The crosstraining season is (pretty much) over and I couldn’t be more grateful for the people in the ministry. It has been a long one for many and we have all had our share of laughs, cries, bonding after lights-out on retreats, powerful praise and worship, or spiritually dry moments. It has all come together, and it was such a beautiful season.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of emceeing the May retreat with my brother is Christ, Pat 112. It was such an amazing weekend to be a part of and a perfect retreat to end the season with.
Today’s gospel is just so beautiful. Having blind and unconditional faith has always been my struggle. I, like Peter, often falter when trusting and believing in people’s plans, especially God’s. When I think about all of the times I was crowded on my imaginary “boat” of my own insecurities, neglect, loneliness, anger, and spiritual dryness, I too become very doubtful of what God has in store for me. In the brink of the unsteady waters and I don’t hear what He has to say…or maybe I’m just not listening hard enough. So in this silence I try to plan and direct my own life, thinking that it will make me happier to have things go a certain way. But it doesn’t. I fail to let go, and let God take the reigns.
As Peter reluctantly cast out his net on the side of the boat, the Lord surprised him with tons of fish, even more than their nets could carry. I am still waiting to cast out my nets into the sea. It’s so dark these unknown waters scare me. I like having things in order, with a plan, and with a goal. But life is passing me by. You cannot have too many plans, or time with go by too quickly for you too catch up.
In tonight’s meeting, we talked about being perfect. Yes, we should try to be the best disciples and humbly accept the call to be ministers of our faith. We should strive to be holy and act in Jesus’ name but in our weaknesses, we are made whole. Realizing our imperfections is the first step to holiness. Through our downfalls, God lifts us up to do great things. In our weaknesses we are strengthened. Together we are strengthened.
It must be time to cast out nets out and become fishers of men. We are more powerful than we think. “[We] can do great things through Christ who strengthens [us]” (Phil.).
I realized today how great we are and our call to service is so important. We need to strive to make every action one that will glorify the kingdom of heaven.
Life is very simple. but then again, it isn’t. People have always told me to try hard and keep striving for something greater. To work hard, be fantastic, awesome things will happen. Yes, I try to do my best… Right now, I’m concentrating on work. It’s great, hard, exhausting, hot, rewarding, difficult, tiring, and promising. I wish I had all of the time to commit to half of the things I envision. But as I was contemplating this so late in the night, while sitting at my craft table making yards and yards of bunting for the small details of a party, I find myself thinking. Why? Why do I continue to look and focus on so many of the itty-bitty details and fail to appreciate the beauty overall? I should be able to find pax in every moment in life regardless of where I am.
I forgot to be thankful for the blessings that have come to me.
I keep trying to change things, to make it better, when I should be able to step back, and look at it more clearly. Maybe that thing is already perfect. I’m just too obsessed with finding the small things to complain about.
I should be more humble. Appreciate more. Love more often. Look at the beauty in people. Exercise. Help those who can’t help themselves. Lend a hand to the poor, elderly, and forgotten. I feel inspired… but tired at the same time. Is that possible? Why can’t I just go out and do it?! Some deep inner anxiety is holding me back for some annoying reason. So… in conclusion, I realized I need to pray more. Pray for a more grateful heart. A chance to live tomorrow the best way I can. Pray to live my life with more pax. Amen.
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Sometimes I get so caught up with all of the small things: what I need to do, how people perceive me, or how I should act. I forget to think about my faith as a way to help me through the struggle. The beauty and the colors of your actions, like the colors in a stained glass window, is just a mere reflection of what goes on in the inside. You can’t radiate the beauty of life if there is nothing that truly inspires you from within.
I think being in ministry for so long, I forget to become grounded – to look at my core values and reflect that light. My stained glass windows are often clouded, especially recently. I’ve been wanting to have the light come from the outside, but I forget that it needs to come from somewhere inside…from the place where peace and calmness settles.
Maybe I’m not making any sense at all. But when I heard this quote today, I felt a sudden realization that I can’t expect the light to come from anywhere else. It has to come from within myself – a personal conversation with myself and God. I’ve been waiting for so long to feel something. Just to sit in chapel and have God actually speak to me. But first, the inner peace has to come from me. Just me. Another one of my favorite quotes say that “peace is not a distant goal you seek, but a means at which you arrive at that goal.” This quote actually inspired the name of this blog. I wanted “pax” to be in the name somewhere.
I want to find this pax. I will try to make it come from within, and shine out for others to see.
It’s weird being done with school. I just finished a couple of weeks ago, but I already feel like I need some new projects and hobbies to start up. Like this blog, for example! Through college, I’ve always felt busy or stressed, and that there was no time to do anything. Now, I can do things I never had time for, like gardening. Gardening is an entirely new experience for me. I was never an outdoors person – always sensitive to the heat, never liked hiking or sports, or anything physical for that matter. Gardening is different. It’s something else to be able to grow something from scratch, to actually see the fruits of your labor, and to feel strong and in control. It’s been a spiritual and reflective journey. It is hard work though. Pulling out weeds, moving bricks, cutting, trimming, and sweating. Who knew, right? I’m sore all the time – sometimes I feel like I can’t do it alone, or that my work will never be finished. I’m going to try and put up some before/after pictures and progressive shots of my efforts. I’m exhilarated, tired, sore, happy, and relaxed all at the same time.
As I look forward for new things and see the return on my investment in my schooling, I also dig (figuratively and literally) towards a new goal: to grow and build a new place through reflection and hard work.