‘Go To’ Guys

October 24, 2014

I don’t know about you, but I have a few “go to” guys and girls in my life. Meaning that with when I have problems and am looking for solutions, or when I have great news, and even horrible news to share, they are the first on my roster. My list is about four people deep.

I call them my “J-Team.” But sometimes, even those these are people in my inner circle, my most trusted friends and allies, I can be let down and disappointed. Perhaps a member of my team is busy with work, or is dealing with a health issue, then it’s my turn to be a friend to them, which I try to do to the best of my abilities. Friendship is, as you know, a two way street.

As anyone knows, however, when you are hurt from one your closest friends, on purpose or not, the sting goes in deeper than that of any other kind of hurt. I had that kind of experience this week. A friend told me to stop behaving in a way that was annoying—but instead of taking it as a way of improvement—I took it as a personal insult and therefore, it crushed my spirits. Even now, I have not recovered and still feel like a melted ice sculpture lying in a puddle on the floor.

I’ve heard often that the only person you can truly trust is God. I never quite understood that before because I generally had at least one or two people I could always count on. But I get it. God will never let us down, and that is a good thing to know, especially when you are going through a rough time. He should be our number one “go to” guy.

Seduced By Worldly Things

October 22, 2014

Thanks to a bout of insomnia, I’ve been up pretty late at night/early in the morning. Often in those hours, I’ll find myself watching infomercials or home shopping networks. A few nights ago, that was the case. A product that was being sold on the television mesmerized me.

It was for a makeup product. The girl on the television had skin that was practically illuminated. She wiped the makeup from half her face to reveal the ordinariness behind it, and quickly applied in a few swipes this seemingly miraculous makeup—and—POW! Instantly her face looked like that of an angel. Perhaps the lack of sleep added to the miraculousness of the moment, but I felt that not only did I want that make up; I needed it in my life.

I quickly took out my tablet, and ordered. When the makeup arrived a few days later, I opened it like a child opens a gift on Christmas. I couldn’t wait to try it out the next day before work. Sadly, the next morning, when I put it on, I looked like me, with regular make up on. I wasn’t illuminated, airbrushed, or magically transformed. I guess makeup can only do so much.

I joked around with a few coworkers about the incident, but secretly, I was a little disappointed.

I had to remind myself that God doesn’t grade us on our looks. He died on the Cross for us because He loves us. That’s the simple fact. He loves us. Even with all our imperfections—covered up or not.

Have you ever bought anything on television that disappointed you? Please share!

Monday Morning Mentality

October 20, 2014

As Monday morning started its daily invasion of my bedroom, I promptly hid under my covers in disbelief. I knew that it was Monday and that it was inevitable that it would come back around, but the speed with which it arrived was mind-blowing.

If, as the poem says, “Monday’s child is fair of face,” I was by no way born on a Monday. I squinted my eyes, ran my hands as much as I could through my bedraggled hair, and frowned at the thought of what the day would bring. There was no fair face here. I half moaned, half groaned in anger as I kicked the sheets off of me in protest like an unruly child knowing that as much as I might not want to, in one way or another I would have to face the day.

With my feet finally on the floor, and my coffee in hand, my mood began to slowly improve. I found myself at a minor crossroads—I could go through the day being cranky like I generally do on Mondays, or I could try to make the best of it. Honestly, I’m getting pretty tired of feeling blah and sad on Mondays. I figure, if the day is going to be bad or bring me down later on, I might as well start it off on a good note so I’m not totally defeated by the end of the day.

St. Paul writes in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” He doesn’t tell us to dwell on the negative, but to keep our mind only on the positive things. It’s good advice and I’m going to try to live it, just for today, and see how it goes. Just for one day, and see if it makes a difference.

Do you dread Mondays, or do you look forward to them? Please share!

Departing Perceptions

October 6, 2014

If you were to ask my husband and I to name each other’s favorite movies, songs, books, and hobbies, we would probably get them all right. But if you were to compare the two lists, I could almost guarantee that not one of the things on either list would match up. You see, we know each other pretty well but when it comes to likes and dislikes we couldn’t be more different.

Our perceptions of the world are also quite different. My husband is a definite optimist and a rational thinker; I’m more of a worrier and a daydreamer. That colors how we see people as well. We can meet the same person; be involved in the same conversation; read the same book or watch the same movie and come away with conflicting, or at the very least moderately dissimilar judgments.

This happens not just with my husband and me. It happens with some of my other friends and colleagues as well. Generally, it’s fine. But sometimes, it can cause tension and drama. Say, for example that everyone around you admires a certain person, but your encounters with this person have always been negative. Does that mean that your experiences mean less because you are in the minority? No. It just means that you have lived a different kind of life, have different encounters, and have different experiences than others. Perhaps the opposite is true, and you have experienced kindness from someone everyone else perceives as mean.

I think these situations show that you just never know what you’re going to see in someone based on what another person thinks.

Have you ever experienced a situation in which you were wrong about someone based on what someone else told you about them? Please share.

Where to Wear Emotions

October 3, 2014

I’m a “wear your heart on your sleeve” type of girl—for the most part. When I’m happy, I laugh; when I’m confused, you can tell; and when I am sad, I cry. But it hasn’t always been that way. In my teenage years, I buried most of my emotions so deep down that you could hardly tell what I was thinking or feeling. This “new” way of living is much better.

Who wants to walk around like a giant vault of secrets everywhere they go? Hiding everything from good to bad deep down inside? It gets tiring, and it’s also very lonely. I had friends, sure, but I had little to offer to them besides a place for them to store their secrets as well. Maybe that made me a good friend, maybe not. While I still keep in touch with some of my high school friends, I’m not particularly close with any of them any more, and that is a sad thing.

Now, however, I try to be honest with myself and those around me. Yes, I think that sharing my feelings is part of being honest. There is a song by the Christian singer Matthew West that I am really into right now. Here are bit of the lyrics:

“I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking;

What if I had given everything;

Instead of going through the motions?

I don’t wanna go through the motions

I don’t wanna go one more day

Without Your all consuming passion inside of me”

He’s talking about feeling God’s passion for life inside of him. I feel like that is true for all feelings. Once you have a real passion for life, all the other emotions will follow. And I for one am not going to keep them hidden anymore. Feelings make us who we are, and that is never a bad thing.

What do you think? Do you have a tendency to hide your feelings or do you show them freely?

Remember When…

September 29, 2014

Some things are not like riding a bike. Or maybe riding a bike after not having done so for a couple of years is not as easy as everyone says. Either way, I was quite embarrassed today when my editor handed me a cassette tape and a tape player and told me to listen to a recording because I could not for the life of me figure out how to do it.

My first few attempts made the recording sound as if the poor people coming through the speakers were slowly talking underwater. The others made them sound as if they were talking through helium. After that, I was afraid to try anything else because I didn’t want to break the delicate ribbon inside the cassette.

The funny thing is, I had a cassette player when I was younger. I should have remembered how to do this. Somewhere in the crevices of my mind the information should have been stored, along with how to use a CD player and how to use a typewriter (I was, after all, the last one in my high school class to switch over to a computer).

In the end, I had to ask for help. Daydreaming about legwarmers and plastic charm necklaces would do me no good. My recollection for 1980s technology was lost.

But that’s okay. Other things have taken its place. And when I need help, I know I have people to count on. I think that’s what makes life so great. We’re all unique, with different skills—and sure, from different decades, too. But life would be so boring if we were all the same.

Is Life Supposed to Be Fair?

September 25, 2014

On Catholic New York’s website, we have a feature called, “Word to Life” which discusses the scripture reading for the upcoming Sunday liturgy. Generally at the end of the reflection it asks a question. This week it asked something along the lines of, “Has life always been fair to you?”

It’s funny because this morning, a friend of mine had passed along a reading that said that when you are going through troubles, that God uses those “dark times” to make a beautiful tapestry out of your life. You can’t make it with just light colors. It’s very similar to one of my favorite quotes that says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.’” All these things point in one direction: God knows what He’s doing, even if we don’t. We may feel lost, betrayed, hurt, depressed, damaged, broken, beaten down or troubled, but somehow we will survive with God’s help. It won’t be easy, I’m not saying that at all, but it can be done.

So, when I come back to the original question about if life has always been fair for me, I’d say not really. I know that everyone has troubles, but some people seem better equipped to handle theirs, or seem to have smaller troubles. I’m using the word seem because to them they may feel bigger than they look to me. But I know that I joke around with my close friends and often joke around and say, “I must be doing something wrong” because life feels so hard sometimes. But then again, if it were super easy, would it be worth it?

What do you think? Has life been fair to you? Please share your thoughts.

What’s Up Ahead?

September 22, 2014

When you think about the past, can you think of the best day of your life? This weekend I was thinking about that sentiment and wondering if the best day of my life has passed, and if I’ll get another one. I was thinking about it so much that I asked a few of my very close friends their thoughts on the matter.

One friend said something along the lines that simple things every day make parts of each day the best day ever; another cynical friend said that it’s all downhill from this point on; and another said that he is hopeful for a few more best days.

I’m not sure exactly where I fall. I had had to choose right now, I’d have to say that I’m going through a period where my “hope tank” is low, so I’m not feeling like there are any “best” days ahead, maybe good ones, but nothing extraordinary, really.

I would like to be wrong. Thinking this way is akin to living basically without hope, and this is a very difficult way to live. In Hebrews 6:19 it says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.” We all need something to anchor us, and for me, at least, I know this anchor is hope. When I have hope, my faith is stronger, my love is stronger, I am stronger.

I just have to discover a way to find my hope. Any suggestions?

Promises, Promises

September 8, 2014

 

About a year ago, I promised a friend of mine that I don’t see often that I would buy him a plant or two to spruce his place up. Whenever we would talk on the phone, we’d laugh about the non-existent plant that I had yet to provide.

 

“I’m still waiting for that plant,” he’d say with a laugh.

 

I didn’t like that I had promised something that I couldn’t fulfill. But for months, the plant was pushed to the back of my mind until I heard his voice and was reminded again. Sometimes, I’d see a few flowers and other potted botanicals around, but every time it seemed that there was a hindrance to the purchase, some excuse or another as to why I couldn’t get it at that time.

 

Guilt would hit as the unfulfilled promise began to weigh me down. Yesterday, however, I kept my promise and delivered the plants. Immediately I felt relieved and happy. It wasn’t until I sat back in my car that I realized why the plant had grown to be so important—it was all about trust.

 

Both patience and trust are important in a relationship, even when it comes to God. It may take a while to trust in Him completely, especially when life doesn’t seem to make sense. But I believe He is there, patiently waiting for us.

Nicknames

September 5, 2014

 

Nicknames can tell a lot about a person. The names can describe a person’s history, character, personality, looks or talents, for example. Even when they are shortened versions of a longer name, it can tell you a lot about a person.

 

I know I’m not a sociologist or a linguist, so my examples aren’t an exact science, I admit…But take the name Timothy, for instance. When I hear the name Timmy I think of a child or adolescent. On the other hand, if I hear the name Tim or Timothy, I think of an adult. I have a friend who has the nickname of “my lovely” because of her kindness and beauty. And many other people in my life have nicknames that I call them by based on their roles in my life, like: husband, best friend, and brother.

 

In the Bible, nicknames are also used. Simon’s real name is Simon, but everyone calls him Peter because that is Jesus’ nickname for him. Peter, by the way, means stone. It’s a fitting nickname because later on Peter is called the “rock” that the Church will be built on. Even James and John are given nicknames, though you may pass right by it. They are called the sons of Zebedee, which is translated as sons of Thunder.

 

One thing that makes nicknames special is that they show you that there is a close relationship between people—the one saying the nickname, and the one with the nickname. I know that it is not quite the same thing, but I like to think that praying to Jesus, for instance, as the Most Sacred Heart, or as the Good Shepherd, makes me closer to Him as well.

 

What do you think about nicknames? Also, do you have one? Please share!


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