter now. Perfectly reasonable to start school at the same time as my two college bound daughters. Some days, when I am wondering how I am going to even find time to get to the market, or remember what kids are going where today, or to take something out of the freezer for dinner: you may ask yourself (haha, eighties anybody?)..."how on earth is this woman going to add another Big Thing to her life?" I guess the answer is the same as it was for exercising, only on a larger scale. Discipline, dedication, sweat, (mental, I hope), and huge portion of grace and faith. I am taking heart from the results of my exercise routine, that results beget results, and that results beget encouragement, and also that results beget the desire to not see any loss of what hard work went into those results; and knowing All Results go straight back to God with thanksgiving for His immense grace. Wow, that got a little Chapter-one-of -Saint-Matthew there.
On peace, acceptance, and being human. I sometimes feel a pang of sadness when I see or hear about people, especially but not exclusively, moms and dads, beating themselves up because of how they see themselves in comparison to others. I should say, to be accurate, what they perceive in others. I include myself. It is hard not to envy or covet someones lifestyle, when it appears to be something we think we want.
Maybe, freedom from a work-a-day schedule, ability to travel, or someone who has a very squeaky clean looking family, with homeschooled kids that don't watch TV, weave their own clothing and raise chickens. Someone getting noticed for something we feel we don't ever get noticed for, or whatever. There is always somebody doing what we are doing, only doing it better. The problem (besides the whole fact that envy and covetousness are sins) is that this kind of thinking takes the focus off where God has us right now today, what we have, who we are, and what we are doing with that. I think our consciences should be formed by what God thinks of us today, by what we have done for Him and the people He put in our lives today. Sometimes the picture we get of other people is entirely wrong, our image fed by appearances and our imagination. It helps to remind ourselves that we are a part of everyone else on the planet. What we say and do contributes to the overall well being (or not) of everyone else. We are not separate. If we sin, we affect God and make our mark on the world. If we pray, do penance or sacrifice, we make our mark in that way. Each of us matters intensely, and if we know how much we mattered to God and other people, I think we would see our role, our vocations in life as being uniquely crafted for us, for our benefit and blessing.
picture source: http://tomwhelan.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/green-ripples/
On joy. I may have mentioned this before, but I have always noticed Christian joy when it surfaces from time to time. Not giddiness, or fleeting happiness associated with temporal things, but a simple joy that comes just from knowing Christ and finding His mark during the course of a day. It is something that I wish I could bottle and give out on the street. It contains all the things people strive for; peace, hope, contentment, motivation to do good, spontaneous prayer, thanksgiving. Charity. Serenity. All good stuff. Oh wait! It is sort of contained in something, or someone...the Eucharist. I don't know how I would do anything without Him. Oh wait, I wouldn't.
I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. John 15:5.
It's Friday! We had the pleasure of hearing mass by a very dear priest and friend, back from Rome for a little. And today I am relieved of going anywhere, something I love. The ability to putz around the house, write (obviously), clean a little, sit in the sun with a book, and tonight, watch Harry Potter (not the new one, yet) with the kids. Yes, yes, I have heard about the evils of Harry Potter. I grew up reading CS Lewis and Tolkein. My family understands the use of magic as a vehicle for a story.
Tomorrow Bob and I play music for the Helpers of God's Precious Infants Mass. If you would, please include us in your prayers so we will be able to offer our best to God and to the faithful that are so dedicated to helping the unborn.
Simplicity. I love it.I strive for it. Our household is full of people going many different directions, physically and spiritually. This demands a lot of attention, prayer, and energy. And a goodly amount of stuff. So I have figured out that my simplicity will have to be of the heart. I strive to be that joyful, peaceful Christian person whose brow is smooth and worry free, whose gaze is direct and conscience clean. That is simplicity I can hope for.
seven and a half--but just as important
Please, in your charity, add my daughter's fiance, Adam, to your prayers. He had an appendectomy several days ago and is having a rough recovery. He is the one under the turtle.
Peace to all, and a lovely weekend!