Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Grateful in the Now


I was praying the other day briefly, alone. Sometimes I self-evaluate. I go over what I’ve done or not done. I am a goal-oriented person. Accomplishing tasks or long term goals gives me a sense of satisfaction. 

This is a wonderful quality when it keeps me motivated and energized. It’s not great however, when I decide I am not accomplishing what I had hoped to that day, or by a certain time period. 

Here is the conclusion I came to while sitting before our Lord in His Eucharistic presence. 

Goals and dreams can be good to have, but sometimes they can suck the happiness out of your life. Sometimes you miss the good in front of you, because you’re dwelling on the good you wish you had. 

That’s not to say that the good thing, that goal, isn’t something you should aspire to, but maybe God has given you something right now to do, and if you skip it, your dreams may be a disappointment, or may have been fulfilled if you would just pour yourself into “the now”.  I think about my children, for example. The now for them, is mostly their education, growing in the mind and the heart. They have dreams that won’t just show up without the hard work that is necessary in their present circumstances. 

I was looking at beautiful art. And during prayer I had the thought, I wish I had the time to invest in creating beautiful things. And I heard “but what if you *are* creating beautiful things right now, in working on your relationships- your relationship with God, your family, your friendships, in trying to be a good example, in giving and loving? And what if the time spent on that will only enhance the dreams you have for the future, when the time is right?” 

And to be fair. I do have some time. But never what I in my mind, think I need, to make it worth the while. We all look at other things, not our life, and think “I wish I had____ or I wish I could do____”. It’s part of our fallen human nature. 

But let’s not let the things we dream of, and aspire to, suck the joy out of our present, and steal the good God has before us. Because He has a purpose for everything. And He can see what you cannot see, the things you need to learn and go through before that next milestone. 

God is a good God and loves to give us good things. He is also a giver of hopes and dreams. He IS the God of Hope. Look at what’s in front of you, and ask Him to show you “what’s the good you have for me right now?” -while He’s preparing good things for your future as well, and you trust Him to. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Even the Darkness is Not Dark to You

 “If I say, let only darkness cover me, and the light about me be night, even the darkness is not dark to you. The night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” 
Psalm 139:11-12

A priest suggested Psalm 139 to me to meditate on after confession yesterday, and though I have read it many times, even memorized it as a teen, I saw this in a new light today. 

“Even the darkness is not dark to you.”

I began to think about the darkest of darks. For many people it’s deep depression. Others, an addiction. An abusive relationship. Maybe paralyzing anxiety. The death of a loved one. Many of us feel a growing darkness around us, of immorality and truly evil activity. We feel overwhelmed and sometimes hopeless. 

Then I thought about, being in a dark room. At first you can’t see anything, but when your eyes adjust, you see there is in fact, still light. 

And I thought of an experience I would wish to forget, when I was truly in the dark, in a pitch black cave in a small space (I was already feeling claustrophobic and then the tour guide decided to eliminate all light sources). I began to panic but my husband reached out to squeeze my hand, and I found I could endure it, a little longer. 

“Even the darkness is not dark to you.” 

“The night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” 

I was overwhelmed with a peace, a confidence that my God, cannot be held back, by anything. He will always find me, He will always be there. In the darkest of dark places. 

And He is always going to be there with you. He is there, in your darkness. He wants to be there, holding your hand, saying, “Be not afraid! I am with you!” You may not see Him, but quiet your heart. Call out to Him. Your darkness is as light to Him. Because He IS the light. Any darkness, your darkness cannot overcome Him. But He can overcome yours. 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Pruning Season

 I was cutting back my favorite rose bush next to my house the other day. I always seek counsel from my dad about what and when to do things with anything yard related. He’s an expert👌. Sometimes he will just send me a text. “It’s time to cut those bushes back.” “It’s time to fertilize.” I have not done any work in my flower beds for months due to my high allergy response, but also, I love to look at my flowers 😭🌺. They give me joy. As I was cutting branches off, hating every minute, but knowing it would produce “good fruit” or in this case, a healthy blooming bush in the spring, I started to think about how God does this to us. He prunes us. He has to cut things out of our life sometimes, or even cut people out of our life. Attachments. Things we cling to more tightly than Him. And I know He hates to have to do it, because He loves us. But He wants us to be the best version of ourselves, and sometimes there are things in our life that hold us back. Or sometimes, removing something for a little while, will make us even more beautiful and fully bloomed “in the spring” in the future, when we have learned to cling to Him completely. It doesn’t feel or look fun at the time of pruning. But everything He does, is good. And has a purpose. 

“Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that *does* bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear *more* fruit.” 

John 15:2