Some basic updates on my life …
I am off on stress leave.
This has caused a big upheaval several levels up in my work place, which is not necessarily bad. I wouldn’t have believed it a few days ago, but it looks like a plan is coming together that may make it possible for me to go back to the same place, as people higher up the chain are wanting my admin and myself to work together on an approach to handling things. This means we’d all be under a microscope, which is fine with me because I think a part of this situation has been a lack of support from the office. Anyway, for the moment I need to finish my marking & get my mark book in (I’ve been procrastinating this task, Prayer Buddy if you don’t mind I could use some prayers for this!) and after that just work on getting better. I’ll see the doc again early January.
DH was “a close third” when they were going forward with 2 candidates. This has happened to him so many times, that he misses out by a hair’s breadth. So frustrating. He is an amazing person and worker and will rock some company’s world – if he can just get in the door. (sigh). I’m hoping another good opportunity will come along (soon).
I read a post by misfit about a book she’s been reading and some contradictions in it
and I ended up writing an enormously long response! Since I did all that writing anyway, I figured I’d put it out here – so I will post that below. I don’t know if it’s of interest to anyone but maybe I will need to go back and read it someday 🙂
Just before I leave you with that, I discovered this really cool Hanukkah song – “Candlelight” by the Maccabeats. I love learning about other traditions, and this song (to me) shows some of the beauty of Hannukah besides just being fun to listen to. Here’s the youtube link if you are interested:
and here’s my long response to misfit:
I been thinking and puzzling over this since you published it … and I’m afraid this will be a long response, though I don’t know if it will actually be helpful or not. (note I am breaking it into parts so it will fit – wow!)
First – the fact that you wanted a spiritual director, that you meet with him, that you are trying to find these answers – to me, that shows that there is something within you that is reaching for God in some way. That God is calling you, loving you – and that you are wanting and loving Him back. You want to know Him better, you want something more from Him, you are being true to a call in your heart. And by saying what you feel honestly, you are also being true to where you are in your relationship – putting the doubts, disappointment and bad feelings out there too. If you want to build a healthy relationship with someone, don’t you have to be honest (although of course with another human person, we need to be careful how we do that), and don’t you have to do your part in reaching out and being willing to hear from them? To me, this is evidence of love, or at least, the desire to love and know God. (and my understanding is that the stance of the Catholic church is something like “all those who seek God with a sincere heart are saved (or may be saved??) “ even if that path is not what we expect – so the seeking is very important!)
Second – all the observances you discuss – yes, they can be ways to deepen our relationship with God. But they don’t work like magic. I know people who have felt that the Catholic faith was not the one for them because this way of praying, and the practice of having statues in the church, etc. for them got in the way of prayer and of being free with God. So the Catholic path did not feel true to them. Just because they are not helpful to you, or not helpful at a particular time in your life, doesn’t mean they don’t have some value – but it may just not be the path that is right for you at that time.
Third – I know there’s a quote somewhere in the Bible about rain falling on the good and bad alike. All of us are going to go through difficult times in our lives. If one is on the journey of being in relationship to God, there will be times where one is coasting with joy and all is going well, or at least the trials of life seem very manageable – times of consolation. There will be times when God feels far away, when everything is a struggle, dry and unfulfilling. When there are trials in life also it’s even harder to push through. This time of desolation may happen because it’s part of our growth in relation to God – developing our muscle of perseverance or whatever – or it may happen because we’ve somehow closed ourselves off from being open to Him and we aren’t hearing Him. Either way it is hard. But it doesn’t mean we are not loved or valued.
Fourth – For me personally, lectio divina is a way of prayer that helps me be close to God , to be honest and emotional and to grow. I don’t know if it is for everyone. It might be worth talking to your spiritual director about it? If you are interested to try, the basic idea is:
1) Set aside some quiet time and space and get comfortable, breathe deeply etc. Maybe set a timer for 30 – 60 min, whatever is manageable for you.
2) Pray to God, asking Him for a grace you hope to receive. Ex. “Lord, I wish I wanted to love you. Right now I am just angry at you. But I desire to desire to love you. I ask the grace of this desire from you. Please send me your Spirit to direct me in my prayer today.”
3) Read the passage of the Bible you have been directed to or you have chosen, out loud, slowly. Pause for a moment to feel if anything in that passage really drew your attention.
4) Read the passage again, out loud and slowly. Pause over the parts (if any) that really call to you (that gives you an emotional reaction, good or bad, or that piques your interest).
5) Read it a third time, perhaps just the part that seems to be sticking out to you.
6) Put aside the Bible and let yourself sit quietly with what you have just read. Don’t try to pray the way you think you should, or to force yourself in any way – just be open to the flow of where you may go. Breathe.
7) When the timer goes off, say a thank-you or good-bye or whatever prayer to God.
8) Journal about your prayer time.
So, what usually happens, at least for me, is I feel drawn into the scene. I may experience it from the point of view of the person being healed, or the point of view of Jesus, or even I may be a tree on the side of the road observing the scene … you just never know where you’ll be drawn to. I may have a conversation with Jesus , or with someone just healed, or Mary or Joseph. Ex. lately I’ve been praying with the blind beggar story, the one who starts calling out when he hears Jesus is nearby and everyone tells him to hush, but Jesus asks him “what do you want?” As you can imagine, I’ve had lots to say and ask Jesus given all the turmoil going on for me right now.
I don’t mean to suggest that lectio divina is magic either … there are times I sit the whole 30-60 minutes and nothing really happens. Very frustrating!
If you are at all inclined to try this whole process, a passage that I would like to suggest to you is Luke 13:10-13 – the healing of the bent-over woman. Or you may have something else that seems to call to you.
And fifth – I believe that every single one of us is loved passionately. We are each special and precious in a way that we can’t even fathom. Of course this means that our “enemies” are also loved without reserve, as hard as that may be to imagine. None of us are “worthy” and we all make bad decisions and hurt each other, but at our core we are amazing beings and unbelievably valued. That is what I have come to understand anyway.
I hope there is something in this incredibly long response that is of value to you, and I hope nothing in here is offensive or disrespectful in any way.
Know that I am thinking of you and praying for you!