Be still and know that I am God."
Lord, Your words lead us to the calmness and greatness of your presence.
I have had a rough two nights. A migraine headache really wants to take control of my brain and body and so far I am winning this particular battle, but it is taking a lot out of me. My back and neck aches and there is that weird sharp pain that centers in my left eye that reminds me of my age and my inability to just keep pushing myself physically and not expect something to snap..even a little bit.
But I am hanging on, and the Lord has been good to me. Last night I felt a bit overwhelmed by this path I chose to take - one that could be described as The Catholic Way but also is simply a commitment to try my best to walk as Jesus would have me walk.
I'll tell you how I was spiritually attacked.
Looking around me, it appears that the people who have chosen (deliberately) to live a life that is centered only upon their own needs, wants and desires get to do all the cool fun stuff. They get to go to Cabo when it is too cold in the valley, to buy a new car or house when the rest of us worry about where our names are on the seniority list at work. They get all the dates, all the best concert tickets and the greatest haircuts.
In other words, I get spiritually attacked in my most vulnerable spot: the feeling of being 'less than' those around me.
So here is what I did:
I prayed as honestly as I can, telling my Lord that I am really a big whiny baby brat and that I am powerless over these feelings of 'what about me?'. I told Him that I am, of myself and by myself, completely incapable of changing the way I feel. I asked Him to relieve me of the bondage that is myself, to turn my thoughts and worries away from what I do not have in my life and I promised that, on my end, I would resolutely turn my attention to something else that does NOT involve me and my own life.
Then I got into the car and started the long commute to work. Within ten minutes I received my first phone call - it was from my friend DJ and it was a message I returned. He is currently at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio (birthplace of Dean Martin!) being shown around that beautiful campus. He is discerning whether or not to become a priest and he thinks he may have found his niche - to become a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. And he called ME to share that experience with and it just made me smile from ear to ear. The enthusiasm in his voice, the love he has for Christ and His Church, his determination to not only become a priest but to become a faithful, loving, well-educated priest in order to better serve His people gave me the biggest lift.
The second phone call came about 30 minutes later. A friend in NY was calling to tell me that he was in a blizzard, that he had just proposed to his longtime girlfriend and he wanted me to know first because I was the one who introduced them five years ago. He had not even called his mother yet. He wanted to share it with me because (in his words), "You have done nothing but added light and love to my life and I would take a bullet for you".
Finally, right outside of the city where I work every night processing warrants, records and restraining orders, another telephone call came through (I am so glad I invested in that bluetooth for the car. It has paid for itself about 100 times over since November) from a gal I had known several lifetimes ago. We were both rock and roll wild children together and had lost track of each other sometime in the 80's (outside the Chelsea Hotel). She had tracked me down to tell me she was celebrating one year of continuous sobriety today - March 5 - and that last week she had gone to Confession for the first time in 30 years. She wanted to tell me because someone had given her one of my CDs from a 12 step conference I had spoken at several years ago....and she recognized the voice and the stories. "Would I recognize how you look?", she asked. "I don't think so", I replied. "My hair is not orange and pink anymore".
The point of this little story is to remind myself that God does listen to me. I am rewarded all the time with these little bits of love that shoot at me from His arsenal of devotion. What others see as 'pious horse droppings' are really, honest gifts of grace. When I need Him, He is here. When I do NOT need Him, He is here.
Paying attention to the Sacraments, for me, has allowed me to rediscover the woman I was meant to be rather than the one I tried to be for such a long, dark time. It is not always easy, this life I have chosen, but it is always rewarding. It is always good. Even when I fall short of my spiritual goals - which I do often - I am never really sad that this is the road I am navigating today. I may not have everything I want - shoot, I may not even have everything I think I NEED - but I have enough.
And that is my Lenten prayer for today - Lord, let me be still and quiet and hide myself in Your Wounds. Let me be thankful for all You shower on me. Let me laugh loudly, eat with gusto, weep with abandon and be willing to do the next right thing even when everyone is looking at me and telling me it is wrong.
oh - and let me meet John Cusack so I can ask him about that one line in War, Inc. that haunts me.....thank you.