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
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.