The River

I live near Pittsburgh a city known for potholes, food, artistic bridges, and lots and lots of rivers. Right now I’m temping downtown and have the luxury of walking along one of these beautiful rivers during my breaks. It’s absolutely gorgeous but I noticed something funny. When I’m worrying about something or trying to figure something out I look down towards the sidewalk and focus only on the path. I found that I actually had to remind myself to look at the river, to take in the beautiful view of the city, to watch the geese and their babies waddle across the way.

I found myself wishing it wasn’t so easy to have that tunnel vision, eyes on the path and not on God or the wider world He made me a part of.  It even made me a little sad as I realized how much beauty, how much life from animals to my fellow walkers that I had been missing out on by being so focused on myself. It’s easy to do that in times of uncertainty, times of sorrow and I think if I were to share with you some of my struggles you might forgive me but I couldn’t justify it to myself today when I remembered my call as a Christian, a call to love, a call to trust but most especially a call to let God love me as He desires to even when tomorrow is uncertain, even when I deserve it the least because it’s during those times that He gives me the most even when I don’t see it, feel it or understand it. And I found myself promising to be more patient with God, to try and surrender enough to truly let Him finish this beautiful work He began in me and above all trusting that everything will be alright because one day I’ll see the face of God in Heaven.

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Don’t Give Up

So the other day I got some bad news. It wasn’t new news, per se, but I’ve been having all kinds of minor health problems lately that have me being bounced around like a ping-pong ball between different specialists as they try to pinpoint which cause is responsible for which symptom.

It’s a frustrating process, not in the least because I sincerely worry that my boss will stop believing me the more I repeatedly ask to take off work to go to the next doctor who, of course, will also want a follow-up appointment.

I wouldn’t mind it so much if I didn’t have to ask permission to join something that I really want to join, something which I’m not sure will accept me as a candidate even though I feel truly called to do it. And that’s hard. Because obviously I won’t know their answer until after I apply, which won’t be in the immediate future. And in the gap that waiting always brings there is much room for doubt.

But it’s funny, even in the midst of some very reasonable objections I could see brought against me, I was surprised when my extremely practical family members looked me right in the eye and said “don’t give up.”

In the right context, those words can be quite powerful.

Because even though I was expecting my family to say “yeah it’s unlikely” or “yeah don’t set your heart on it, keep your options open” they instead believed in two people that I sometimes struggle to believe in, myself and God. They believed that in spite of resistance I might face that God is truly calling me to do it and that, if that is the case, neither hell nor high water will stand in my way. And I was touched because I know the reason they believe I can do it is because they have witnessed the strong interior conversion I described having, the one that inspired this blog in the first place, and the one that has carried me through many storms and placed me back on my feet on the other side to walk along brand new shores. And I’m sure I’m a better person for it.

And as I reach my one year anniversary of being a medical enigma, I also approach my one year anniversary of my littler way, a practice of living in the present moment with God. A process I will describe more in detail come the new year. A process that took the sting out of my bad news because, from the relationship that developed there, when push came to shove and I had to ask myself that tough question: “do I really trust God to take care of me, to get me through this and accomplish His Will for my life even in the face of potentially serious opposition?” My answer was a genuine “yes, I do.” Because God likes to accomplish the utterly impossible for me, it’s kind of our thing. I blame myself really because the truth is, as Miss Piggy pointed out in The Great Muppet Caper, “you wanted excitement!”

So I renew the promise I made when I began my consecration to the Blessed Mother, “No matter what happens, I won’t give up.”

Because in spite of everything I still have my new faith, and it really does make all the difference.