MARCH 2, 2011
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
Today is my first Bible reflection and I am not sure how to begin. Someone told me once that one way to go about it is to actually write you a letter, so I am going to try that route and see how it goes. I hope you know how weird it feels to be doing this, but since you know everything about me, I am guessing you already do. Are you up there laughing at me right now?!? Well, you’re probably not. So, here goes.
Every time I have tried to reflect on a verse, it’s hard. Sometimes the verse is completely random, like that one time I asked you to help me think about the Bible and pick out a verse. While I don’t remember the specific verse, I remember that I closed my eyes, opened the Bible to a random page, and stuck my finger on the page. I opened my eyes, and it was one of those lists of names or things in a temple or kings…something like that. Why on earth did you pick one that was a laundry list of stuff? What’s holy and soul enriching about that?? Were you being funny?
Lately, I think you must be funning with me more than usual, because you probably think I take myself way too seriously sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I mean there are times I sense you’re there in a much calmer, serious, and quieter way–like church. But you seem to have a a sense of humor that I hadn’t really noticed before. To be honest, I can relate to that part of you.
Okay, back to today’s verse. It makes me think of Felix Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah. There’s that one really beautiful part where they sing “Lift thine eyes to the mountains, whence cometh help.” It always seems to me that that particular part of the piece is so beautiful that you can’t really put into words what you feel. You feel happy, humbled, weepy, and awestruck all at once, and you wonder how anyone can doubt that You exist when you hear music that amazing. I think that is probably only a minute fraction of the beauty that is up there in heaven. I also remember that Elijah was undergoing some pretty tough stuff at that time, and you sent him a rescue. There’s a lot of comfort in that verse, and considering the stressful events in my life lately, it’s a good reminder to remember You’re standing by to help me whenever I need You; all I need to do is look up out of the hectic busyness of what’s going on down here.
P.S. What’s a good way to close these letters? Friend just sounds dumb.
March 3, 2011
“What do you want me to do for you?” Mk 10: 46-52
46 And they came to Jericho; and as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimae’us, a blind beggar, the son of Timae’us, was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; rise, he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Master, let me receive my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
Well, the obvious answer to that question is HELP. One of the questions that went along with this meditation was Do you recognize your need for God’s healing grace and do you seek Jesus out, like Bartimaeus, with persistent faith and trust in his goodness and mercy?
First of all, you know how awful life has been lately for me and Randy. True, we’re still better off than many people in this world, but you also know about the news we got this afternoon (You know to what I am referring.) that, after the whole army thing followed by the untimely car crash, was really hard to hear. You know our finances are extremely tight right now. I am trying so hard not to worry about how we’re going to pay the mortgage this summer.
You were kind enough to remind me of the Gospel reading from mass on Sunday about how I’m not supposed to worry and to let tomorrow take care of itself. In regards to that question, the current state of affairs has taught me, if nothing else, that I clearly recognize the fact that I need your healing Grace, and I am trying harder now than ever to seek you out first rather than panic. I keep telling myself to trust you, and to be honest, at times it’s very hard. I really feel some days that I am blindly trusting You, but You are so quiet. There are some days that it just feels like you’re not around. It’s even harder knowing that my current situation has been particularly stressful for about three years now with no sign of getting better. If anything, after today, it just feels like I am getting knocked back down after barely being able to struggle to my feet from the last thing that happened.
Persistant faith in Your goodness and mercy is, to be totally honest, really hard right now. But, I know you’re right. I have to persevere. That seems to be the whole point of faith, right?
Just one other thing. If all this is going to make me stronger and what you have planned for me is going to be as wonderful as the Bible says it is, WHAT ON EARTH AM I BEING PREPARED FOR?!?! I know you don’t owe me any explanation, but I sure would appreciate a little clue. Sorry for the little outburst, but since you already know what’s in my heart and love me anyway, I guess it’s not that big a deal.
Have a nice day,
P.S. That closing sounds lame too. Sorry.
MARCH 25, 2011
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalm 42:11
It’s been sometime since I have written you a letter. How’s it going? I wanted to say that I’m sorry I have been wrapped up in my problems lately. This psalm, though, is just what I needed to hear.
So according to this psalm, you are the “health of my countenance.” Health is a really good word; you know that the last few weeks have been so hard on me as I have been struggling with a particular issue a lot lately. The thing is, I would like to tell you that I am feeling stuck, and I would like an answer to my question. What are your thoughts about religious doctrine? I am really trying hard to do what I know you like and what you want me to do. I know you love me. But sometimes, I am curious about why the Church teaches some ideas about you, and whether you agree with them.
If we’re made in your image, I assume that there are things that make you mad and things that you feel like smiting sometimes because they offend your sense of justice. I also know that You love all of us and that you want us to live in a way that reflects the love that is you. I know that because we are humans, we are fallen and we are all sinners. With the problems that I am dealing with right now, which are pretty serious–at least to me–how do you love me in spite of them? What if I can’t find the strength to resolve them? You created me knowing what I was and what I would be, which also causes me some confusion. Am I feeling this way because I am not doing your Will, or am I moving toward the purpose for which you created me?
To be frank, you and I both know how disquieted my soul is right now because of this particular issue. So I guess that I just keep on keepin’ on, hoping and trusting in you that this too shall pass in a way that is pleasing for you, right for me, and in a way that honors the sacrifice that your Son made for me. right? Man, it would be easier if you were actually sitting right here in some kind of body so we could have a face to face. 🙂
April 8, 2011
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7
It occurs to me I haven’t written you a letter in awhile. I wanted to tell you that I am sorry about the last five days–I was doing good since Lent began and then I “fell off the wagon,” so to speak. So here is what I am sorry for: I got busy and skipped my rosaries, I sneaked a peek at the TV when my husband thought I was sleeping, and I haven’t read the Bible like I said I was going to.
You know what it is? It’s that crazy Pocket Frogs app on my iPod! I am seriously addicted to that thing. Not the iPod, just the cute, colorful, little digital froggies. On the upside, the app. that sends me “daily reminders” from you is really cool. It’s almost as good as getting actual e mail from you.
What I really want to say is thank you. There have been many positive things going on lately, particularly in the area of my husband’s employment situation. So far, the process has been very encouraging, and I will continue to trust that you’re going to come through for us. To be brutally honest, there is a smallish part of me that thinks (okay, since we’re being honest–expects is a better word) you’re possibly going to say no, but that that’s the thing, isn’t it. That’s the doubt and pessimism creeping back in. Asking you for things is easy; sincerely believing that you meant what you said about answering all prayers is not–well, at least not for me. I guess you would say I am “careful.”
The hard part is that I find myself getting really excited and already beginning to think “This is it!” and the smaller part of me–the part which tempers that optimism with pessimism (and with good reason, I think) keeps trying to remind me that nothing’s been definitively settled yet. Send me some more peace to quiet my mind.
April 19 2011
I owe you a big apology. I am sorry I screamed and yelled at you this afternoon when I was driving home from my quartet rehearsal (By the way, I think that your choice of weather was also very appropriate–cold, extremely rainy and downright miserable.) I was seriously pissed off at You, which I think You probably figured out, but I am feeling a little better right now.
I took this whole situation with Randy’s job pretty hard, and so has he. We are both emotionally wiped out after today, and seriously, I feel like I am about to fall apart. I don’t understand why the answer is no again. I know, like Paul said, that You have your own timing for things, and that there is an infinite plan in place, and my little part in it is “insignificant” in the sense that you love me very much and are always with me, but things are bigger than just me.
But, to be brutally honest with You, it’s getting more and more difficult to have confidence and faith in You; I am afraid because even though I pray Your prayer–“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”–I am teetering on the brink of despair, and hope is getting harder and harder to find. I want to obey you, but as a human being with weaknesses, I am seriously struggling to keep the faith and be thankful in what feels like the shadow of the valley of death. How did all those people in the Bible–especially Job–manage to keep their focus on praising and worshiping you when their lives sucked? It’s so easy for people to say that You’re always there with me even in the worst of times, but after this time, I am struggling with some serious doubt–like do any of my prayers actually make a difference? Is there a really a great reward for me? How much longer will this go on? Is there something else I am supposed to learn?
More than anything, though, is that I feel deeply hurt by the people who didn’t want to hire my husband because of some misconception of who they think I am. I guess that it would be one thing if they felt like he was not qualified or the right guy for the job. But to not hire him because he has a Catholic wife is something I don’t get. It makes me wonder if I am responsible for why he doesn’t have this job. It was the same feeling I had at his ordination council. The thing is, I don’t harbor any anger or bad feelings toward them. I just wish they had given me a chance. And, above all, thanks for people like Jerry–he’s a good guy and it’s people like him that give me hope that maybe things can be a better someday.
I only have one other thing to say. All my husband wants to do is to minister to your people, and You and I both know that he is extremely good at it. Please, God, help. Please make all this waiting and suffering end and find us a home where my husband can do what you’ve chosen him to do, but let Your Will be done.