Deep Beauty – Part 1

Ever since I was a little girl, I long to know I was beautiful. I desired to know that I was lovely. I even asked my Dad if he thought I was. I didn’t see my beauty or worth, and I ached to have someone like him to help me make sense of where I fit in. Everyone else was more important than I was, and on the road to somewhere. I wanted to jump on the fast track too; it’s just that Jesus had other plans for me. Living in poverty doesn’t just have to be material, most of us live in poverty because we haven’t experienced His love, which heals our invisible wounds.

The last two years, I have been wandering in the desert. Jesus is the driver, and I am the passenger letting the wind whip my hair all over the place. I am a passenger on this journey, longing to be a part of the beauty that exists here in austerity.

It’s the surface that many people live in, most of us are too busy with work, relationships,


and stuff considered more important. Letting the world dictate what you should do, eventually will push the desires of your heart further away until it will not be a part of you. This desire will float around you like an oasis that you can no longer reach onto what is good.


I completed a Lectio Divina. I don’t remember the verse, but what stayed with me was how I would respond to what I had received. Jesus wanted to teach me how to dive into the deep with Him, to trust in him, and in the process taking my ability to love Him deeper. Taking my fragile trust, and plunging it into deep waters. I guess you could call it freestyle diving. Essentially, I felt the Lord was calling me to do the same, except He would be my oxygen.

What I wanted the most was to love Him with all my heart, mind, and soul. Still, I am out of breath and the strength to love Him as I know He desires, but I am learning where and when to rest, and listening to him when he says, ‘Let me do it’.

I know that I can trust the Lord with all my heart, but then comes ‘lean not on your own understanding.'(v.5)* Interiorly, I am learning that my physical beauty pales in comparison to the beauty that lies on the inside of me. Much like the burning that the men from Emmaus** experienced, who spoke with Jesus, and yet did not realize their hearts burned within themselves until Jesus revealed himself, only to then disappear from their sight.


*Proverbs 3:5

**Luke 24:31

Published previously in 2014


Hindsight is Perfect


Michael stood in the last row on the very end in my kindergarten class picture with the biggest teddy bear. He had chocolate brown eyes, black hair that never seemed to be in place with his cow’s lick and a proverbial runny nose courtesy of his all season allergies.

He was this paradox in my life from the time I was five until I was 24 years old. He was a constant in my life. Being with Michael was always fun, especially on P.D. days. I learned how gross boys could be, but I chalked it up to boys just being weird, always dirty and entertaining. He didn’t like it when I was sick, and he would attempt to kiss me when I was feeling better. Even though I would pretend indifference as he attempted to kiss me when I felt better. I would never admit it ,but I liked that he missefile000202384719d me. I could just look at him, and that would send me into fits of laughter

In high school, we kept in touch mostly by calling each other once a week, and I think I believed everything would stay the same. But it was then that I saw changes taking place in him. Nothing concrete, but like bread crumbs being laid down, I saw, heard and sensed the confusion that slowly developed in him.

The entire time I was friends with Michael, I wanted him to notice me, but I was always in conflict with myself because I didn’t know where I stood with him. I had this bad habit of mixing his name up with my Dad’s name, and I would call my Dad; Michael. I knew something wasn’t right, but I didn’t know I was looking at Michael for what I really needed from my Dad. I knew psychology would probably explain why I kept mixing the names up. Communicating well was not in my vocabulary at this time. I kept everything locked up tight inside my head. I was quiet, shy and very observant but Michael was able to see beyond that. He would always remember me.

It wasn’t until he moved away for University that I began seeing a side of him emerge that I had never met before. He had purposely chosen a program that would take him away from home. The home was not the oasis that most would assume about his family. His parents were both teachers, and while it made for great appearance sake, things were fraying at the edges in his family.

I remember one year when Michael had come home a few days before Christmas, and of course, he hadn’t even started his Christmas shopping.   It was probably my only chance to really spend time with him. One such year, I remember as he met up with some friends and he started talking to them. It was like he pretended that he didn’t know I was standing right beside him. I had started becoming invisible to him. On reflection, I realize it had been happening longer than I wanted to admit to. I had him on such a high pedestal, I could only see his good side. There were some other situations that showed me that we weren’t little anymore. I began to doubt his loyalty and friendship to me. I even wrote him a letter at one point, about our friendship, and his solution a bouquet of a dozen red roses. At some point, I started hearing a silent voice, and I believe it was God, who spoke. “Michael is not the marrying kind.” I ignored this, but it was the truth.

Around the time of my initial conversion to Christ(1999) when it seems like God simply picked me up, and everything that I was avoiding and had suppressed was unearthed from me.  For me, that meant acknowledging my feelings. Every single one I hid from because they scared the crap out of me. It was around this time that I noticed that Michael had this friend that didn’t seem like the kind of friend Michael would normally hang with. Michael always had to work hard for his grades in school, and was in no way a nerd, but this ‘friend’ was very much a nerd. These bread crumbs that I saw while he was in high school had never disappeared.  He never stopped trying to tell me what he feared I think the most, at the time, was his sexuality.

I don’t remember the exact circumstances but I remember the age that we were when I last pexels-photo-105041saw him; he was 24 years old, and I was 23. He was four months older than me. My mom had heard the news on the radio, and a neighbour confirmed hearing his name as well. Michael had been charged with sexual assault of two young boys. I wish I could remember exactly what he wearing and looking the last time I saw him but I don’t. In fact, I don’t have a single picture of him as an adult, and I don’t think that’s an accident. I don’t remember my thoughts, but in the weeks and months ahead I experienced so much anger towards him. He had stopped being that person I thought I knew.

I don’t know where my decision to break off contact with him came from, but I knew couldn’t deal with his stuff and my stuff at the same time.  I did what I thought was healthy at the time. I told him I couldn’t be his friend anymore. I wrote him a letter. He never tried to contact me, he respected my wishes. The innocence of our friendship had faded a long time ago, but I had just assumed I would be his friend in some way for the rest of our lives. But he has never left my heart.

I always believed my heart was burning for him. I wanted a friend who would always be with me, always listen, always want and love me, but it wasn’t Michael; he was badly chipped. I wanted him to be what I needed, and if only he would truly ‘see’ me everything would be better. I pinned all of the solutions to my problems to Michael noticing me. It took a long time before I realized he was just a boy, who just wanted to be loved and accepted by those around him. Yes, he’s an adult now, but there are parts of us that never truly grow up, and stand tall to be that man or woman that we were created to be.

Published previously in 2014



Coming of Age

In my senior year of High School, I had a placement with a organization called (Ontario) Public Research Interest Group ([O]PRIG). They are a grassroots student-based organization committed to struggling for injustices in the environmental and social justice, radical research, community engagement and popular education. At the time, I was completely unaware of how left-sided this organization is, but at that point I was a clueless pagan. I was 18 years old and desperate to graduate from school, and if I could be earning credits while not in a school building – I was in.

Even though I didn’t go onto university, though in an alternate world I would’ve earned my BA and MFA. (useless information – I photo-1431051047106-f1e17d81042fknow!) I was introduced into a world that I was not familiar with, and one that intimidated me. I assume they were all these super smart intellectuals with their heads in the clouds. Not really.

At the time, I was a little starry-eyed because I love information, and this organization was packed with all of what I was interested in at the time like; the environment, health, gay rights and ecojustice, etc… It was right around the time that McMillan Bloedel was clearcutting the temperate rain forests found in British Columbia, in particular, in and around Clayoquot Sound. Being around people who I knew to believe in the same things that I thought to be important was huge for me.

As I got settled in and began pulling together articles and assisting in their newsletter, The Radical Chameleon. I got to know the two women, Sandrine and Judi who ran OPIRG on a full-time basis. They were the only two people who were paid,everyone else like me, was a bonafide volunteer.

Some of the students were in and out, but I remember one who I actually spoke with quite a bit. I think his name was Alex, however his face and his voice are very clear in my memories of him. I’ll admit in the beginning, I was a little apprehensive of him. He expressed himself quite vocally, and was willing to argue with anyone who disagreed with him. Still I had some good chats with him, while he worked on his writing. He was the first person that I knew was a gay man, he didn’t hide it at all. He talked often about his partner. The gay rights activist weren’t as busy as they have been in the last decade and a half, but I was brought up to respect others, and not tell them what they believe isn’t right. Interiorly,I didn’t understand where I stood, but something didn’t sit right in me, yet who I was to say it was wrong…

Fast forward: Friday June 26, 2015. I work half days on Fridays, so I was headed to my last client of the morning. This client normally watches CNN, and while I don’t watch news,or have a TV, the majority of my clients do, and sometimes there are things that I would rather not hear or see. Only in snatches had I heard something about the Supreme Court in the U.S. and same-sex marriage. When I came into my clients apartment, I walked into a situation where some kind decision had been made, and clearly the supporters were joyous and celebrating their victory.

Quickly, I understood that my neighbours across the border were rejoicing because their Supreme Court had made same-sex marriage law throughout their land. No longer in just some states was it legal, but in all fifty states. I felt this deep sadness interiorly, and I kept praying for His mercy to be poured out. I felt this silent outrage at their apparent joy. They believe it is just a matter of time that we’ll(the dissenters) realize that they’re right, or otherwise we’re bigots. Love is just love, right? Most of us don’t even know what or how to love others. I know that I am still trying to figure out how to love others, and my past choices hinders this simple act. We have a choice in how we love, and just because our perspectives may differ that doesn’t mean we can’t still be acquaintanced or even friends.

In a perfect world, it would be a place of changing perspectives, a coming of age for all ages, not just teenagers on the edge of adulthood. The mystery of God doesn’t prevent us from experiencing this, but many of us limit ourselves once we reach a certain point in our lives, and slow down to a halt, we get stuck in routines, and forget that God has a plan for all of us.




A Heart Pursued



Hope has two daughters; their names are Anger and Courage.Anger at the way things are, and the Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.

St. Augustine of Hippo

This is my third or fourth attempt at starting this post. I know what I want to say, but I don’t really. I know how I have been feeling the last week, I want to convey that but  my internal editor walks in and crosses it out. I want perfection, but I know that wanting it will not solve a single thing, and besides I do not like the word, perfect. Okay, let’s go for clarity.


The slow burn of remembering and feeling the unworthiness of my being keeps coming up. Somehow, it has slipped into little

crevices and cracks in me. Instead of allowing blessings and light, I pushed them aside, convinced that I don’t deserve what I want. So why does He grants this same desire to others when I know I am not the only who has deemed herself otherwise.

The only hold out is my permanent vocation. Maybe this isn’t important, but I don’t have peace about where I am. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been single so I am not saying it is the worst thing in the world – that it is not. It’s hard, at least for me, to truly find firm footing in this world as a single. I think there’s this under current that doesn’t know how to truly embrace the notion of singleness because it doesn’t include having flings with that friend who is armed with benefits. Maybe it is the hope of something more, the dance inside of me that though fades with time leaves its lingering aroma. A calling card of sorts from the Holy Spirit.

Ever since I can remember I have loved words, and I would space providing would write anywhere. It’s been a long road, and I don’t see it coming to an end anytime soon, as I’ve only started writing my novel. It’s not my first attempt at writing a novel, but this time I know it’s different because I plan on finishing this novel, no, it won’t go to the bestsellers, but I am going to write novels until I believe I am ready to approach my way to publication, and in the process realizing a long-held dream. Here’s a perfect example of where for years, I didn’t think I was worthy enough to write and pursue my heart desire. It’s taken a while to believe that yes, I  do have a talent for writing!

Yes, being single is easy because you don’t have the all pressures of being in a relationship that is til death do you part. I don’t know all the pro’s and con’s. All I do know is I expected to get married like everyone else, but the reality is the Lord has never allowed me to part of the ‘popular group’. I can stomp my feet all I want but it won’t help me. I have tried different avenues in my desire to be married, and all it does is frustrate me.

Or maybe I am attached to the idea of my happily ever after?

Maybe I don’t even believe that the Lord has someone for me, maybe I’ve just gotten tired of waiting on something that I don’t know will ever materialize. I don’t know how to pray for something that seems impossible. All I want to do is let go and move on, but what happened to the happily ever after, and is it still possible despite trying to push that nagging hope that is locked inside of me.

The quote that starts out this post comes from a book that I have yet to start, but this quote really intrigues me. I have the anger, but I don’t yet have the courage. It could be as simple as having that courage to keep praying for my heart’s desire to be filled.







Stripped Bare

Jesus was lonely.

The twelve disciples, men that Jesus had spent his last three years with had deserted him. Gone. It doesn’t say in the Gospels how Jesus reacted to their vanishing act, but if it had been me I would’ve been angry, hurt, fearful and full of why’s. Every day for the last three years, bang! they disappear after all he shared and given of himself to his disciplines. Jesus knew ‘his‘ time was approaching, and though he was committed to doing His father’s will, I wonder if he experience loneliness. Whether it was rejection or abandonment.  In Jesus’ case, it was probably both.

A friend of mine is lonely, but instead of trying to understand why she is lonely, she has chosen to check out online dating sites. I suggested to her that she not run away from the loneliness and all that it entails, but she isn’t interested in what her emotions are attempting to tell her. Sometimes feeling a certain way can lead you to understand what you’re feeling, and what to do about it. Putting a Band-Aid can aid in the healing, but after a while, the Band-Aid doesn’t stick as good as it did in the first place.

Isolation was my choice of drug.photo-1418513177777-540f7fdcaac4

Some people chose drugs or alcohol, but I believed if no one saw me then that would solve all of my difficulties. I didn’t and I  wouldn’t be anyone’s problem. Why did I want to isolate myself when the very thing; being with people was what I needed. In many ways, I had no idea what I was really doing to myself by pushing others away. Behind the loneliness lay rejection. It was my belief that who I am was rejected by my Dad and others after him, and so I locked myself away from those who I feared would hurt me. I wanted to isolate and protect myself from what I wasn’t comfortable with, from what I didn’t understand about the world in which I grew up. Repeatedly, I rejected the idea of how God made me to be, I did so, so I could push away the pain.

I’ve learned first hand how emotions can teach us what we need, but I’ve also learnt how easy it is to hide from these markers. I know now that how my anger and fear spoke into the truth that I was seeking for my life, and continually, I would push and ignore to keep going on – to appear normal.

Sorting out what are my needs vs. my wants isn’t always easy in a ‘can’t wait until tomorrow, I want it now’ saturated world. Discipline of the impulse gets a push to the back of the shelf because it’s not cool.

We hide out our loneliness as a kind of leprosy that inflicts us on inside, and it’s something hasn’t escaped anyone. The thing is most of us don’t know what to do with our loneliness.

I still can get surprised by feeling lonely, and stuck in the loneliness, before I can climb out of it. And by climbing, I mean of out myself because it’s usually means I am bemoaning myself. I wasn’t made to be alone, the Lord wants His children to be in community, but that has become a difficult situation with all the technology we have. Facebook, Twitter and the like will never take place of a good friend, someone who you can laugh with, share with and allow those tears come – if need be.

I love getting together with a friend in a coffee shop and catch up on what is going on in their life. Listening and hearing what may be their crosses or joys. This works for me, and it fills me to the brim and more. It might be old-fashioned but some things in this every changing minute by minute world shouldn’t because it’s our relationships in our lives that ultimately heal us.


Jolene is Lisa’s Friend


My first memory and visual image of Jolene was of her sitting at the back of the church. It was late in August, and she was probably less than a month before she would give birth. Her eyes sparkled, fading out the rest of her face, as she sat listening to those around her. I know I wasn’t a fly on the wall that day, but somehow I don’t know where I was in relation to where she sat.

As time flew by, I would either see her with a little one in tow, or pregnant for her next one. First, there was Michael and then Nathan, then the girls Bethany, Emily, and Hailey. Strangely and somehow, I watched them growing up, knowing their names as if angels placed them in my mind. It had to be angels because I didn’t know Jolene. It never occurred to me if I thought she was nice or kind, funny and understanding, or even loving. Occasionally, I would hear a mention of Jolene’s name, but I only knew her as Lisa’s friend.OldDesignShop_KateGreenawayGirlsWalking1

Friends were a sore point in my life. I had been burned by hopeful possibilities of friendships. Most women that I have sought friendships with( but not all) survive mainly on the surface, and the friendship subsisted mostly on what I initiated. I was tired of being an anomaly, of wanting a relationship that would go beyond the simplified banter of “How are you, I haven’t seen you in so long, What are you up to?”

Over two years ago, the parish bulletin advertised about a possibility of a Women’s Ministry. They were asking for a consensus of women to come and share their opinions. Grudgingly, I showed up. I had no faith in this kind of ministry working out in my parish. Call me cynical. but I didn’t see it happening, in fact, I was not interested in being involved in this type of ministry. Much to my surprise, Jolene, along with another woman was leading the meeting. Everything in me was screaming to leave, but I stayed long enough to write my contact info on the sign-up sheet.

About a week later, Jolene contacted me and she asked me to be a part of the Core team for the new Women’s Ministry. I couldn’t wrap my brain around why she had asked me, I mean, I knew there were tons of other women who would be better suited to making decisions required for a Women’s Ministry. I wasn’t so much as putting myself down as knowing my strengths and weakness; I couldn’t visually place myself on the team. It made no sense to me. I prayed but nothing came, kind of, as I was in the void. I liked being in the background where I could watch and listen. Later, I would allow my thought processes to guide me to making decisions and clarifying impressions.

Sitting in the back of the Martha’s car, the other women who leading the women’s ministry, I listened to Jolene and Martha chat. Again, I wondered if this was worth my time, and what was I doing with a bunch of women who normally go to the 9 a.m. Mass on Sunday.

We met in the backyard of another member of the core team. She had prepared a few snacks and drinks. For about two hours, the women discussed the elements that could be involved in the ministry. For the next two hours, I listened to each of the women share their ideas, and each time I was asked to share, I shook my head. I had nothing to share. It was as if God had spiritually cut my tongue, and all I could do was listen. As far as I was concerned, women in general talk too much.

I don’t remember what encouraged me to call Jolene, but I did, and we found out over time how much we had in common. We are both of a contemplative nature (spiritually) introverts, readers, etc.

After two years, Jolene and I both left the ministry, both through different circumstances, but I was well aware that the friendship we had started would change. All of a sudden being friends wasn’t as easy as it had been the first two years. We managed to connect but the old voices of dissent started to rush in. The first two years had been all grace, and now it seemed we had some work to do. I doubted if she wanted to be my friend, and I wondered if she wanted to hear from me. Seeing her busyness from being a homeschooling mom, I felt the familiar tug to disappear.

My anxiety drew me away, but my Spiritual Director gently reminded me that relationships take time, work and above all: love. I wasn’t well schooled in the areas of relationships and I was waiting for her to drift out of my life. In fact, for a while I expected it of her. Somewhere His grace still subsisted in giving me what I needed to do, which was to believe that maybe Jolene really did want a friendship with me. To give her a chance despite her heavy schedule, and be willing to take what she could give.

In the beginning, Jolene was a gift. I was able to trust her where I hadn’t OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtrusted other ‘friends,’ and I knew that she understood, or simply gave me the gift of her listening. Most of my life, I just wanted a friend who I knew got me, and I didn’t feel that I could only share certain parts of me. Jolene far exceeds those qualities, and she remains the gift that the Lord desired to give me in the first place.





You Know What …. There’s More!

During my journey to becoming a Catholic over 14 years ago, the Lord began to heal certain aspects of my ‘old nature,’ which included being my own worst enemy. I wanted to be smart, confident, beautiful, etc. Instead, I felt like an ugly duckling that had just wobbled out of its eggshell with its hair sticking out everywhere. I carried this ‘ugly duckling’ belief around like a badge of honour. For me this aptly described me to a ‘t.’

Bullied throughout school, I was terrified of hanging around people my age. I had dealt with my pain by isolating myself, and building an invisible wall of protection, so no one could hurt me. It didn’t help that I was already very quiet and shy. I kept telling myself they wouldn’t find me very interesting. However, the Lord knew the desires of my heart better than I did because I really did want a friend close in age.


Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. Eleanor Roosevelt

Then the Lord brought Catherine in my life. She is beautiful with blonde hair, and blue eyes, and is smart, caring and fun. She surprised me by getting my phone number, and showing me that she wanted to get to know me. Through my friendship with her and His spirit, I have become and am becoming the person he always intended.

illustration, public domain(Kate Greenaway)