Monthly Archives: September 2014

Bliphany

autumn

Bliphany…. A combination of blog and epiphany … yeah I made up a new word. Nice.

On the eve of my 49th birthday, (a day that the old me would have celebrated with an abundant amount of beer ~Guinness preferably … and it being the last year of my 40’s… a reason worthy of celebrating… actually when I drank anything and everything was worthy of celebrating …) as I sat on the sidelines of a beautiful autumn evening tonight, watching my son’s football practice… I had an epiphany….

I now realize… the beer I had been consuming all those years was putting out the fire within me. It was numbing and distorting my faith journey. Inebriation was essentially keeping me from getting closer to Christ.

hm. yeah.

So as I step into the last year of my 40’s… I am ready for whatever is next… this awesome journey… grateful to be clean and sober. Empty with open hands. Ready to be filled with all God has for me.

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I Swear

arm around my shoulder Lord“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
Today probably is not the best day to blog… me being in a “mood” and all… but maybe actually since I am tackling the topic of swearing this is the perfect day to do such a thing. Mwuahahahahahaha… yeah it’s one of those days when I cannot shake that feeling of wanting to punch something… call it PMS …call it what you will… but if you tell me to “just change your attitude” or “turn that frown upside down” I will probably, as I said above, punch you. Yeah I know… not very Catholic… but you have been warned. Just saying.
The husband just did a very noble and wonderfully brave thing… handed me, his lovely wife, a coffee. Ah. Yes… thank you. I can squeeze out a smile for that.
I don’t remember… have I told you the story of how it took me three years to stop, well, er… decrease my use of profanity immensely? Yeah. I was a Boston Meter Maid for over 6 years back in the 1990’s and yes I was that obnoxious, foul-mouthed sarcastic Beee-otch. And yes I did probably give you that ticket, and no I don’t care the reason you parked like an idiot… haha. Sorry. I could write a whole book on my escapades … oh wait.. I did. Anyway… so yeah for over 6 years I was thrust into a life where I was sworn at on a daily basis… it was the norm to be called every horrific name in the book. We were supposed to “take it” and “let it roll off our backs.” Yeah. Riiight. I became quick-witted (snappy answers to stupid questions) and vulgarity was one of my many talents. Yes I was good at it.
Not sure when it dawned on me to STOP this ….wait … I remember now! I was living in Dorchester, Massachusetts over by Upham’s Corner-ish area (yes I lived near there!) and one afternoon I heard some young man outside my kitchen window swearing up a storm like it was nobody’s business. I thought, “Man he sounds like an ignorant fool!”… at that moment it dawned on me… I do that. I sound like that. Wow. Epiphany. Also this was around the time (the early 2000’s) when my little boys (who are not so little now, they are taller than me!) were small and I thought it was not such a good idea to drop the F bomb every other word around impressionable minds … so I TRIED really hard to actively stop swearing … and yes it took about three years.
Yes… I do still swear on occasion. I am not perfect … the old me rears her ugly head and out it comes … as if I have no control over her. Lord, hand over my mouth please for I cannot do this alone! So I try to use other words when I get upset and/or angry. The one I find the most satisfying is “Crap.” Yeah I know… not that much better than his brother the “sh” word… but it is better. And it reminds me of one of my favorite and misunderstood super heroes Hellboy.

Hellboy craphellboy_09_01_low

And yes Hellboy is Catholic.

A demon raised Catholic, trying to do good deeds… but  persecuted and misunderstood. Love him.
So yeah I try to use other words… TRY. And I pray. Definitely need to pray to curb my tongue.
But back to swearing… as you probably have seen and heard… especially if you work in a place like I do (a high school) where swearing is unfortunately the “norm” … swearing has not decreased… it has increased substantially. It is as if people need to UP the shock value on everything they do. Because of this mentality it is now “okay” to swear and it is even encouraged in some circles. I can no longer watch rated R comedies any more… ugh!

I remember arguing with my oldest son about swearing several years ago. (It was like banging my head against the wall hahaha). He said that it, profanity, was okay now and that it was not a bad thing anymore because it had become the norm. Swear words lost their stigma. I had to try to get him to understand that even though it seems to be normal now to throw the f bomb into every other sentence … using it as a verb, noun and an adjective, it is not a good thing at all… it is still a very BAD thing. It is taking the Lord’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7). I think I was talking on deaf ears… he is in his twenties and it is cool in his circles to swear … ugh. More prayer.

lie doesn't become truth
There was a woman I worked with years ago who LOVED to express her distress by saying, “Jesus Christ!”… and not in a good way… and she said it all the time! It bothered me… A LOT… I finally had it and told her it disturbed me. Probably the best way to deal with that expletive is to say, “Blessed be His name,” right after someone says it. That usually takes people back and makes them think and see that saying His name in a negative way is bothersome. WE as Christians need to make an effort to stop this denigration of our language. We need to bring the light of Christ to others and we need to TELL them when their language is offensive. Yeah it’s hard… and it makes us “not cool.” Oh well. DO it anyway! Do it anyway. Dagnabit …
So as I went through this day… trying not to let my mood influence my tongue (I mostly kept my mouth shut… haha) I must say I did a pretty good job… and I must say… that writing this down has kind of (kind of) brought me out of my “bad” mood. Joy.
“The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” Proverbs 8:13

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Wrestling with My Muse

woman_typing1

Yeah… riiiight… no that was not me this weekend ….. I have been crawling up the walls of my mind… wrestling with a stubborn poem that is reluctant to come out and just doesn’t know which way to spew … so after three days of editing and arguing with my muse I have come up with this… though it could change tomorrow…

Hollow Echoing Parchment

As on a breeze
she turns
flutters her eyelids and
words like wildflowers
bloom and spread                                 grasping
across the hollow echoing parchment
twisting like vines            verses
they curl reaching               beckoning ballads into empty hands
She sips sings sounds and they slip
tipped they spiral drunk                      down          into songs of savage soulful wading sonnets
Cracked black lines cut back
and indignant angry verses cross t’s, dot eyes              bare teeth                                                   Her eyes dark darting                             wide howling lonely windows
Stony-gray doll-like  stare back                                                                                                             Cursing looping words circle               circle                            circle down
drained until all uttered                      spit out               exhaled                  left vacant
All her tears             cylinders of want                            poesied and pregnant with rhyme
topple
one by one                                                                                                                                                  into the deafening silence of the vacuous white

muse

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My Zeal Gets Me in Trouble

zeal

Merriam-Webster’s definition of zeal is: “a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes someone very eager or determined to do something.” I also like Dictionary.com’s definition: “enthusiastic diligence!” Passion is a perfect synonym for zeal. We, as Christians, are supposed to be zealous about our faith. Filled with the Holy Spirit, we are supposed to be witnesses and bring others to the faith. BUT, unfortunately, I fear that my zealousness can at times push people away. I have always been a zealous person, passionate about my beliefs and very vocal when I feel the need to be. I am also quite rebellious and, at times, obnoxious and in-your-face ….

Recently I prayed Lectio Divina with 1 Corinthians 13: 1-8 … you know… the one that is usually used at wedding:
“If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.”

At times I feel like my zeal for my faith makes me a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal to some people. Sure my Catholic friends (my “choir”) like what I say and do not see what I say/write in a negative way. But others, who are not (the “choir”) see/hear/read me as if I am some obnoxious, crazy, wacky, Christian zealot and even see me as some “holier than thou” jerk. This hurts, because I don’t mean to be that way. Of course, it is hard to “read” people online, in emails, on forums and social media. Things you say can be taken as rude or mean when they were not intended to be that way, so I do blame that medium to an extent. Sigh. I suppose I need to learn how to express myself in a way that is not obnoxious to those who are not card carrying members of the “choir.”

This will be a difficult task for rebellious, passionate me… When a thought comes upon me, or I am passionate about something (especially social justice issues) I need to express myself immediately. I feel at times like the prophet Jeremiah in yesterday’s first reading, “But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.” Jeremiah 20:9. I just have to say it and say it NOW… and out it comes, flying and flailing like a fire breathing dragon … ugh.

But I know, I know… we are called to be loving and kind …even with our zealousness. I need to corral my passion, smooth it out and make it more digestible (?)… As I always say: I am still learning how to be a good Catholic. I need to be patient (ugh) and kind … I need to learn to NOT be envious, boastful, arrogant, rude, irritable, resentful (obnoxious!) … this will all take a lot of hard work for me ~ to remember to “stop, think and control” myself (something I teach my high functioning autistic students at camp)! And I need to pray for God’s help… because Lord knows I cannot do this alone… mercy and grace, please, with an extra helping of GRACE piled high, Lord!

“ For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.” Titus 2:11-14

zeal 2
I love being zealous for the Lord…

just teach me how to NOT chase them away, Lord…

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