Monday, November 21, 2011

Reflection inspired by The Help

I've been reading The Help over these past few weeks, and I'm finally into the meat of the book. Tonight, I was struck by many different aspects of the story, but especially the way that people ignored the way that African Americans were treated. Everyone was taught to pretend that their real feelings didn't exist, so these women were treated like dirt, but made to smile like nothing was happening. This made me think about the areas of my life that I've done the same thing.
I know that I use the excuse "I'm too busy" or "I'm too tired" far too often. I pretend like those are reasons for me to ignore the problems I see around me. The Help sends out a cry, which resonated with me tonight. More than a cry for freedom and equality, it's a cry to feel. That's a problem that our world faces.
Our society is consumed with time. If we don't have something crammed into every single minute of our day, then we're wasting space. We allow ourselves to get sucked up into this vortex of time, and only experience minor emotions of pleasure. I know there's something wrong with this concept. We should never be too busy to feel any emotion, especially one that would cause us to act.
Many terrible things happen in this world because we allow them; we're "too busy" to stand up for what we believe in. Often times, the people who do find the time are ridiculed and looked down upon. Why? Why do the people who chose to show their passion have to be put down? And why are they abused by people that are "too busy" to raise a finger to help, but spend hours arguing? I'm not sure I'll ever understand.
The Help has certainly had an impact on me. Someday, I'd like to be able to inspire people the same way. I'd like to be able to put a lump in someone's throat, or give someone a pit-in-the-stomach feeling, and get them to act; I want to shake them out of apathy and stop them from making excuses. It's so much nicer to be able to get people to laugh about things, but sometimes we need to feel the raw emotions in order to be prepared for battle.
I'm really going to work on not being "too busy" to help people with the little things. I don't want to miss a moment where I could have reached out to someone, and made their world a little brighter. Since you're reading this, I know you care: I'm challenging you to do the same. Start with the small stuff, and seek out opportunities to do the big stuff. If everyone did this, I wonder what the world would look like.

God bless us all, and help us to stand up for what we believe, and feel real again.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Part of the blessing of humanity is the ability to feel compassion and experience empathy. It shows that there's more than a physical aspect to us; it demonstrates our spiritual side. In feeling these emotions, we grow closer to each other, and we can strengthen a weakening spirit.

The trick is finding the balance between feeling too much, and not enough. God comforts all who seek, but how do I let Him comfort complete strangers through me?

The world is hurting; I see it in the faces of the people around me. Focused only on our own problems, we block out other people. How can I change myself, open myself up? I know that I've been called, as a Christian, but also as a human. I trust in God to show me the way.

In opening myself up to others, not only will my capacity for love increase(since God, Love Incarnate, will dwell more fully in me), but my ability to experience joy and peace will also increase, because I'll be able to participate in the joy of the people around me.

In reaching out to one another, we become more united, and, again, can feel a connection on more than just a physical level. It's truly amazing how God designed us humans!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I got a little lonely this morning. I'm so busy that my schedule just don't mix well with most of my friends or family members. I caught myself starting to get a little down, and then I remembered something; my joy doesn't depend on other people! Let me explain.

So many times, we look to others to supply our happiness. We derive our worth and emotions from how others treat us, and how valued we feel. It doesn't have to be like that though. God, in His infinite wisdom, is outside of time, so He can spend eternity loving us. He doesn't change, like people do, and He is always going to be there, even when our friends can't.

Joy comes from within; it's God's gift. Every day, we should be awestruck that He cares so much. It's fantastic to think about!

Joy is not based on something that is going to change. If it's true joy, then it comes from He who never fades away. :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I just got home from a quick little weekend get away. It was perfect(and way too short!). I got to spend 2 and a half days in a beautiful little place called Prescott. There are so many things I love about it.

I love that I get to drive 75(or 80). There's just something so releasing about highway driving! The scenery up there is simply gorgeous; it's so rugged and different, so open and wild. Nana is also very thoughtful, and always takes great care of us. We can relax in the rocking chairs in the house, or on the porch outside, drinking in the green and the breeze. I could go on and on.

I'm so blessed to have the freedom to take a quick trip to visit a loved one. I'm amazed at how God works everything out. Again, this week is going to be full of a gazillion activities, but I'll be able to carry the peace from my weekend into every busy day this week. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tonight, I have nothing profound to say. Tonight, I simply want to say that my life is hectic, but fantastic. I have so much going on, but I have so many opportunities, that it's hard to pass them up.

At the same time, I have so many deadlines that I'm constantly adding and subtracting from a mental list; some days it's a little overwhelming. I have so much to learn, and so many ways that I can grow, and it's so cool to be able to see how each of my days is shaping me into the person that I want to be. Each day draws me closer to my goal, and provides moments to make my days feel worthwhile.

Today, the two things that made my day were understanding everything we talked about in stats, *and* playing in my first soccer game in years.

In addition to my mental checklist, I keep you in mind. Yeah. God and I are in constant conversation, and I'm always offering up a loved one's name for Him to bless. Just thought you should know.

Peace out, yo. :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Apparently, I often get inspired by walking around ASU. I guess milling around in a crowd of thousands of students can really get you thinking. Anyway, here's what came to mind:

I kept walking past people, and smiling at them, but no one would return my smile. Instead, they would look the other way, or look down at their feet. In a short time, I started to become discouraged. Suddenly, this quote from St. Francis of Assisi popped into my head:
"All the darkness in the entire world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle."

This sparked some thinking about darkness versus light. I was the light on the campus, and the darkness was the unfriendly attitude of everyone around me. The darkness may seem to be a crushing force, but, in reality, it holds no power whatsoever. The only pressure that is exerted is psychological. The light, though it be all alone, has equal, if not more, power because it can hold off the darkness all by itself.

In other words, I can let myself be discouraged in a world that is too busy to acknowledge a smile, or I can continue to smile, because the choice is whether I want to stand up to an unfriendly world, or let it squish me. I have nothing to lose by smiling at strangers, and I could even potentially gain some smiles in return.

Completely random, I know, but that's how my mind works. Hopefully you can gain the courage to smile at people, no matter where you are, and spread a little more light in this world. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thoughts from Katrina Zeno's talk

Katrina Zeno did a talk not too long ago about our lives as Christians. She said that, like Jesus, we're Chosen, Blessed, Broken, and Given. Here are some excerpts from her talk that really touched me:
  • Since we're chosen by God to be His children, we can't earn His love, so we can't lose it; it's His gift to us.
  • Bless people for who they are, not what they do. Take time to notice the person, not their performance.
  • We aren't the sum of our weaknesses and failures, but the sum of our Father's love.
  • The way a person is broken tells you something unique about them.
  • Brokenness exists to let God's light shine forth.
  • Your brokenness is a link to your mission.
  • Death is simply putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Questions about the value of life

What makes one life worth more than another? What dictates if you're more important than someone else? How do you save a life by purposely destorying another? America devalues suffering. People say, "I wouldn't want to live like that," but don't you want to live?

Monday, May 9, 2011

This is sort of a celebratory entry, but a premature one. haha Finals are over on Wednesday, and my life will slow down a little after next week. I can't wait!

I'm also kinda proud of the fact that my brothers and I made a great dinner for my mom and dad tonight. It was sooo much fun, and I'm so proud of how special we made Momma feel. :)

Another happy thought for today? I got to spend the afternoon with my family at my grandparents' house. It was so cool to watch everyone's faces as they gathered around Grammy, and watched her joy as she read all of the cards. She later told me, "This is the best Mother's Day ever!" I thought that was neat. It made me think about attitudes we should have everyday. If we expect every day to be better than the one before, I think we've found something special. That's not to say that every day is going to be the same; it won't be! Seriously though, there are so many little things that make life better day by day.

Anywho. :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Celebrating the Resurrection!

He is risen! Alleluia! :D

God constantly amazes me with contradictions. The greatest one of all is how He turned despair and hopelessness into contagious, unending joy. Incredible, right? This joy is soooo great! Looking around at my family and friends sitting around in our front yard, I was overwhelmed with a sense of blessing and peace. Savoring the little moments added even more to this wonderful day. (Little things like intensely fun games of Foosball, blowing bubbles, playing croquet, and going on an Easter egg hunt, to name a few.)

This year, I wasn't able to participate in Holy Week as I have in the past. I was a little disappointed at first, but God was able to make it wonderful. Sitting here in my room, I can't help but wonder what the next few Easters will look like. Hum..... :)

Thanks to everyone who was a part of our Easter celebration. I'm soooo blessed to have you! And thanks to all those who are such a great every day example of Christ's goodness.

May the hope and joy of Easter fill you with peace, and help you through the struggles ahead!
God bless!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Spear by Louis de Wohl

This book is about the centurion that pierces Jesus' heart with a lance. It's an excellent book for Lent, because it focuses on each of the characters' faith journeys, and brings them all to Christ.

One scene in particular really touched me. It's right as the centurion takes the lance, and is about to thrust it into Christ's heart

"Raising the spear with both hands, he thrust it with all his strength forward and up, through the crucified man's heart.
For one split moment he thought that he had been hit by a bolt of lightening. Everything around him lighted up with terrifying clarity, and he saw the long, lean body, pale and golden, with its arms outstretched as if to embrace him, and his spear entering it. He heard a thud, and he felt the resistance, either of the body or of the wood of the cross behind it.
Then it was night again, a dark-red night splashing all over him and blinding him completely, and he staggered and would have fallen if he had not held on to the spear in the crucified man's heart.
Blood. He was full of blood. The whole world was full of blood. He was suffocating in it.
From far, far away came the sound of crying. The world was crying.
....The head with the crown of thorns had sunk on the chest.
He must withdraw the spear now. Softly, softly. Blood came flowing again, dark red - and water. Blood and water.
For some strange reason it made him think not of death but of birth."

God isn't dead. He sacrificed everything so that everyone could have an abundant life with Him. He endured horrific pain and torture, and the whole time, He was thinking about you. He forgives you for everything. Death isn't the end. May Jesus' precious blood cover you, as you seek Him everyday. God bless!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I left the house late, but still managed to arrive at the bus stop 5 minutes early. It seemed liked everything was going my way, because I only had to stop at one, brief red light. However, I waited and waited, and no bus came. Despite all my efforts, I had still missed the bus.

This gave me a chance to be still for about 10 minutes, absorbing the sunlight, admiring the wispy clouds in the pale blue sky, and enjoying the birds' songs. This helped me understand that missing something that I really want isn't necessarily a bad thing. If I had been there on time for the first bus, then I would have missed the opportunity to spend time wondering at God's glorious creation. The best part? I still made it to class early. :)

All this to say that, if something happens that isn't in our plan, God can use that to make us aware of the beauty in our situation, and He cares enough to still get us where we need to be.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mark 8:34

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me."

In taking up my cross, I take all my suffering, all my pains, worries, doubts, fears, any troubles, and I unite them to Jesus on the cross. This way, I'm not trying to do it alone; I'm taking my struggles, and acknowledging that I need God's help to overcome them. Can you imagine the power of this surrender when it joins Jesus' suffering on the cross? His ultimate surrender led to life for all. In this way, I'm trusting that He will take care of all my loved ones, so that all I have to do is to enjoy the time that I have to spend with them. I'm letting go. I'm entrusting the people that I hold the most dear to the God who created the world, and who loves them even more than I can possibly imagine. Looking at it like this, I'm not actually giving anything up. I'm actually putting these precious people into the safest place they could possibly be.

One more thought about suffering: during Mass yesterday, the priest described a time when he visited a hospital, and went in to see an old woman there. He was greeted with a radiant face that was beaming up at him. He said, "You're looking very happy today." The woman replied, "I am happy, Father. Today is the 25th anniversary of my suffering."

God bless!