Explore previous rambling installments here 🙂
Too much time gone by, too many thoughts to recount . . . oh, well, something is better than nothing!! July is ending and I’ve only made three posts this month?!
I’ve been pondering the task of stress management over the past few days. For a variety of God-given reasons, the past few months have contained the most mental/emotional stress I’ve personally experienced. (Which honestly isn’t saying too much in the grand scheme of things, I suppose, given the fact that I’ve lived a relatively happy and sheltered life 😉 ) Maybe that’s why I haven’t blogged so often recently . . . I’ve been too busy losing hair rather than writing (which might have actually helped me . . . )!
In observing myself, I’ve been honestly astonished at how easy it can be to become imprisoned inside my own feelings of stress and worry, to where simply feeling stressed makes me feel stressed simply because I’m stressed. (Isn’t that delightfully circular?!) Also, it’s been so easy to become so tired, and to lose motivation for combating my stress and anxiety, to where the stress simply becomes my very draining “norm.” However . . . I’ve recently realized that this isn’t sustainable. (*Cough*) Even with prayer! Even with a ton of prayer! I’m having to take physical steps to remedy this . . . so, you might ask, what’s a body to do?
I’ve committed to some relatively hard daily exercise (no surprise there), fresh air, hydration (because I never seem to subconsciously manage to drink enough fluids on a daily basis), limited sugar . . . but also enough time to read fiction (for reasons explained below), to listen to music that elevates my thoughts a little (at the moment, stirring ballet-like film soundtracks) and to ponder things in a reflective but calm frame of mind.
And I also came to an epiphany recently that accepting stress as part-and-parcel with becoming an adult, and acknowledging that stressful situations will regularly arise between now and the time of my death, is actually incredibly helpful. I’m not sure what was holding me back from that realization, but I’m sure glad it came when it did. Yes, this is stressful, but there are going to be stressful trials all throughout my life and God’s grace is sufficient for all of them if I do my part. These are Crosses (oh, right! Crosses!) that refine and purify and strengthen you, if you accept them and offer them back to God. Marriage and children, while sweetly and supremely beautiful and my heart’s dream, will still be incredibly stressful sometimes! (You have my permission to giggle at me.)
Fiction . . . Particularly, Sophia House. Good, true, beautiful (though not necessarily happy) fiction lifts you out of your pains, hopes and weaknesses . . . and yet simultaneously escorts you deeper into your pains, hopes and weaknesses. Truth is always ordering and healing. You are reminded you are not alone. You perceive your human condition, the continual presence of Providence and the necessity of supernatural hope, in the stories of others.
The act of reading good and true fiction . . . it ushers order back into my perspective of my own struggles and the struggles of others. Sophia House is one of the finest novels in existence. All of my children are going to read it one day (well, I hope so, anyway!) . . . and The Dash, too, if I can force him to ever read fiction, that is 😉
“Everything I do is worthless,” Pawel sobbed. “Even my play! My stupid, stupid play!”
S O P H I A H O U S E
The fact that we have a nicely cleared out piano/sitting room full of sunshine in which to read a book during the afternoons is quite consoling, also 😉
One of Lena and I’s close friends just passed through the Crucible on Parris Island and became a Marine. He didn’t merely survive; he excelled in it and was nearly named Iron Man of the whole company. Our happiness and pride are beyond words!
His mom texted a recording of their first conversation with him post-Crucible, and hearing his voice (for the first time in months) describe his experience of completing the Crucible, as well as hearing the changes and aging that had come into his voice across that gap of time, filled my heart with things impossible to express.
I’m slowly gearing up to tutor for the upcoming school year, and have also been immersed in a few more paid projects with deadlines that have kept me nicely busy–as well as provided me the thorough enjoyment of getting glimpses into the lives and hearts of others who are living out the vocation I desire 🙂 It’s been a blessing!
Okay, I can’t hold it back any longer . . . I have finally, finally, been able to attend Mass and go to Confession to a priest from the Fraternity of St. Peter. What a blessing!!! Lena and I would never embarrass them by gushing, but in private, they are absolute celebrities to us 😉 What a joy it’s been to watch this particular priest visit our parish and work in tandem with our wonderful parish priest for the past few weeks.
Yesterday marked a whole year since the first day The Dash and I really spent getting to know one another as new friends in the company of our families. At the end of it, I was decidedly smitten.
Remembering that day fills me with so much gratitude! It is such a joy to reminisce about all the things that went into that day, like swimming and volleyball games, dancing and having our first legitimate conversation together because we happened to be able to sit beside one another during lunch (a total coincidence of course, ahem . . .) 😉
God is so good. He is the source of every happiness and the only End towards which our hearts journey in sincerity and truth, and yet He loves us so much that He also sends us friends and companions to love and be loved by, to know and to be known by: to be a shadow and a mirror of His Divine and wholly generous love–to pursue Him in one another’s company, to grow in virtue together as members of His Body. Our Lord has such gentleness and patience with my weaknesses and it amazes me, how willing He is to watch over my feeble attempts at perfection and slowly guide me towards Him through the tiniest events in my life, through all my stumbles, and especially through this courtship: all of these, in ways I could never have expected. Few things are sweeter this side of Heaven than what The Dash and I have been given together in our friendship and courtship 🙂 Deo Gratias!
As a side note: it pains me that I don’t have any pictures from that day! However, on a whim, I just looked to see if I’d taken any pictures at all around that time . . . and sure enough, the day before that visit (if the picture is dated correctly . . .), I was out in the backyard, experimenting with my CANON and trying to get some of the sky to reflect in my subjects’ eyes for better light.
Anyway, I guess I eventually ran out of subjects and had to resort to taking awkward pictures of myself as I tried to master the technique. However funny the photo is, it’s still a documented photo of my face the day before . . . well, the day before I started falling in love with The Dash ❤
And this is me, just a couple of weeks ago, getting ready to go through a few training webinars and, meanwhile, sending The Dash (at work) a funny face as I attempted to express my nervousness of the Unknown World of Webinars . . . But happily, they were pretty fun; although not nearly so fun as having The Dash to send that picture to 😉
I pray you have a blessed Monday and a very happy feast of St. Apollinaris!