When I experience community in a more personal sense, it means belonging: feeling fully alive through the love of those around me.
There were so many things that I wanted to do, to change or to achieve in my spiritual life in order to be ready to rejoice today. I am going to be completely honest and share with you that I pretty much failed at every single one of those things that I set out to do. As I sat to reflect on Good Friday, I was pretty down on myself about how miserably I had failed and there was a certain distress I felt as Easter began to draw close (which is pretty messed up).
Most people in my life made me feel silly for wanting to pursue a career in the arts… telling me that it was impractical, too hard, or full of disappointment.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the symptoms that I was experiencing were a result of my anxiety. It would start with a feeling of nervousness, and then I would feel as though the walls were coming in on me. My heart would start racing, nausea set in, and the recurring thought running through my head was “I have got to get out of here”.
I have heard the Passion of the Lord more than a dozen times over my life. This year, I really sat with Matthew’s words and found two phrases Jesus uses that stood out to me.
I trust in God and know that with Him all things are possible. Recently, I needed to feel hope and trust in order to achieve a goal, a goal I wasn't sure was possible.
Today’s Gospel story is high drama. Despite knowing his friend Lazarus is ill, Jesus stays where he is for two more days, during which time Lazarus dies. Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus, blame him for their brother’s death. Martha hints that she knows Jesus could do something to change it. He insists on seeing the tomb and breaks down in tears. And then Jesus works a huge, public miracle.
See the call to holiness is one that we all share and one that Jesus invites us to. It is not a requirement for the believer, but an invitation into relationship with the one who makes us whole.
He casually mentioned, “well you’re done growing, so…” he continued on with some boring health jargon, but my mind was fixated on that first part—I’m done growing?
As I was driving home a few weeks ago, I encountered a common sight on the exit ramp of the freeway – a homeless person with a sign: “Homeless. Please help. God Bless You.”
At the end of the day, after my feet hurt, my brain aches, and my heart feels heavy, I hope that even the tiniest thing I did that day will help these families get a little closer to God’s plan for them.
With all the political and moral turmoil roiling about in America and the world today, trusting man, or ourselves, to solve our problems is tempting. We think, “well I know I’m supposed to trust God to solve our problems at his own speed, but we need answers now. We need peace now. We need love now. So I need to act now.”
I started a positivity journal. Each night before bed, I would reflect on the day and write down one thing, person, or activity that I was thankful for that day. This allowed me to end each day on a positive note and remind me that there’s more to life than this crazy PT school life.
And so the same goes for all of you: what your greatest doubts and uncertainties? How can you learn from the Samaritan woman to cast aside your feeling of being unworthy to be more open to sharing the fullness of yourself and God's love with others?
Disassociating the way I look from my health has brought me so much peace. I have been able to focus on the quality of my diet, as opposed to obsessing over the quantity of food I am eating.
Sometimes we are asked to do difficult things. Other times we don’t fully understand the story as it unfolds around us, and all we can do is trust the word of God. It can feel uncertain, lonely, and even confusing at times. But the unknown places always bring us to a final destination, a completion of what God started.
I often find that I can be my biggest critic. It is easy to get down on myself when I make mistakes. I believe most people feel this way at times, I know I feel it when I continue to make the same mistakes over and over. It’s much easier to remember mistakes, flaws and failures.
I put my daughter in her “pack and play,” turn on her favorite show, and keep an eye on her all while I run. I admit, I sometimes feel guilty for choosing to have some personal time.
I am still trying to figure out exactly what vocation I am called, but God has placed a strong desire in my heart for marriage so I better start working on that now. I want to be ready when I meet the right person someday, and for now that means working on myself and healing from my past, all while reminding myself that my happiness and joy can only be fulfilled by the love I receive from my Heavenly Father. It means embracing my current vocation of being single, and living my life the way God intends.
There seems to be a fine line between inspiring others and boasting about what I have done. I believe our world is surrounded by daily opportunities where we can make it about us if we allow it.