It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here.
I am learning a lot.
I am growing a lot.
I am learning a lot.
Here’s some short reflections on a really wide variety of topics:
On People: Loving people is hard and loving people is really easy all at the same time. Loving people takes energy but if you are doing it right it will be so good. Let people love you, too. Reciprocal relationships rooted in brotherly love change everything.
On Faith, Justice, and Vocational Calling: A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. Not only did I learn a lot about advocacy and a faith that does justice, but I also learned about some figures in Christian history that have given their lives in service to others. Someone I found particularly striking was Ita Ford. Ita lived in El Salvador in solidarity with the poor and was raped then murdered by military forces in 1980.
Tying vocation with passion and faith is no small feat. Ita sums it up well when she writes to her niece in August 1980: “…I hope you can come to find that which gives life deep meaning for you, something that energizes you, enthuses you, enables you to keep moving ahead.” (1980). (read the full letter here: http://archive.maryknollogc.org/documents/Something_worth_living_for.pdf). This is what I’m learning about this semester and what I’m trying to figure out.
Finding ‘that which gives life deep meaning’ is complicated. There are a lot of things I love (my family, my friends, tea, short stories, Chicago at Christmas, Chicago in August, air plants) and there a lot of things that energize me (the Lakeshore Trail, chai tea, worship music). But enables me to keep moving ahead? What is that? What is it like to wake up in the morning filled with so much passion that I am propelled forward and remember that my life has greater purpose? How?
Again, I am learning a lot. I am growing a lot. I’m learning more about being in relationship with God and people every day and it’s really exciting. I’m not sure that I’ve ever experienced a time like this before in my life. It is so good and my heart is so full. But I still don’t see that piece that Ita is describing. Perhaps that’s selfish, perhaps this is just not the time, but I want to find deep meaning and I want it now.
On Writing: I like it and I also like music. http://www.8tracks.com is keeping me in the music this semester. Holst’s The Planets and mid-2000s worship music is keeping me on track.
On Self-Worth: Two days ago, I bought some pumpkin-colored mums. I trimmed the stems and put them in jars. They did not look great. The arrangements actually resembled jars with a orange cotton ball resting on top. I displayed them anyway. That’s what I’m learning these days about self-worth. Not everything is perfect. Do it anyway. I will never be perfect. I am worthy anyway.
On Cooking: Eat more squash because it will nourish your body and your soul. Winter is the time for more squash. Butternut squash with spices is a personal favorite but I like spaghetti squash a lot, as well. Hmu for recipes. I have them.
On Intentionality: Actions and words have consequences. This, I have known my whole life. A compliment (?) that I receive frequently is that I clearly think before I speak or act. I say this not as a point of pride, but as a demonstration of my awareness of consequences. My life has nearly always been a push to say the most polite, most acceptable thing in any given circumstance.
A lesson I am learning – sometimes staying quiet and being polite isn’t the best option. Intentionality is not only a filtering of unkind thoughts. Intentionality is giving constructive feedback. Intentionally is affirming people in really positive, really personal ways. Intentionality is being vulnerable and creating an atmosphere in which other people feel comfortable being vulnerable. Intentionality is actively listening and actively responding.
What I’m saying is that intentionality is not simple the filtering of words and thoughts. Intentionality is the ability to discern what to say and when. There is a time and a place for politeness, but there is also a time for boldness. Kindness is not silent but involves words (a lot of words, sometimes), and physical touch and a willingness to hear exactly where people are.
On running: I am not fast and I have little endurance but I am trying to love physical activity. Sometimes running is cool because I get to see beautiful sunsets on Lake Michigan beaches in the middle of November (see above image). I am grateful for a body that can run and eyes that can see.
On my new Passion Planner and Adagio Grapefruit Oolong Tea: I like these things. A lot. 10/10 would recommend both and no one even asked me to write this.
I hope you too are learning and growing. Peace and blessings.