Tag Archives: prayer

Faith and Prayer: Part 4

St. Joseph Cathedral, Sioux Falls
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After I had completely finished with school, I moved back to my hometown and got my career underway.  Soon afterward, I got a letter from my high school choir director, who was also the choir director at the local Cathedral.  The Bishop was commissioning a new all-male choir, and the members would be assembled by invitation.  I was proud that apparently my skills were enough to warrant my consideration.  unfortunately, I was working a God-awful 1pm to 10pm shift, and would never be able to make it to practice on time.  So the charter members of the Sioux Falls St. Joseph Cathedral Schola did not include me.

It was shortly after this time that I would meet the woman who would eventually become my Lovely Wife.  I guess we’ll call here Lovely Girlfriend for now.  Much to the consternation of my mother, Lovely Girlfriend was not Catholic, but rather Lutheran.  As we dated we both attended each other’s services at one time or another.  We dated for a while until she broke up with me.  I was a little confused, but I think it had a little to do with my living arrangements (yes, I had moved back in with my parents for awhile).  In the mean time, I met and began hanging out with another girl, who in our household is now sometimes facetiously referred to as She Who Shall Not Be Named (Lovely Wife doesn’t like to think about this time period).  SWSNBN was also very straight forward about her faith, which we openly discussed.  I also attended church services with her on occasion, at the Reformed Church of America in her home town.  One night, SWSNBN had agreed to meet with her ex for dinner one night.  Feeling that I didn’t really have a say in this (as we weren’t officially “dating”), I didn’t ask her not to go, but inside I was stressing out considerably.  So confused, that night I threw out the rote prayers of my Catholic background and pleaded with God to let me know what I was supposed to be doing here.  When Jesus met the blind man on the road to Emmaus, and asked “What do you want me to do?” the answer was “Lord, that I may have my sight.”  While he was looking for a return of his physical sight, I just wanted some insight on my future.  Did it involve Lovely Girlfriend?  SWSNBN?  Someone else?  I loved them both, but as it looked, to me it seemed that I would end up with neither.  Lord, that I may have my sight.

As it turns out, I did get back together with Lovely Girlfriend, who would become Lovely Fiance and eventually Lovely Wife.  I don’t forget the lesson that is often put “Let go and let God,” but there are still sometimes that I think over and over Lord, that I may have my sight.

Lovely Wife would go through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) classes to become Catholic, with me as her sponsor.  Although the question wasn’t completely settled, we thought it was best to at least start out on the same page.  In the meantime, I attended Bible studies with her, at first with a group from her Lutheran church, and later with a group from her best friend’s Methodist church.  I learned a great deal about my faith from attending these Bible studies and RCIA classes.

It was also around this time that I ran into my choir director, who assured me that “The invitation is still open,” for me to join the group.  Having a more amenable work schedule at this time, I excitedly accepted the invitation.  The music that we sang was incredible.  It was a mix of contemporary hymns, classical pieces (some of my favorites being 16th century polyphony) but perhaps most distinguishable, the Schola specialized in plainchant from the Pius X hymnal.  The music moved me, and gave me the feeling that I was ministering to others in my own way.

Coming in Part 5: Pain, questioning, and another reveal.

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I may have over-promised

I have learned that a crucial element of my depression is my energy level.  The less energy that I have, the more down I get and the more anxiety that I have.  Sometimes I try to combat this with coffee or SodaStream Energy, but ingesting large amounts of caffeine is not so good with somebody with high blood pressure.

Which brought me to Sunday night.  With two little ones and Christmas coming up, our house looks like it has been hit with several tornadoes.  Having a lot of energy, but wanting to just have fun on the weekend, I told Lovely Wife that I would clean the entire house in the next few days.  My exact words, in fact, were “If I’m not done by Wednesday night, you can literally flog me with a wooden spoon.”  She seemed pretty accepting and excited about this.  Whether that was due to a clean house or the anticipation of a flogging, I do not know.

Unfortunately, Sunday night into Monday morning I just could not get to sleep.  It was like my body was playing a cruel trick on me.   I told Lovely Wife as much yesterday morning.  She didn’t seem all that concerned, as I still had two days to make good on my pledge.  I laid low yesterday, my mood wasn’t too shabby.  I went to bed early.

Then I woke up today.  Let me just say that housework is high on my list of Things I Do Not Like To Do.  I honestly don’t mind the cleaning part.  I can spray, scrub, vacuum, whatever.  Even toilets.  But clutter just turns my anxiety knob to 11.  I hate picking things up, because I don’t know what to do with them!  If I didn’t have this problem, there wouldn’t be toys and clothes and papers and all manner of other things strewn about.  And dishes!  Argh!  When I said that I don’t mind cleaning things, I meant I don’t mind cleaning things other than dishes! And this is even despite the fact we have a dishwasher!  ARGH!

Mello, mellow, mellow.

Wooden Spoon 1909, University of Cambridge

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Even with an early bed time last night, I woke up this morning with not a lot of energy.  Mood: down.  Anxiety: up.  So here I am on the Tuesday downhill, and I am still just looking at things and fretting.  I was hoping that blogging my conundrum would help me get motivated.

Please pray for my posterior.  It may have an appointment with a wooden spoon tomorrow.

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Mindfulness, Meditation, Prayer, and Faith: Part 1

I have been determined to add this post to help explain my spiritual/religious life and experiences, and how I am using them to help deal with my depression.

The only problem was that as I composed the post in my head, a problem arose:  I realized that it had the potential to become very verbose, meandering, and seemingly pointless.  Until the conclusion there would be many seemingly tangential meanderings and asides.   This would lead to me either submitting an incomplete exegesis or–more likely–completely boring you, the reader.

Therefore I have decided to split it into several posts, which will hopefully be illustrative of my journey without being overwhelming.

So where to start?  I guess with my background.  I was raised (and remain) Catholic.  I was educated in an Episcopal school followed by Catholic schools.  I grew up in a community that was overwhelmingly Lutheran and Catholic.  As you can imagine, my early faith was influenced by a highly liturgical and rote environment.  I (sincerely) believed.  Because I was told to do so.

Things opened up a little more when I went to High School.  A few things stood out to me.  As a Catholic at a Catholic school, I was required to have 1 religion class each semester for all four years (non-Catholics were only required to take religion courses for two years.)  That meant as an upperclassman I was able to choose elective religion courses.  I can specifically remember two that stuck out to me: Church history (explicitly a history of the Catholic church, but of course not complete without discussing other Christian denominations) and Ecumenism (fka Ecumenicalism, fka Comparative religions.)  The Ecumenism class was especially interesting considering that we delved not only into other denominations but also other religions entirely.  Unfortunately (?) it was not necessary for me to complete any extra credit projects in order to get an A.  Those projects were to visit a regular worship service to observe and then report.  I now wish that although it was not necessary for me, that I still had participated.  At the time I was particularly interested in attending Temple and a Unitarian Universalist services.

The other profound impact was in the form of my favorite teacher (and incidentally best–at any level), Sr. Jeanette.  Despite being relatively immobile (she had a hip replacement and rode around on an electric cart), Sr. Jeanette was by far the most intimidating teacher in school.  She just had an aura about her that demanded respect.  She also explicitly demanded respect.  There were no yeahs or nopes or uh-huhs or nuh-uhs in her class.  It was always “yes” or “no”, spoken clearly and with authority.  She seemed to some to be perpetually cross but if you played by her rules, she made it quite evident that she had a heart of gold.

Perhaps most importantly (in regards to my faith, that is) was not how she taught but what she taught: chemistry and physics.  She was brilliant and demanding.  I remember how she inexplicably called me to the board every day to work out chemistry problems on the board.  That was until I had memorized a sufficient amount of information from the periodic table of elements.  Once I did, I was no longer called with as much frequency.  Ah.  Anyway, the most important thing that she taught me was that religion and science could indeed intersect.  Despite her scientific knowledge, she had what appeared to me to be a very strong and unshakable faith.  She retired from teaching after my senior year, and passed away a couple of years later.  I still miss her.

But that intersection of faith and religion helped me formulate my go to thought during a crisis of faith (indeed they would come and continue from time to time).  I realized that there are two paradoxes that science could never rationally explain to me in a rational and physical language.  The first: the universe is either finite or infinite.  Either are equally confounding.  One could say that because there is theoretically a multiverse, than the idea of a universe as being finite makes sense.  OK, but then is there a finite or infinite number of universes?  The other paradox is equally perplexing: either there was a beginning for everything, or something always existed.  At the very core of matter might be nothing but energy, but according to the laws of physics we cannot create matter, and we cannot create energy (only transmit it in a different form).

The only reasonable explanation for me was a creator.

Part 2 will consist of: College, Contemplating the Priesthood, and Further Spiritual Exploration.

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A short post today

I promised a post a few days ago that I haven’t made good on yet…today isn’t any different.  Wanted to share a couple of things though.

Tomorrow I will be going in for my third sugery in 12 months (I know!).  Last December I had two hernias fixed, in June a had a ruptured disc taken care of, and tomorrow I will be fixing another hernia.  This one isn’t as big, but it really seems to HURT more than the others.  Pretty “simple” procedure though really, when you consider…

…my bmom’s hubby is currently having a liver transplant surgery.  Yesterday must have been a whirlwind for them–Mom sent out an email to her siblings and me on his status as of yesterday.  Then my sister posted on facebook that they got a call saying a liver was available.  Then…it didn’t pan out.  Back to waiting.  Then…a second one became available not long after.  All in one night.

If you are the praying type (as I am), please pray for a smooth sugery and speedy recovery.

One other prayer request–a lot of times a donor can give a portion of their liver for transplant.  This is not one of those cases–a full transplant was requried.  Please say a prayer of support to the undoubtably grieving donor’s loved ones.  Pray they take comfort in knowing that part of their loved one lives on and is sustaining the life of another.

Also, if you wish to be an organ donor, please make those wishes known to your loved ones.

 

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