Joy

The past month has been very full; not at all like I expected or hoped, but pleasant nonetheless. My routine has been out of whack since before finals in December. I never recovered during break or upon return. Yesterday morning was the first time that I got up at 6am since then–I now remember how much I miss getting up when it is still dark outside and having the quiet morning hours to myself. Sometimes I wish that I didn’t have to sleep, because then I could spend time with everyone in the late night hours and not worry about heavy eyelids. So much to do, so little time…

I need to step back and look at what I am thankful for. With all the musings that I share on this blog, it sometimes seems that I am always complaining and mourning for the things out of my reach. While it is true that I hold myself to exacting standards and am disappointed that I do not reach them, there are so many blessings that touch my life each day. The following are in no particular order except as they came to mind. 🙂

  • One gift that I can only dream of truly appreciating is the Eucharist. Having the opportunity to attend daily Mass, as well as having Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament right at school is, in the truest sense of the word, awesome.
  • For all the people that care about me here at the university. For all the teachers who believe in me, sometimes more than I believe in myself; for those who are patient with me in my mistakes and silence.
  • For my many friends here who keep me laughing, humor me in my ridiculousness, help me to form better opinions, encourage me to act, put up with my stubbornness and obstinacy, appreciate my cooking, sing with me, and make me forget what time it is.
  • For my family, especially my little sister who sends me a “goodnight” message every night on instant messenger. For the formation, silliness, teasing, and all the other fond memories of when I was little, growing up in a big family.
  • For a pleasant apartment, enough food, clothes, and all the “necessities” of life.
  • For Schoenstatt. Although the Shrine is so far away, there is still the security of our Mother’s love to fall on…
  • For all my friends at home, asking how I am even though I can’t respond as often as I wish to. For the reminders that “My life goes on in endless song…”
  • For my life, with all the talents and gifts that I take for granted. A voice to sing, hands to serve, ears to listen, a heart to laugh with, a mind that enables me to do well in my studies, a reflective view that enables me to write, the ability to read, the opportunity to learn from observation, the humiliations that remind me that I am just a piece in the greater plan of God.
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A meme

I was tagged in this recent meme by Decorus Verum:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I had several books near, so here are two:

“And would they make him look too pious to the others? But then he thought: ‘Are you not a Sodalist of Mary, a knight of your Heavenly Queen? Do you let human respect tell you what to do? Wouldn’t kneeling and a sign of the cross be a true sign of bravery?’ ” ~from Joseph Engling, A biography by Fr. Alex Menningen

“We’re not saying that visionary companies are cults. We’re saying they are more cult-like, without actually being cults. The terms ‘cultism’ and ‘cult-like’ can conjure up a variety of negative images and connotations; they are much stronger words than ‘culture.’ ” ~Built to Last, by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras
Claire
Colleen
Neil
Daniel
Tasha

That was fun!

Beginning of the future

I am sure that I have mentioned this before, but the strangeness of it is hitting me a lot since Christmas: I am in a different “stage” of life. Friends right around my age (give or take a few years) are entering religious orders, getting married, and seriously dating. It was such a short time ago that we ran around as [relatively] careless children, and giggled about “when we grow up”. The dreams that we discussed are in many ways different than the course of life…things that we never dreamed of came into our life and changed our views. I guess that is just a long winded way of saying that we are growing up. So this time of life is the beginning of the future. Commitments that are made now will have a huge impact on years to come.

There is a loneliness to this age. Everyone goes their own way, acquiring many responsibilities and losing contact with most of the people that have touched their lives. Friends that were once close drift away, leaving wonders of their life in one’s thoughts. For pessimistic me, it causes doubt that friendships ever last. And I can sense that friendships are different now; spending time just having fun is oftentimes dissatisfying…there is a delicacy and reservedness that either holds back or causes awkwardness. Somewhere there is a special niche of happiness for me; I just wish I could find it. Everything has such a finite nature and existence. I know that the only place I will find happiness is in heaven, so I guess my life will just be spent in searching for the way to get there. 🙂

There is a balance required of learning from the past, living in the present, and preparing for the future; I think I used to be better at it than I am now. And now I will just echo what I wrote in May 2007:

“I guess these are the times that God gives me to remind me of my own nothingness. The times that I drag in the dirt, looking up and crying that I want to be ‘up’. And yet from my own power I cannot do anything. I need Love to give me something to live for; I need to remember what I live for. Times to remind me that I am called to ‘know, love, and serve God’…not focusing on being stronger than everyone else, but ‘just’ striving to remain strong in Christ.”

Swingin’

This past week has been refreshing. It is good to be here at JPCU and I have had time to do a lot of reading, writing, praying and talking. I have enjoyed the first week of classes and am getting back into the swing of things. This quarter we have one class everyday–it is different. So far, most of our homework is just reading. That will change soon, but I am enjoying it while it lasts. It gives me more opportunity to write pointless posts like this, as well as do some thinking without the stress of many assignments.

My classes this quarter are Project Management, Entrepreneurial Management of Companies, Intro. to Philosophy, Web Design II (Flash), and Communications II (writing a business plan). I am particularly excited about the Communications class; although it will be quite a bit of work, my team will be fun to work with. 😀 Either that or we will drive each other insane! I hope to get involved in some of the clubs and activities that are starting up/continuing around the school as well as getting a job soon. Ahhhh….too much to do.

Life is good right now; with God’s grace I will continue to thrive here at school. Tomorrow I will help out with open house and focus on homework. At least that is the plan.

God bless and Mary keep you all, have a wonderful weekend!

Melancholy reflections

Every so often I have sobering reflections. Not necessarily inspired by sadness, but rather inspired by a glimpse of human mortality, weakness and imperfection. Todays reflections are inspired in part by a “final post” on the blog of a soldier. He had arranged with a friend that this particular post be published in event of his death; I did not see his blog before today, but he died just earlier this week. I think perhaps his soul needs prayers. 🙂

Death is such a strange thing; for many people, it inspires fear or dread. Others seem indifferent to it, and some look forward to it. I have mixed feelings about it…sometimes it terrifies me, yet sometimes I feel like I can say with St. Paul, “to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Perhaps I will never fully understand why I cling to my mortal life; it is something that I cannot rationalize, but rather just muse on. However, I realize that I should not fear–the entire world is held in the hands of God, and God is love. As St. John said in the reading today, “…There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear…” (1 Jn 4:18). Through the crucifixion and resurrection, Christ showed us not to be afraid of death because He has triumphed with perfect love; perhaps why we are still so afraid of death is because we are so far from perfection in our love.

All the loves that God will give us in this world are just a reflection of His love; but it is so tempting to desire those lesser loves instead of giving everything to Him. It is hard to really grasp the concept and worth of true peace and happiness, especially when you are in the midst of so many blessings. It seems that there is a fine line between enjoying God’s blessings and beginning to follow those blessings instead of God Himself. Somehow I must learn to accept all blessings graciously yet never expect any more…to be grateful for today, and have the trust that tomorrow I will be given what I need. That I must live one day at a time, seeking eternity in every action and opening my heart to learn to love ever more perfectly.

“…There is nothing more I could desire:
I accept and love whatever you decide.”

(Accept, O Lord from Heavenwards)

A brief update

I am back safely in San Diego. Yesterday morning I left the house at 2:45am CST, took the bus to the airport, and our flight left on time at 8:20am. While waiting in the airport, I read a little and had a nice chat with an older couple. It was cloudy and rainy, which created a cool effect as we flew up through the clouds and went from “dreary” to a burst of sunlight and white fluffy clouds! All in all, it was a boring flight–all across the United States the only things that were visible were clouds…and clouds…and more clouds. There was turbulence off and on, but fortunately I was able to read a little. I finished a book that I started over the summer: “The Spirit of the Liturgy”. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment! Hopefully I will be able to read more during this quarter.

Because of wind, rain, and limited visibility in San Diego our flight was slowed and then we circled in the air for awhile. By the time we were able to land, the flight was a hour late. Two of my fellow students were waiting for me, so we got started on talking right away. 😀 We laughed because it was in the 50’s and it felt warm to me–I only had short sleeves on, and they were both wearing light jackets! Yesterday afternoon and evening was spent putting away my things, and doing a lot of talking and laughing; general good times in St. Jude’s. Some of the students made dinner (which was very good!) and the night was finished with night prayer. I had taken several short naps during my travels, but by the time we were done with night prayer at 11pm PST, I was quite exhausted.

This morning I got up late (8:45am), in time to get ready and then walk to Holy Mass. Now I think I’ll take a nap before watching a movie and spending time with other students as they return…zzzzzzzzzzzzz….

Strong

Hopefully I can resume writing more reflective posts rather than just updates and essays; they are more satisfying both to write and read again as the years go by. It is easy to let it fall by the wayside, so I am going to start right away.

In thinking about the qualities of a lady, one does not normally think of strong femininity. Especially for girls and young women, it probably most often is rather a delicate nature that comes to mind; someone who enjoys perpetual old fashioned tea parties and pleasantries. Someone who always speaks “nicely” and never offends anyone; who knows perfect etiquette and uses it flawlessly.

Is it required to give so much attention to these cultural externals? Or is ladyship really of more substance? In the past few months and more frequently in the past few days I have wondered about this. The portion of the prayer that I posted with my resolution has been a source of inspiriation…I think it gives us a glimpse into the perfect ladyship of Our Lady: Mary.

“Strong and noble…” The word strength has different connotations; often it is related with a rough physical power. In a lady it must take a different form…she should be physically strong (Proverbs 31:17), but it is a quiet strength that is ready to serve.  However, it is not only physical strength but a mental and spiritual strength that guides every action with firm purpose. It is a strength of dicipline…a peaceful strength that allows her to smile through hardships. It is the strength of being united to God and living for the purpose that He created her.

More musings on the different words/phrases as the months go by… 🙂 I pray that someday I may become such a lady.