Monthly Archives: February 2013

Why God gave me bad eyesight

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So I had an epiphany today… just a little one… if there is such thing as a “little” epiphany… Hm. When I think of the word and concept of “epiphany” I think of HUGE AMAZING insight… well this was in”sight”, with the pun smugly intended, even though it was not a mind blowing epiphany… it was still that little BING light bulb going off in my head.. Hm…whether an epiphany needs to be mind-blowingly (yes I can make up words if I want …it is my blog) momentous or not, I had one. period. So onward….

So I am a special education teacher SLASH case coordinator (well, I am a long term sub at this point but I still AM a sp ed CC!!!) … and the more I learn about special ed the more I think I AM special… (this is funny and serious at the same time) …and I believe we ARE all in some form handicapped and or disabled in some way… it may be small teensy tiny… like some ridiculous THING that causes us to NOT be able to function “normally” (if there is really a normal normal) in public.

I have decided since my son is an Aspie (he is high functioning autistic, probably Asperger-ish…who knows all people on the spectrum are all so wonderfully different in their uniqueness)… so since I have a child who is on the spectrum I believe that maybe, just maybe I have a smidgen of autism in me…

Why do I think this? I think back to when I was VERY VERY unnaturally shy as a child… yeah sure many kids were shy as a kid but I was uncomfortably ridiculously shy, I hid behind my mother. A LOT…. I did not like to talk to people that much (unless they were my close friends or family)… I was horrified if I had to say anything in a group much less in class… (OH the HORROR! AAAHHH!) … yeah sure I survived and I am now quite the opposite of shy (hahaha) …but I do think that something MORE was up with me when I was a child….

To this day I do not like LOOKING PEOPLE IN THE EYE. Sure I will do it, but if you ever talk to me for any length of time I will for the most part talk to the floor, wall, chair, plant, cat or anything else but your face. Sure I am talking TO you but I don’t LOOK at you a whole lot when I am conversing with you. I am not comfortable with LOOKING INTO other people’s eyes. It makes me uncomfortable. Like I said I will do it for small snippets of time but then will look away to here there and everywhere else… and then back to your face. I probably am not as bad as I make it sound… but I do not constantly stare into someone’s face when talking. I don’t get HOW people do that. I think the uncomfortableness comes from feeling like I am looking INTO that person when I look into their eyes… into their SOUL if you will… “The Eyes are the window to your soul” said Bill Shakespeare… O.O …yeah  it is freaky if you ask me. Am I the only one who feels this way? Hm. probably not…

So to the point…  today I was eating lunch with my co-workers and when I eat I take my glasses off to see my food. Yes I do. I’m serious. You see my glasses are for distances, near-sighted (I never understood why it was called that) and ever since I have started pushing fifty my prescription is so strong that I cannot see things that are close up when I have my glasses on (I know it doesn’t make sense… when I wear contact lenses I now have to wear reading glasses, go figure that one out) anyway… so I take my glasses off when I eat… so I was chatting with my friends and “BING BING BING! Ricochet Rabbit!” light goes on …I realized, “Hey I can stare at my friends faces and not look away!”…BECAUSE their faces are blurry!  and I am not uncomfortable staring at something I cannot focus on…STARE STARE STARE TALK TALK TALK STARE! JOY! It was an epiphany!  I always knew there was a reason, no matter how silly or stupid, that God made me near sighted. HA!

Yeah well, maybe that’s not why… but still it was cool being comfortable staring seeing beholding viewing gandering watching observing regarding …others for great lengths of time without looking away. Yeah. I will take my little silly joys whenever I can.

Oh and my co-workers laugh at me when I say, “Hold on, let me put my glasses on so I can hear you.” Yeah I say that. I cannot hear (very well) without my glasses on. Really.


“Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!” 1 Samuel 12:16

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Note to self: Never grocery shop during a fast….

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Ah Lent.  The time when Catholics moan, fret and freak out about what they have “given up” for Lent… how difficult it is to not eat chocolate or not drink coffee (or tea, or beer) and/or how cranky and miserable they are…  Then there are those who are rejoicing that they have made it through the first two days without falling off that wagon… oh the joy of being Catholic…

Day 3: Friday. For Lent this year I decided to do a liquid fast on Fridays: meaning, obviously, I can only drink my meals, not eat… so coffee is okay (I refuse to give that up… so yeah, that means maybe at some point I should)… for breakfast I made a milk shake with milk, a banana, peanut butter and a splash of hazelnut creamer zapped in the blender. Mmmm.  To work I brought V8 and fruit juice to drink. Yes I will drink drink drink all day (and go to the bathroom… a lot!)… but wait… when the sun sets and the Knights of Columbus’ fish fry commences at St Thomas Aquinas Parish I will FEAST! Yes I can…  because the fast will be over at sunset. So far so good at 11:00 AM… but just wait until everyone else is eating lunch next period…  O.o

Besides my liquid fasts on Friday I have been trying to learn how to pray the Ignatian Examen Prayer … though I realize I have been praying it to a small extent anyway… but this exercise I believe will bring me closer to God which is, of course, the whole point. By praying this I am recognizing God working in every aspect of my life and at all times. I am paying attention to his voice and reacting (thanking, praising Him).  I DO see Him working in my life, helping me, answering prayers and placing good people in my life at the right moment… to SEE that and to recognize Him in the moment… that is a blessing… at this time when I am still learning how to do my job and trying to remember everything… I know I really need him. I am blown away by his grace.

Another “thing” I am “doing” for Lent actually came upon me (Epiphany) in the grocery store (see I did not forget the topic/title of this blog!). On Wednesday… Ash Wednesday …ImageHahahaha (just HAVE to post this picture!)

there I was with ashes smeared into a cross on my forehead, holding two loaves of Italian bread under my arm, waiting my turn in the “20 items or less” line. So there are two cashiers, right? And the proper protocol for Market Basket “20 items or less” line Quequeing  is to form one line and wait for the next available cashier to call you… there was a man in a scooter cart in front of me and two women behind me. One of the women takes it upon herself to CUT in front of me and go to the farthest cashier (the cashier was not done with her customer yet, BTW). I am, of course in my sarcastic indignant way, THINKING (not saying) “Really?! Am I invisible again today?!” (for I swear at times I am invisible… must be my super power…yeah…  or no it must be that people just don’t see me … ha) …yeah I know, maybe she just didn’t know the proper protocol, maybe she was in a hurry… maybe it was an emergency, she just HAD to buy that cake right then or the whole world would explode… really it must have been that important…!!! Hm. …so me trying to be the good Catholic, not being the old obnoxious me freaking out (the sarcastic one in my head)… I say nothing…I give her the bennie of the doubt… but then, GET THIS, the other woman behind me starts to CUT in front of me too (WHA…?!) I started to laugh (oh my joyful crazy life!) and the woman turns around, realized she was cutting in front of me and said, “Sorry.” I laughed and said, “That’s okay, I realize now that I need to practice forgiveness this Lenten season.” hahahaha ( … yeah and patience.. but wait… don’t  EVER pray for patience… for God will teach you patience… by giving you something  or someone really difficult to deal with… sure I need to work on patience, especially during Lent… but I don’t PRAY for it anymore…I’m not that crazy…  but back to forgiveness….). I see (recognize!) by that instance that God is telling me to work on forgiving others….

And it seems that we (God and I) have already been working on this. I notice things now, little jabs and things said that are slightly mean/cruel/rude… things that I would normally be upset about… but now I stop myself, recognize it and say to myself, “I forgive them.” I make a conscious effort to not let it get me or eat at me. I forgive because I know we are all imperfect and we all need forgiveness. …and  by forgiving others for what they say it also makes me think about what I say to others that they may have to forgive me for.  I now watch what I say…yeah well… I am still working on that one…

So there… for Lent I am fasting on Fridays and forgiving … friends (I had to add the “friends” …some good alliteration there!)

Oh and I had thought about going grocery shopping today (I normally go on Fridays) but decided that grocery shopping and fasting would be pretty darned dangerous….

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Perfect Joy

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Interesting that I decide to write about Franciscan “Perfect Joy” on a day that I feel melancholy and drained… for one thing I did not get enough sleep last night …. I was up until one o’clock reading The Examen Prayer.  Ignatian Wisdom for our Lives Today by Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV. I do not know why I could not fall asleep, but there I lay staring into blackness (well, actually I do not like to stare into the blackness of my bedroom because it’s creepy and I am still slightly afraid of the dark, especially in my creepy bedroom, but that topic is for another blog). And it was cold (I finally went and got another blanket because my room is as cold as a tomb… and creepy, but I said that already). So I prayed the only prayer I usually pray at night when I crawl into bed, “Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” …okay wait I do say other prayers with my kids when I put them to bed (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be and the St. Michael prayer) but when I climb in bed I just try to go to sleep. I think I just don’t “go out of my way” to say a whole slew of prayers before bed because I do my BIG praying in the morning (I spend 45 minutes praying, reading, journaling and praying the Liturgy of the Hours… I get up EARLY!)… so at night I really don’t do much… except that “Lord Jesus Christ…” prayer… nice and quick. So maybe that is why I was UP and AWAKE… God wants me to take time to EXAMEN my day… okay Lord, I get it. I will take time at night. Promise. Pinky swear… (did I just “pinkie swear with God?” O.o) anyway… I knew I would go off on several tangents that had nothing to do with “Perfect Joy”!!!

Oh and I also had a weird “disaster” type dream about California… I could SEE the state and there was black oozing oil type stuff coming up out of the ground, flooding the whole state (Texas Tea like from the Beverley Hill Billies)… it was disturbing… and who knows what it means? … so I get up in a weird melancholy mood. I got up at 8:30 to be ready for 10:30 mass (it is Sunday). I give myself enough time to pray, shower and eat my breakfast. First thing the husband says to me is, “We have no internet, they shut us off.” Great …not what I want to hear first thing in the morning. I need my prayer. I need my coffee. I sent them a check five days ago. Guess they hadn’t gotten it yet. Greeeaaat.

Then I remember what Laurel said to us at our Life Teen Core Team Meeting on Friday night. Next weekend is the tenth grade Walk to Emmaus retreat; this next week the devil will be attacking us…. O.o …funny (well, not funny ha ha) after that meeting Shannon and I were the first ones to our cars… her car alarm went off and took a while to shut off and my car door froze open…so I could NOT shut it properly. Nothing a prayer to St. Michael wouldn’t fix, but I immediately thought of the devil and how he thinks he’s so funny…already. 😛

Yeah so does it have to be this week?… I have five meetings this week and four of them are IEP meetings, for me, the NEWbie. I have been a long term substitute special education case coordinator for 12 days now… THROWN right into the midst of it all with LOADS of work to do (that I have never done before!)… funny my boss said, “Baptism by FIRE!” my first day on seeing me overwhelmed by all the information.  So TRUE! But God knows that A) I need this opportunity to get my foot in the door at the school I want to be working in (He had shut other doors so that I would be able to go through this one)… and B) I need to be thrown in to learn how to sink or swim. He knows my learning style and He knows I need to DO it to learn it. Well I AM doing just that, diving right in, trying to absorb as much as I can and trying to wrap my head around everything. It is a HARD job… but I feel God is with me (plus he gave me many awesome people at the school to help me) and He knows what I need so I just push forth. But still this will be a hard week; especially since the devil will be messing with me because I am part of the Walk to Emmaus retreat team (he does not like it when we try to help others, especially youth, in their faith journey).

Perfect Joy. Yes perfect JOY. Perfect joy is not when everything goes right. It is kind of the opposite… it is when everything goes wrong… but: you do not let it bother you, you are JOYOUS instead, even when everything is going wrong you remember: God is always with me. I have finally come to understand “Perfect Joy” along with the bible quote “Rejoice always pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.  Read that again. Slowly. “Rejoice always”… always… not just when good things happen, but ALWAYS. “Give thanks in all circumstances” … read that again. In all circumstances. ALWAYS again… NO matter what happens, good or bad… for it is the will of God~ For YOU.  So BE joyful. God is with you (Emmanuel!). God is working in your life. Things may not always seem to go your way… but they are going the way God wants them to. Relax, be patient. REJOICE. ALWAYS! When all hell is breaking lose …LAUGH. SMILE. Seriously. Experience Perfect Joy. Remember: Jesus knows what you need. Sometimes what you need is to learn it the hard way (like me and this job). By going through struggles and prevailing and enduring we become better people. It builds character and virtue.

This past fall (yes I am going off on a tangent) when I was in grad school and student teaching at the same time I was freaking out! I wanted to scream at the professor, “Why do we have to do so much work? Why do we have to do both at the same time? I cannot completely focus on student teaching well and writing papers for grad school at the same time! It’s too much pressure! It’s too hard! It’s ridiculous!” and I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, we all did. … Thing is: I did DO it. I endured! I completed student teaching and grad school (GPA 3.99, yeah I’m a slacker haha)! I did it! At the end of the course I had the option (yes the option) to write a paper on what I thought of the course. I could have expressed my frustrated opinion, I could have freaked out, but I didn’t. I actually thanked her (yes I did!) because by doing both difficult tasks at the same time I actually became a better person. And now that I am CRAZY BUSY at work, doing the job I prepared for in grad school, I am grateful for what she put us through. I am a better person! I am now prepared (well, not completely haha) for the insanity of special education. O.o

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This picture is from the movie The Flowers of Saint Francis. This scene is when Francis was explaining Perfect Joy to Bro. Leo (directed by Roberto Rossellini and co-written by Federico Fellini.)

So yeah Perfect Joy. Enduring with a smile. Being grateful to God for all things. Being thankful and accepting. Let me say that again. Accepting. Being peaceful. Joyful in all circumstances.Joyful. Joyful Joyful.

Don’t forget: “The joy of the Lord is your strength” Neh. 8:10

Perfect Joy keeps me going. Keeps me laughing at myself and all that is happening on my journey. OH and a pocket full of Saint medals helps too 😉

Oh… dagnabit… my button popped off my jeans… one of those that cannot be sewn back on… :-/ hm. Yeah funny. Real funny.

Hahahahahahahahaha…

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February 3, 2013 · 4:17 pm