Thursday, March 22, 2012

Where I Belong

            No matter what happens in my life, I must admit that my life is wonderful.  This is not to say that I haven’t had my struggles.  We all have those.  Yet, I have always seen the work of God in my life.  Right now, I am especially in a good place so my moodiness the last couple of weeks has stopped me in my tracks.  The time of year is lent and spring is coming.  My attitude should reflect the beauty of life.  It hasn’t.  I looked back to last year.  My family took a cruise through the Mexican Riviera.  When we came home, I was moody.  What is up with this?
            I have decided I don’t like March.  I want to, but I don’t.  Sorry all you wonderful people who were born or married in March and sorry Saint Patrick, but I just don’t like March.  I believe I read somewhere that vitamin D can affect my autoimmune diseases.  Depression can also be an issue when a person is deficient in this vitamin.  Yes, I do take the pill throughout the year and take heavy doses of it during the winter months, but by March I need real sunlight consistently.  March just doesn’t have it where I live.  I am ready to be outside 24/7 but the weather just isn’t at that point.  Yesterday it was.  I went out for about thirty minutes in between my busy schedule.  Today I can feel the real sun vitamin D pulsing through my veins.  I feel good.  Bring on more sun!!!
            I am not sure how to combat this for next year.  I did just write a note in my yearly calendar for next December to remember to try sun tanning for February and March.  Maybe this will help my spirit to survive March more gracefully instead of how I am now: basically I feel all people are ignoring me or just putting up with me because they have to.  I really get into a woe is me attitude.  It is pretty ugly and miserable.  My poor husband deserves a medal for putting up with me!
During my moodiness, a song caught my attention while driving my kids all over the valley.  I have declared it my theme song for the next little while.  (If I haven’t mentioned before, I believe my life has a sound tract.)  The song is “Where I Belong” by Building 429.  One specific line gives me shivers.  “This is not where I belong”.  Even with my beautiful life, I am not where I belong.  People hurt me.  “Sometimes it feels like I’m watching from the outside.”  My body aches.  “So when the walls come falling down on me, And when I'm lost in the current of a raging sea.”  There is a better place where I belong.  Heaven.  I don’t belong on Earth: I belong in Heaven.
Again, I want to state.  I have a beautiful life.  My husband and kids are the world to me.  I love planet Earth with the stunning sunrises, animals, landscapes, plants, trees, rivers, lakes, oceans, and sunsets.  I don’t want to miss a minute of all the gifts God gives us here.  Yet, this is not my home.  People are mean.  Death happens.  Diseases consume.  Tragedy strikes.  Even still, I will make this place as much home as possible, but someday I will meet my father in heaven and return to my true home where I belong.
I went out to YouTube to listen to the song.  At the end, this verse showed on the screen.  “He will wipe every tear from their (my) eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order (life on Earth) has passed away.”  Revelation 21:4
Blessing to you all.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Church Attendance

                Over the last weekend, a friend came over for beer and conversation.  He is my husband’s closest friend whom I also enjoy having around.  We chatted about life in general for awhile.  The taboo topic of the Bible started being discussed with the conversation going on for hours.  Our friend grew up a pretty strict Catholic, but in his adult years, he hasn’t gone to church of any sort though he reads his Bible probably more consistently than I do.
                During the discussion, we talked about creation, reconciliation, Eucharist, and church attendance.  My emotions were all over the charts.  They were the lowest when we talked about church attendance.  This topic strikes such a chord in me.  I have mentioned it before, but from the time I was in about first grade, I went to church all by myself with the church school bus bringing me too and from Sunday School and Church.  The bus ride, Sunday School, and when they had Children’s Church were the best.  I loved going to learn more about Jesus; plus, I felt His presence especially strong at the church.  Going to regular church hurt.  I watched my friends join their mom’s or their mom and dad.  They went to church as family.  My heart broke.
                My mom refused to go to church without my dad and my dad said he wouldn’t go to church and sit by all those hypocrites.  My friend said he wouldn’t go to church and sit by all the gossips.  During this part of the conversation, I became very quiet letting him and my husband continue the discussion.  I feel so defeated.  They are most definitely right about the gossips and hypocrites.  I am one of them.  All my friends are also a part of this group.  We are all this way.  We are imperfect and sinful.  I work really hard at not gossiping.  Now that I can regulate who I am around, I don’t get as sucked into it as I did in the working world.  Water cooler gossip is virtually impossible for me.  I have to pray about this sin a LOT!  Yet, I can’t skip Mass because I am unworthy.  This is the very reason I need to go more.
                I believe I have used every argument I have ever heard on my dad to get him to attend church.  He went a handful of times when I was in high school.  About six years ago, he attended a weekend retreat with the Catholic Church.  I hoped.  I prayed.  I do know he communes with God in his own way specifically when out and about in his garden, on the lake, or in the woods.  My friend communes with God when he reads his Bible.  But, what about community?  To me this is very important.
                I sit by hypocrites every Sunday at Mass and they sit by me, a fellow hypocrite.  Together we lift our voices in praise to God through songs, greetings, and prayer.  We cheer each other through another week of living in a sin-filled world.  We cry together in our struggles of suffering.  Without my church family, my husband’s deployment would have been one hundred times harder.  I wouldn’t have been prayed for as much through my illness.  I need these imperfect people in my life to help me in my own imperfection.
                The real stickler for me comes in the form of communion.  Jesus said to the disciples to take this bread and take this cup in memory of me (Jesus).  In the scene of the last supper, Jesus finished setting up community.  My heart aches for those who don’t know the joy of Eucharist (communion).  No, I don’t know where in the Bible it says that we “HAVE” to attend church.  To tell the truth, I hope it isn’t a deal breaker of getting into heaven because I want my dad, friend, and others I love to enter heaven.  Deep in my heart though, I know it is a deal breaker for me.  I will not get to heaven unless I attend church.  Besides, why wouldn’t I go?  I feel God’s presence when I attend. 
                Blessing to you all.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Nurture, Protect, Love

                On my writing journey through life, my favorite moments take place when something triggers the muse giving me ideas which come alive in my soul.  I love to write numerous genres, anything from historical, fantasy, autobiographical, to faith.  Since I am writing this blog, I definitely look for sparks to share with my readers.  This morning as I read through a Bible study I am doing solo, the words kept leaping out at me.  I put asterisks by the items I want to work on later in my writing.  Suddenly, a passage hit my muse full force.  I would like to share the thoughts.
                “And a relationship doesn’t just happen.  It has to be nurtured, protected, and loved,” page 73, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver.  This took my breath away.  As I have mentioned before, I struggle with relationships.  I expect those I am in a relationship to live up to these words just as I must live up to them as well, whether the relationship is between me and God, my husband, a parent, a child, a sibling, or a friend.  We fail in these relationships when we overlook one of the points.
                Nurturing can be the hardest of all three because it takes a great amount of sacrifice.  In the first years of my marriage, we struggled with some of the aspects of nurturing each other.  My interest in science fiction and fantasy didn’t really exist.  My husband on the other side read all the books and watched all the movies.  I started trying these venues of entertainment to give us a common idea to talk about.  Now, I not only read and watch fantasy, I also write fantasy.  We go to many science fiction movies though I still struggle reading the genre.  Now for his part, he knew practically nothing about Shakespeare when we met.  Except for small high school plays, he also hadn’t been to the theater.  To nurture our relationship, my husband started taking me to plays and watching the old classic dramas.  He has even read classics like The Count of Monte Cristo.  We have learned to nurture our relationship by sharing our interests.  If one of us hadn’t taken an interest, our relationship would be one sided and either have ended by now or be very miserable. 
                Our relationships with others and God should be handled the same way.  I know many people who don’t attend church or other religious functions.  This is something God asks us to do.  I need to attend church because that is His interest.  Granted, I love going to church, but sometimes I would like to sleep in on a Sunday, not have to go out in the freezing cold, or play in my garden instead.  But I need to nurture my relationship with God on His turf.  Of course, I expect God to do the same for me.  When I go for a drive or walk out in nature, I want God with me.  He is awesome at pointing out the beauty of the land to me.  He also throws in wild life.  This last year He sent me osprey and a kerron to delight in watching.  Of course, He helps me with my writing and finding things to write about.  He nurtures my interests.  Nothing is worse than being the only one nurturing in a relationship.  We nurture each other.
                Our loved ones need protected as do we.  Protection comes in many forms.  The one that comes to the forefront of my thoughts is speech.  All people, me included, talk badly about other people.  When I am frustrated about my husband, I will talk about my irritation about him to a friend.  We get annoyed with those we are in relationship with.  That is a fact of life.  However, I am wrong to say bad things about him especially if I don’t include all the good things about him.  Yes, my husband is horrible at cleaning house, but he is an awesome husband, father, and provider.  And watch out if anyone criticizes him in front of me.  I will protect my husband from all who try to gossip and say bad things about him.
                The same goes with God.  I need to talk up all the good God does in my life and world.  Hopefully, He is talking well of me as well in heaven.  I also need to defend God.  When people talk bad about Him or our relationship, I need to defend both just like I would if someone misspoke about my father, husband, or other loved one.
                Part of me wants to say it is easy to love those we are in relationship with us.  But really it is only easy to say we love them.  I also believe it is easy to feel the love of the person.  Even those I am not in a good relationship with, I love like crazy.  But love is more than just the speaking and feeling, it is also action.  Our love needs to go beyond ourselves to nurture and protect.  Without the actions, the love will not help the relationship grow or mature.  Instead it will stagnate and become a burden.  If I only went to church for God, I would feel let down by Him or the reverse if I only met God on my walks.  God and I both need to work on the relationship beyond our love for one another.
                Years ago I had a family member or two complain about having nothing in common with my young sons.  The comment irritated the living daylights out of me.  Really?  And I am interested in Pokémon cards?  Nope.  But I sat through quite a few episodes of the television show, listened to the nonstop chatter about the little critters, and even picked out a favorite of my own.  Why?  I wanted a relationship with my kids.  A while back a woman gossiped to me about my son and his supposed girlfriend.  This was news to me.  I didn’t know he had a girlfriend nor at the age of 13 or 14 did I believe he should have a girlfriend.  I called him right then and there while I ate dinner with her.  He chuckled and said the girls were saying it and he just wasn’t going to argue with them.  I informed the woman it was only gossip.  Yes, I love my children, husband, God, family, and friends and they love me.  But to make the relationship more, all of us have to also nurture and protect.
                Blessing to you all.