Thursday, September 10, 2015

Under my Skin

Cranky. Edgy. Touchy. Cross. Prickly. Crotchety. Cantankerous. Grouchy. Over-sensitive. Quick -tempered.

All these are synonymous with irritable.

I don't see myself as a generally irritable person. But I have noticed that I do get irritated with certain things quite frequently. Usually small things. As I gave it some thought, I realized that being irritable over something is kind of indulging in a mini temper tantrum. Say, on the road when I encounter less than considerate drivers. (Inner city driving is a challenge unto itself, and I submit that the Philly and Jersey drivers are their own special breed. I'll leave it at that). (And if you take to the road on a Friday afternoon or evening, God help you). Anyways! You can see how my mind set might affect my outlook as I get behind the wheel. And how, just maybe, I think I that I know better and am, if not better, perhaps a more considerate driver than some.

So what I've got here is a way of thinking that assumes something.

Firstly, I am completely in my own head about what I am trying to accomplish, usually trying to get from Point A to Point B, and darn it, you are slowing me down. If you have stopped in the middle of the street to chat with someone you saw walking, especially if you did so right next to a parking spot the size of a football field, or if you shot out of one of the tiny side streets, causing me to slam on my brakes, only to immediately turn down another, I am either silently or out loud indulging in some Language. I am assuming you Do Not Care and are oblivious that anyone else exisits, and therefore my objective of Getting Somewhere is not on your radar. And really, how dare you. Now, on occasion, I have noticed that you are elderly, and have felt a little pang of guilt. If you are a young person, I have felt no such pang and have assumed you are an arrogant, spoiled little person who should have your allowance revoked.

Yes, these are some of the thoughts that go through my mind.

On a larger scale, being irritable kind of says, "hey, I am feeling a certain way right now, and I should not have to deal with X,Y, or especially Z." This ties in to my Red Carpet  theory. Ironically, in that post, I also used a "driving while in South Philly" example. I guess not much has changed, haha, and yikes.

But seriously, I have been trying to do a more frequent examination of conscience so that when I go to confession, I am not trying to remember everything from the last month or longer. Because I can't remember things from yesterday. So the quality of my confessions leave something to be desired. I can tell you I regularly confess a lack of discipline, especially in my spiritual life. I am working on it, pray for me!

My frequent bouts of irritability are telling of my thought patterns, and those are what I am trying to pay better attention to. Those thoughts that assign me the Higher Plane of Living Award, if you get my drift. You may occasionally have them if you ever think, "I shouldn't have to deal with this, or do this menial thing, or deal with so and so's faults, or have to rouse myself from this well deserved rest to (gasp) do something for someone else." I could go on.

What I really want is to be able to see people the way that God sees them. To see people the way that Mother Teresa saw them. To be able to use these tiny moments of service to humanity as offerings for my sins. To offer them for the souls of others. To get myself off that all fired throne.

I realize this may never happen, at least in any large way in my lifetime, and I am not beating myself up over it. But I do wish to live with this intention a little closer to the surface, again for which I ask your prayers.

Have you ever met a person that so shined with the love of Christ that you felt it? Who was so free of self absorption that they made you feel as though you were the only person on earth at that moment? Whose mind and heart were so clear of clutter that it shone right out of their eyes, who could look straight at you with no self consciousness at all? This is what I hope to be a fraction of before I leave this earth. I told this to my spiritual director when he asked what was my goal in spiritual direction. Yeah, we definitely did not achieve that, but, hey Father, if you're reading, we definitely did make progress.

So , as everyone knows, one should never talk about problems without talking about solution, right?

Here are some of mine, what I refer to as the Master Plan. (haha, the irony).

1.  Daily Mass.
I can't begin to tell you the benefit this is to my life, Once again, the Church provides structure for me to plug in to and do the work of prayer for my family that I just can't do nearly as well on my own. Add to that the rewards that go with attending Mass. I truly believe some of the blessings we have experienced as a family have stemmed from the prayers and attendance of mass done by us and others for us.
I have a new job that begins in October, If you have seen the TV ads, you may have heard of Visiting Angels. It is a company that provides home care for the elderly or home bound. One of the reasons I left my other job was to free up weekends to be with my family, and also because this new job will be part time, allowing me to go to daily mass again. I believe this is part of my work as a wife, mother, and grandmother and friend, so I am trying to arrange my life to make it possible.

2. Exercise.
                  some of these were birthday presents. I outgrew some of the lighter ones

I have been working out regularly for over two years, at least in this incarnation of working out. Back when I was suffering from depression and agoraphobia, I was told that to help combat some of it, that I should get regular exercise. These days, depression only lurks, but I do have to manage some anxiety and some of the wonderful effects of being a Woman of a Certain Age. Regular working out has truly been my medicine. I sleep better, eat mostly better, have much more strength and energy, am _somewhat_better balanced emotionally (just being realistic here)  and my clothes fit more comfortably. I use a free You Tube Channel called Fitness Blender, hosted by an adorable young couple from the Northwest. I never have to leave my house, I can work out any time I want, and there are so many workouts to choose from, of all different difficulty levels, types and lengths, I am never bored. I highly recommend them.

3. the Twelve Steps.

 Still twelve stepping along! I have mentioned before that I attend a NarAnon group. It has strengthened my faith and given me tools for life. I have also, and still do recommend the book, The Way of Serenity, by Father Jonathan Morris. A while back, I posted a song that I later learned and sang for my group, because I just thought it spoke so well about God's heart for us. I also recorded it and shared it with them, at their request. I will share it with you here with a huge disclaimer that I just whipped it off quickly, with no time to make it perfect or even better than I could do it that day in only one take. With allergies that made me stuffy. But it is such a nice song. And so I will leave you with this. Also with a request that you pray for my family, as we are walking through many challenges.

Here are the lyrics:

Top of Form
 All the Way, by Kat Edmundson

Bottom of Form
Don't feel bad, I'm so glad that you are here tonight.

Sometimes we lose our way.

Take a ride with me, and forget yesterday.

Way up high, and way down low. Most things we can't control.

But you don't walk alone. Wherever I may be, there you'll have a home.

If you forget the wonder that you are I will remind you.

And if you lose yourself, don't worry darling, I'll know where to find you.

I'm right behind you, all the way.

Da dada da, da dada da


  1. I purposely spread my confessions out so I don't remember all my sins. :-p I'm bad. Yes, I would love to look at people as God looks at them. I think I get flashes every once in a while. Just a momentary flash.