This New Year has brought many things: a new sense of empowerment, regrets and “Friends” on Netflix. I’ve always wanted to watch this show but never had all 10 seasons on DVD. I started my binge New Years Day and am still going strong. I just hit the half way point in season 2. I love the Ross & Rachel dynamic. I’m a big fan of the will they/won’t they relationships (as long as they aren’t in my own personal life). Ever since “The Office” ended, Stabler left SVU, Barney and Robin got divorced and Mindy and Danny got together, I’ve had this void I’ve needed to fill. Ross and Rachel have done that for me. When he questions whether or not its actually going to happen, Phoebe tells Ross that “She’s your lobster!” and goes on about how lobsters have one mate they stay with for life. This is something I’m on board with but not too long ago I wasn’t.
Waiting sucks. Everyday I go on social media and see someone else from high school got engaged. I try to be the good little Catholic girl and wait for my Mr. Right but sometimes I just want to throw that all away and got for Mr. Right Now. I’ve gone through a bit of a rough patch toward the end of the year. I pretty much gave up hope on finding my lobster. It wasn’t until I shared a very honest and very drunk conversation with one of my best friends. If my version of Ross were to walk through the door into my life right now, I wouldn’t want him to see it. There is so much crap all over the place, it’s embarrassing. He doesn’t deserve the task of helping me clean it all up. There’s not even room for him to walk! I realized I needed a change. I just needed a kick in the ass to get started.
Last week, me and that same friend I had a drunk convo with had plans for a shopping extravaganza. Unfortunately, a snow storm hit unexpectedly so we changed our plans to something more local. We ended up seeing “Wild” starring Reese Witherspoon. This movie was the kick I needed. No, I don’t have an urge to go on a ridiculously long hike but I do need to reevaluate my priorities, which is exactly what I did. After I got home from the theater, I sat in my room in the light of my 3 foot tall Christmas tree and prayed. I opened my bible for some Lectio Divina. I read a book that has all the feels. I wrote a letter to my future husband. I also made a list of everything I need to fix in my life. Some are instant cross offs, some are works in progress. Either way, the room that is my life is getting cleaned. Sometimes you find things you missed like old Backstreet Boys cds or old journals. Sometimes you find things you wish stayed gone like embarrassing pictures or exes. Sifting through it all does bring one thing, closure. I’ve decided that this is what 2015 is going to be for me, the year of closure.Too long I’ve sat idley by and wait for other people to make decisions for me or take charge. That me is gone. When December 31st, 2015 rolls around, I can jump into 2016 with no questions. I’ll have my answers and await the questions of the next year with much anticipation.
Yes, I’m a work in progress. With each thing I cross off the list, I get closer to finding my lobster. So here’s to 2015, the year I get my shit together!
Have you ever had that moment during a priest’s homily that it feels like they’re talking directly to you? I mean, I know homilies are accessible but I had this moment this past Sunday. Before mass, I spent a few minutes in front of the Blessed Sacrament like I usually do to prepare myself for mass. Typically, I lay all my worries, concerns and struggles down so they won’t be a distraction during the Celebration. I listed four things I was really struggling with and asked God for help/guidance with them. Fast forward to the homily. Fr. Joe was speaking about the Gospel where the day laborers that were idle all day got more wages than the ones that had worked all day. The workers were outraged. They couldn’t understand why these lazy people received more money than them! He said how often we ask “Why not me?” or think that we’re more deserving of something than other people. Just because the laborers we’re idle, doesn’t mean they were lazy. They were ready and willing to work just as much as the workers that did their time. Just because it looks like someone effortlessly got what you wanted, doesn’t mean that’s true. You have to stop thinking that you’re entitled to everything. Things come when they’re suppose to. Too often have I looked at a person and thought, “They don’t deserve that (person/thing). I’ve done my work. I’ve put in my time. I should get that.” We begin to sound like little brats. We should be thankful for what has been put in front of us. This is something I constantly struggle with. And ironically enough, Fr. Joe listed the four things I offered up in prayer in a row, in the homily.
Well played God, well played.
As I’ve referenced in past posts, I get most of my best facts of life from How I Met Your Mother. There is an episode called “Hooked” that is one of my faves. Not just because it has a teacup pig but because it focuses on one of the biggest problems in my life, being on someone’s hook, namely liking them but they always keep you guessing if they feel the same. Maybe it’s just me but sometimes I have a really hard time figuring out if a guy likes me or if he’s just a good friend. The lines are always really blurry. I witnessed a friend of mine experience the early stages of the hook. A guy we know (let’s call him Frank) asked her out even though she was just being a nice person and making casual conversation. She is just starting to date this guy and has no interest in “Frank”. My friend is a nice person and feels guilty about almost everything (blame it on being Catholic). She didn’t want to break his heart so she wanted to avoid telling him the harsh reality. Luckily, she has me for a friend and I helped compose the text. Never keep an admirer guessing. It’s not right. That person could waste days, months, even years on the idea of maybe. If you have even an inkling that this person has caught the feels, make it clear how you feel about them. Not necessarily in a rude way but in a blatantly obvious way that leaves no room for guessing. SHUT IT DOWN.
With all that said, my arms are tired from hanging on a certain hook for a long time now. It’s just become very clear to me that if someone likes you or wants you badly enough, they will come get you, or at least that’s how it should be. Sitting around waiting for signs that will never come is exhausting. I’ve become so jaded that the idea of a relationship isn’t even feasible right now. For all you peeps that have surgically detached yourself from the hook, here’s what I’ve been doing to help the wound heal.
1. Make a playlist
I pretty much do this for almost any occasion but this especially. I have a playlist called “Cleanse”. There’s no songs about love, wanting, yearning or any other bullshit like that. I have positive, upbeat, “I just wanna dance” songs as well as calming, I just wanna lay around my house on a Saturday afternoon” songs. It’s a nice balance.
If the pain of that hook through your heart is still pretty fresh, why rub salt in it by seeing that person? Maybe this person is a close friend or you work with them and you still want them in your life. You don’t have to cut them out completely. Only see them when necessary. It’s ok to say no to plans and sit home with your OTP Netflix.
Saved the best for last. This is a big one for me. I’ve pretty much talked God’s ear off about this stuff and I’m sure he’s tired of hearing me whine but he’s my Father. Fathers are suppose to be there when their daughter has a broken heart. He’s my hiding place. He’s my comfort. He’s my ultimate healer.
I’ve always been a believer in soul mates and fairytales and unicorns and rainbows. Ever since I was little, the idea of a princess with one parent that’s been waiting her whole life for a man to
complete compliment her has been in my head. As you get older, believing in soul mates is kind of like believing in Santa or the Tooth Fairy. It’s nonsense. Nowadays, soul mates has become, for the most part, a thing of the past. Instant gratification is key. That’s one idea of some non-religious folk. As a 23 year old Catholic youth minister, I’ve seen and heard some of the most beautiful and nauseating love stories. If you’re Catholic, you may have heard of Jackie (Francois) Angel’s story. If not, google immediately. Every conference I attend, one of the speakers talks of their spouse and how wonderful they are. They speak of stories such as proposing to them in front of the Blessed Sacrament or praying the rosary together before their wedding. With the exception of these people, I have never heard of anyone else in this world doing this stuff. I would kill for stories like this to be true for me. But it just seems like Snow White waiting for her prince to come someday or Cinderella catching the eye of Prince Charming. They are modern day fairytales that are simply that, fantasy. Everyday I look at my news feeds, I see classmates and friends finding their “Bobby Angel” or having a baby. I can’t help feeling left behind as if I’m one of the girls in the village that the prince comes to with a glass slipper and it’s a size 8 (i’m a 6.5). After all the princes and their glassware have come through, I’m stuck waiting by the fire.
One kind of modern day fairytale that was on television is How I Met Your Mother. This show has become one of my all time favorites. It caries so many lessons and pieces of advice for people in their 20s or 30s. It has a lot of symbols. One being a yellow umbrella. The mother is the one with the yellow umbrella, the one that Ted has been searching for all these years. The phrase I associate with it is, “The right place and the right time.” Ted goes through a long journey to find this woman he’s meant to be with. There are times when he wants to give up completely. His ex Stella puts it best when she says:
“I know that you’re tired of waiting. And you might have to wait a little while more but, she’s on her way, Ted. And she’s getting here as fast as she can.”
There are times when I want to give up, when it feels like everyone is paired off and I’m going to die a lonely cat lady. The yellow umbrella has been that symbol of hope that there is a person out there for me. I may be a complete idiot for believing this but I don’t care. I like to think that fairytales do exist and that there is a Bobby Angel out there for me. It may take me some time to find him but when it’s the right time and the right place, all this bullshit won’t matter.
With all of that said, a yellow umbrella will be my first tattoo. And hopefully if I do meet my yellow umbrella, he’ll have a blue french horn.
Two weeks ago, I helped lead a Kairos retreat for a group of confirmation candidates. For those of you who don’t know, a Kairos retreat isn’t a normal Catholic retreat. Things get really emotional. It’s probably one of my favorite retreat structures. Instead of teaching so much, it focuses on personal witnesses, things these teens can relate to. Let me just say, there were a few points in this retreat I was moved to tears. My teens are awesome. In the end of the retreat, we gave them a chance to get up in front of everyone and speak to the group about what they experienced this weekend and whatever was on their mind. These kids had me choking back tears. One told us that this retreat changed him. He didn’t know what it was that changed but he didn’t want to be so angry as he had been. If you know this kid, your jaw would’ve dropped. Then when one of the girls in my small group got up and spoke, she burst out in tears. I lost it.
As retreat leaders, we never usually get to see the fruit of our labors. Sometimes that can be discouraging. It leaves you wondering if what you’re doing is working or even worth it. The last talk of the retreat is about living out the fourth day. The fourth day meaning the days after the retreat. We talk about what they can do to live out their faith and what they learned this weekend after the retreat. Here’s where our job ends. We may never know how these teens live out their faith after mass ends. I will say immediately after the retreat, some of the Core searched twitter to see teens reactions to the weekend. Massive favorite/retweet spree! But you never usually see things said about it later than a day or two. Today was an exception.
I was doing my normal scroll through twitter and I came across a tweet that made my day. On Sunday morning of the retreat, we said a rosary before breakfast. These teens were half asleep. I didn’t think they cared. One of our teens posted that he said a rosary before his mid year exam and it was the easiest test he’s ever take and it “seems legit”. Insta-RT.
So a message to all of you in youth ministry, don’t get discouraged if you think the teens don’t care about what you’re saying. Chances are one of them does. They may not come up to you and tell you but that’s not why we’re in this. We shouldn’t be looking for affirmation. We put our own needs and desires aside for the good of the teens. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned in YM this past year.
I just came out of one of the most emotional adorations of my life. For you non-Catholics: adoration is a time that we get to pray in front of the Eucharist, that we believe is the true presence of Christ. It’s a beautiful time of prayer. I’m never really emotional during this time. But for some reason, I couldn’t hold it together. It was like all these epiphanies were hitting me at once. A guy that essentially broke my heart was there roaming around. It was like I looked at him and the thought came to my head that this is not the man you’re going to marry. It was one of the toughest things I had to come to terms with. I had all these dreams and hopes that he was the one. It was like all of these stars were aligning and everything was falling into place until it all fell apart. So that really hit me. Then the band plays this song with the words “Lord, I need You. Oh, I need You. Every hour I need You. My one defense. My righteousness. Oh God, how I need You.” As I was singing/praying these words, I just broke down. I’ve tried to do things by myself and not bother God with the silly things. I was strong enough. I could handle it. NOPE. I need Him more than I thought. I’ve been having a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that my grandmother is dying of cancer. This is probably our last Christmas with her. It breaks my heart. She’s like a parent to me. She helped raise me. She’s the reason I’m the person I am today. I hate asking people for help. My pride gets in the way a lot. The funny thing was the speaker gave a talk about humility. Ha! I never want to bother people with my problems. Everyone has their own crap going on. Why bother them with mine? But I kept praying these words and I could not stop the feels. So. Many. Feels. I left early because I just couldn’t be there anymore. I walked to the train in the pouring rain in silence, just reflecting. Today something beautiful happened. I surrender. I humbled myself like JP2 and Bl. Mother Theresa and that adorable Pope Francis. I think it’s the start of a beautiful advent. Advent is all about preparing the way for The Lord. I started with mass and a good confession. Now my heart is more open to His will, no matter how difficult it will be to face. It is well with my soul.
“Jesus still rose, so we will trust.”