I haven’t blogged in about a month. I have had my little cocoon of a world tilted a little bit and I have been emotionally drained, and a little beat up. Silence in times like these is quite often the best thing. So I chose to keep my own counsel, rather than using this space as a place to vent or rant or complain. Because of that, I have had time to churn things over in my mind, and to come to some conclusions. I am open-minded enough to know that my conclusions will probably change as I age and other life experiences come across my personal timeline, nonetheless I will share my thoughts!
(1) Nothing, absolutely nothing, is static in life. We are all swirling around the miasma of humanity, riding an orb that is spinning its way through the cosmos. We hang on when we can; we trip and fall, but hopefully, we all get back up and back in the race.
(2) Yes, age is just a number, but as we age, it sure gets to be a bigger number! As I approach yet another birthday, I am reminded that our lives here on earth, with our family and friends, is not eternal. We have a numbered set of days to accomplish what we need to, and to prepare for our eternity. Each of us gains our own eternity, but I also believe we are all called to the eternity Our Lord laid out for us, and it is a corporate experience. “No man is an island…” John Donne.
(3) Sometimes there is absolutely nothing we can do about certain situations. We cannot alter the path, nor can we affect a change. The sole activity open to us is prayer. We can pray for the people involved; we can ask for mercy or intercession, but we cannot do anything about it. And that can be extremely frustrating. Living in a fairly remote place intensifies that experience somewhat. The good that comes from that is our reliance on faith becomes more absolute and our prayer life greatly increases. All I can truly affect is what is directly connected to me. Sort of a view of “if I can see it, touch it, it is real.” A real “doubting Thomas” sort of perspective…although St. Thomas was the first to proclaim the truth of Christ. In John 20:28 it says, “and in answer Thomas said unto him, ‘My Lord and my God.'” Through that, I cling to hope.
(4) My life is mine. My attitudes are mine. My thoughts are mine. And through my thoughts, I do control my life. I can opt to wallow in the situation I find myself in; I can choose a dark outlook and become the “negative Nelly” in the room. My other option is to always look for that streak of sunshine creeping through the clouds. I am very much a “half full” person. Although recently, keeping that glass half full has been extremely wearing and tiresome. And so I do rely on my faith and my prayer increases in fervor and frequency. As I learned from reading quotes like the one above, often times silence is the best thing I have going for me. Silence is where I get in touch with my thoughts, where I connect to God, where I choose the attitude I wish to project into the world around me. Yesterday, our new priest made several statements during his homily that were not new; nothing earth-shattering. Except that he said one phrase, with a particular emphasis, and a particular look on his face, that I cannot get it out of my mind. He said, “We are all called to love our neighbor.” Some days, my neighbor is my son, my grandson, my husband – the people I am closest to. And some days, I may be the only Jesus they see that day. I fall woefully short most days.
(5) I need to practice letting go. I cannot take anyone or anything with me when my numbered days are over. I need to let go of stuff, which I am pretty stoked about because we purged big time to come up here and I have not accumulated anything since. Simple in regards to things is working out very well for me. But there are people and situations I truly need to let go of. I cannot control their lives or the things that are happening to them. I can pray for them, but not much else. I know that in my sensical, practical self. But in my emotional self, I have a hard time allowing people and situations to just progress without interference. Letting go of people who suck the life out of us is something we all need to practice. We should pray for them, but we do not need them in our lives. Letting go of situations we cannot change is something a little more difficult. For me, at this moment in time, that is letting go of my mother’s situation and allowing things to progress without my input or interference. It is her life; it is her situation. Her situation is not unique among my age group, but it is still difficult. I also cannot affect change in my husband’s employment status. All I can do is encourage and pray, but I cannot do anything about it and I need to let it go.
(6) As I spoke to my thoughts and my life being mine and how my attitude affects all of it, I realized that if we truly believe in our faith; in what the Holy Fathers tell us and in what the Gospel and Our Lord tell us, then we should always be able to find the blessings in all things. For us right now, we are blessed to be where we are, geographically. Our youngest son’s life is so blessed by this move. We have a parish that is welcoming and is becoming a home. Our house is awesome and we love where it is located. We have family so close by, it is incredible! We had none of those things where we lived before here. We have no job, but we have faith that Our Lord brought us to this land to prosper. “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.
Wonderfully for me, this increase of pressure of the things around me that I cannot change, of the situations I cannot affect, these are all affecting my positive outlook. Quite often I lament about things, but I realized that it truly comes down to loving my neighbor. My interior outlook is the closest neighbor I have – myself. I am responsible for myself and through caring for my thoughts and my outlook, I become responsible for everyone around me. It is sort of like planets in the proper orbit. We all fear what may happen if the sun veers off course or the earth tilts even further on its axis. All life on this planet and in our cosmos would be affected. I need to remain faithful to Our Lord and His promises and I need to reflect His love for others, even when mine feels a little spotty or off-orbit. God is so good, my faith becoming stronger with each setback, that I smile even as I think of all of this. Our blessings are amazing; we just need to be faithful until all things are worked out. “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much…” Luke 16:10