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One More Time

Forgiving other is probably one of the most important things you can do.  Jesus tells us to forgive seventy-seven times seven, so it’s big on his list.

Last week, I went to Madonna House.  For two hours, I spent some time with two of the staff members. For the last few months, I shared with the two ladies about what issues in my life that I was struggling with. I wasn’t surprised to realize that I needed to forgive my Dad again.

I wasn’t shocked that it was him that came up because my healing from the beginning has been what I have lacked from him. Granted no earthly father is perfect.

For those of you have seen the movie, The Shack you’ll know that it is about forgiveness, I won’t go into anything else if you haven’t seen it, but six days later I still felt raw(from going through from the process)  the revelation that I still needed to forgive my Dad. I know we are like layers of an onion, and it was just one more level to be peeled off, but in some ways, I felt discouraged after so many years that it was still there.

Honestly, I don’t know if forgiveness is just a way of reminding ourselves of how much we are loved, or I really just need to let go. I can’t go on judging someone or thing that I have no control over. Or maybe just another of a deeper understanding.

 

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Give Me That!

 

 

For a few years, my sister and Mom have been praying a novena to surrender, but I didn’t see any reason to pray it too

I started noticing when I was off the refined sugar and when I was in certain situations, my emotions would kick in and my first reaction was to eat sugar.  I would use sugar to satisfy the emotion bubbling inside of me. The emotions that I was experiencing were anger and anxiety, and I had started reading this book all about control. Underneath the anger and anxiety is a lot of…

Control

I can see why I wanted control because when I was younger, I didn’t have any at least to my knowledge. I wanted to be able to control something in my environment because I didn’t think I was getting what I needed. I don’t know about you, but being able to control others is a power that supposedly gives you satisfaction. I don’t know about that because I was still pulling in sewage and not treasure. I felt angry because I felt so powerless growing up.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Genesis ~3:6-7

If someone offered you fruit from a tree and it looked pleasing to you, wouldn’t you take it? Even if you knew the fruit would play havoc with your life, but you didn’t know that yet. If you were told or promise it would do great things for you wouldn’t you want to at least try it out? Maybe your street smarts, or your manners you learned while growing up, or with your beauty, you can manipulate your destiny.

Admitting that I have difficulties with anger or anxiety isn’t always easy for me, but having a long history with depression tends to put it into perspective. What is it that I am trying to control is the question that I’ve started asking myself. Maybe there is a possibility that I will learn to respond instead of reacting.

Starting the novena to surrender, it never occurred to me that I had an issue with control. I mean every minute of every day, were trying to wrench back our control over our lives because it’s just not fair. I was of the mind for years that my idea of how my life should’ve gone was way better, but anger and anxiety didn’t change my situation. Everything has remained relatively the same.

I have always been a keen enthusiast of observing others while they are in a flutter of activity. I listen to everything, colours may blend into the background, and words may skirt inside of my head. I want to know what is it that I am doing wrong?

Anger and anxiety didn’t change my desires or has it brought them any faster into my life-like I thought it would. God values my free will and yet I still choose to certain situations that aren’t really good for me.  You see we think we’re all better than each other but were really clueless as to how to achieve peace and love in our lives

 

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Confessing Your Heart

The associate priest at my parish dispenses the sacrament of Reconciliation, or better known as confession every second Saturday. He’s been pastoring at my parish for almost three years, normally it’s two years for the new priests, but sometimes they stay longer like three or four years. I was taught that it’s good to have a regular confessor to regularly hear your sins so the priest might be able to see certain paths that cause you to commit a particular sin. So when I go to confession, I make sure it’s the week that Fr. Bryan is celebrating Mass, which means he will be in the confessional from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., Saturday afternoon.

Becoming acquainted with the language of your heart should be easy…right? Is riding a bicycle easy the first few times, not usually. I am trying to learn the ways of the heart, accepting what is in front of me and go! But sometimes I am left still watching everyone in front of me. Still trying to copy what they do, still not getting that the journey I am on is different. I might be similar, or have something in common with others.

Sometimes I don’t want to know what my heart or what the Lord wants of me. Inside of me, something is not right. Fear has leaked in, mixing in with peace and love. The tips of my toes wobble back and forth as something is played out in my mind. Am I ready to run or am I steady with courage?

What stops me from running the race?

Not knowing the end result even though it’s the depth of the journey that matters the most. In many ways, the destination doesn’t exist outside of a place to rest in His plan. Sometimes, it’s the running that makes me aware that I can talk about, and that I need to talk about why I keep my heart in seclusion. The language of your heart wants to live out loud, not in darkness or in anger.

I kneel on the one side of the grille, and the priest is on the other side. Most won’t look at you, but once I have listed the sins I remember committing, I will pick a ‘sin’ to discuss. There is no life, no fresh air in what I talk about. I am held back by doubts, fears, unknowns, and other people’s judgments on themselves. Maybe it is a judgment on myself, but the other is more likely acting something out that was planted in their life, long before you enter into it. Yes, I need to take responsibility for what is my part, but I also must let go, of my anger to see my part, my place in what is called this present time.

There is no man on the other side of your heart but Jesus. In the secret places of our heart, we render to what is God’s. Nothing that I take is forever. I may stash away what I believe are parts of my heart, but nothing physically can claim the language that takes an area in the place that is only hinted at.

But what if you speak and no one hears you… I mean really hears your heart

Do it anyway. It’s like a dialect with different clicks, nuances, and tones. Keep speaking it until someone, a small group of intelligent individuals nods their heads in appreciation.

 

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Uncharted Land

 

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More people would walk into the unknown parts of their hearts if fear didn’t hold them back. But most of us don’t even know what holds us back.

What part of your heart have you not yet acknowledged?

The heart could be likened to an uncharted area or a territory of land waiting to be discovered. It’s a barren stretch of fear that limits any access to a part of ourselves that holds pieces that could change the very core of how we approach life. Some of us are waiting for the right moment, or they believe that it has passed them by already. But I think most don’t really know what their heart yearns for. I don’t have anything to prove my theory except that we don’t take the time to explore what really drives us. What is your passion and how do you want to experience it in this life?

Sure there are thousands of quotes and sayings that encourage its readers to take risks: to follow their heart, to live simply. This is a great start, but there’s a problem here. A lot of us don’t know what it is that drives them. They don’t know what is in their heart, AND they don’t know their heart, so they certainly won’t know how to follow [your heart] it. We react distinctly from years of doing just that, reacting to a stimulation that rubs us the wrong way. We complain to anyone who will listen, but did it occur to anyone that their trigger is something more than just being rubbed the wrong way?

Falling Deeper

I remember my doctor telling me that many of his patients when given the opportunity to find out what issue(s) they’re dealing with, don’t want to know. I didn’t really understand it because I am just naturally curious as a person, and I wanted to know what my issues were. Maybe I like suffering, but I don’t think that was the reason why. Learning about myself has been a wonderful journey, and even with the stretches that I would rather forget. Each step I took forward was a step closer to the woman that I longed to be, but I didn’t know what she was like. I had buried myself underneath all that anger, fear, bitterness, etc.

Today, I met with a friend who has been wandering in the desert without a guide for almost seven years. She doesn’t see the point of being positive by saying positive words, she doesn’t really like to journal, and she doesn’t have a list of wants and desires anymore. She just wants a job as a receptionist. I know she wasn’t created for just a receptionist job. The depression shows up more in winter, the lack of sunlight pushes out the negative. Something has died in her, and she admits to this as well.

We can extol all the virtues of being positive, but for some of us, it’s a hard thing to bite. I have in the last few years found myself thinking more on the positive side, and that’s a huge help to my normally melancholy nature. It’s easier to think of all the great things, but all the hurdles are all I can entertain in my mind. I have learned some tricks to take care of my gloomy thoughts, and this is something that helps greatly in the long Canadian cold and damp winter of doom.

Pioneers in a New Land

Camping in the wilderness for a couple weeks is great until you start running out of food. The whole idea of camping is to get away from the city. Proving to ourselves that we can rough it, even though we take for granted all our little gadgets that await us when we arrive home.

We’re walking in the untilled land, and the lack of tools makes our journeys hard. It’s easy to lose sight of your passion when you can’t see how this could possibly lead to anything. Just a light covering of dust sitting on you. Doing something that keeps you from doing what you really want. Wherever you live there is a history underneath you, just as there is one in your heart. It’s time to start digging.

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This is for You

 

Do you sit and let the silence from within you rise up?
It’s there you know.

His silencephoto-1452723312111-3a7d0db0e024 (1)
that prays,
that heals
that fills you with peace.
The kind that can’t be manufactured in a factory.

He is bigger than our hate of one another and ourselves.

He prays in you and
if you stopped, and listened
to your heart you would hear him

He gives life to what is considered dead.

Do you scorn the solitude
like when you hide from your shadows?

The shadows of regret, hate, fear, guilt, and shame
These burdens push out His peace.
He is not holding back his arms to you,
you are.

He’s not out to get you, he does not have an agenda
He is not trying to punish you
He is the peace you’re striving for.

He knows you so well, and that scares you.
You’re scared he might make you do something you don’t want to do.
Giving up what you don’t want to let go of.

But he has something that you don’t have,
and that is patience,
and mercy, to lavish on you.
It is unlimited to what he can do.

A photo by Austin Schmid. unsplash.com/photos/5Dga0T0x6GY

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Elements

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The last few months have been puzzling as I face certain aspects in my life.

Normally, I would say I can find a balance between work, writing, and everything else, but it’s not happening right now.

I’m caught in this swirl of emotions and I want to use words to paint what is going on inside of me. I don’t think I can find God and I know he’s somewhere… just beyond my reach.

No regrets

A thousand years ago, I had a plan all mapped out, I was going to travel overseas with one of my best-friends, we’d go all over the place.  But he back out after being offered to drive an Ice Cream truck all summer, and that trumped backpacking all over Europe. Back then I had no idea that I struggled with depression and anxiety, and  it would’ve be the worst thing to do. And that so-called best-friend, turned out to be someone who was hiding, and well, some things are best left in the dust of the past.

The last few months have reminded me of my twenties when I was running away from who I was, and trying to be someone who I thought everyone would want. I feel as if I’ve lost my sense of direction, the internal compass inside of me is broken. I haven’t been following my plan for a long time, but it’s like the plan that I thought He had given me has disappeared. I want the Lord to fix this broken map, but he hasn’t supplied what I thought I needed.

God isn’t beyond my reach

I say that because I want and know Him to be aware of me. In my desiring, I want him to acknowledge me and swooped me up into His arms.

At times like this my anger usually flares up because it’s a natural reaction. I want Him to take notice that my prayers aren’t being answered. I hope that by being angry he’ll do something. Instead, He remains quiet through my tears and false accusations, and waits until I might be willing to listen to him.

In the last couple years, I have been taking (insert sarcasm here) a crash course called: This is Your Anger. In the beginning, I experienced my anger almost as a voyager because I was very aware of how my body felt as this secret rage roared to life inside of me. It was out of control, it was loud, inappropriate, selfish and full of pride. I would spend weeks, soaked in this emotion until I realized I didn’t want to feel this out of control. Instead of staying quiet, patient and trusting, and persisting in prayer even when the road in front looks bleak and bleeding.

Everything happening seems so contrary to what I thought would actually play out. In all of this I know that even though it all seems out-of-place, it isn’t at all. But that’s the thing, we are inhabitants of a world where stupid crazy things occur, and people wonder why; how did this happen? His plan is still playing out in a world gone completely mad, where common sense has simply dried up.

Gratitude

In the midst of all it His mercy still springs forth, and it was and is for me, in the form of giving thanks. Beginning last week, I began hearing (not audibly) about thanking him.

1 Thessalonians~5:16

So I began thanking Him for what I don’t like, for the situations which I tire of, and I found that as I listed my complaints that I wouldn’t think twice of thanking Him that a peace quietly arose inside of me.  It moves my focus off what I don’t have, want, or covet, and I am finding myself closer to what has been missing.

 

 

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An Offering of Love

LovE

 

He offered his heart to me.

It took me by surprise, though, it really shouldn’t. He’s the kind that wears all his emotions on his sleeve. You don’t have to guess how he feels about the situation. He was concerned about me, and wanted to offer the best part of him to me.

Standing in the chapel in the far corner, his hand forever placed on his heart. He’s not looking at me but I know his heart is with me.

Most days, I don’t understand how he uses His love for me. His love isn’t standardized the way humans use love. We don’t most days do things in love for others. We do it because we have to, or we need to or were just plain selfish, and then it’s isn’t about love. But everything in God is about love. He gets love in a way we will never will. It isn’t hard for him, while we all have someone in our life, (more than one usually) who is difficult for us to love.

He gives us pure love, and we give the kind of love that you have to haul the bucket down deep into the ground. Even when you pull up the bucket and water splashes over, it’s still just well water. It’s flat, and you can taste where it comes from.  Our love is selfish. I don’t know about you, but loving (some) others is hard.

My heart isn’t pure like God’s, and so if I can have any part of His heart in me, I’m going for it. But at the end of the day, can I tell the pieces of His love from my mine?

I remember shortly after I moved out on my own, that the cold hard reality of life plummeted me from all angles. I wasn’t expecting this harshness, but it’s something that we all eventually experience whether we want to or not. For long periods of time, He is silent in our struggles. It’s like treading water in our clothes, the heaviness contributes to the overwhelming emotions in us.

Maybe I’m the only one, but in my humanity I was still not convinced of taking his heart – even though I had accepted it. It’s like the gift you receive from a well-meaning relative, who doesn’t really know you that well. It sits in a in place where you can stare at it, and think about what you can use it for. You received the gift but you’re not sure of its exact purpose in your life. I know He loves me, but I like when his directions are more specific.

A Better Replacement

In this the year of Mercy, each diocese has their own Holy Door. The last Holy Door that I last walked through was when I was in Rome (St. Peter’s), over 16 years ago. Truth be known, I know I walked through them, but I’m not sure when I did exactly. No flashing lights indicate when the graces fall on you. This coming weekend, I going to my dioceses holy door before the year is up. It’s been at least over a week and a half since He offered, and I said I would take His heart.

At a certain point a reset button was pushed inside of me this week. It was as simple as talking it out, and having a listening ear and heart to hear me. No advice, or words of wisdom. Just the silence that is deafening to the outside world, but a river of peace that spreads inside of me.