Woman at Home Daybook :: Vol. 9

Daybook

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This day in the Liturgical Year . . .

Friday, October 5th, 2018 A.D. It’s the First Friday of the month; feast of St. Placid and Companions, Martyrs; in the New Calendar, feast of St. Faustina (my Confirmation Patron). From Butler: {Placid} had scarcely completed his twenty-first year when he was selected to establish a monastery in Sicily upon some estates which had been given by his father to St. Benedict. He spent four years in building his monastery, and the fifth had not elapsed before an inroad of barbarians burned everything to the ground, and put to a lingering death not only St. Placid and thirty monks who had joined him, but also his two brothers, Eutychius and Victorinus, and his holy sister Flavia, who had come to visit him.”

From St. Faustina: “My Lord and Creator, Your goodness encourages me to converse with You. Your mercy abolishes the chasm which separates the Creator from the creature. To converse with You, O Lord, is the delight of my heart. In You I find everything that my heart could desire. Here Your light illumines my mind, enabling it to know You more and more deeply. Here streams of graces flow down upon my heart. Here my soul draws eternal life. O my Lord and Creator, You alone, beyond all these gifts, give Your own self to me and unite Yourself intimately with Your miserable creature.”

Outside my window . . .

Happy afternoon sunshine: one of my favorite things 🙂

Sounds throughout the house . . .

Things are almost completely quiet right now. Everyone is reading, writing, or doing something restful. (Earlier on, though, Lena and I were gleefully celebrating the release of Burn The Ships . . .)

I am wearing . . .

A navy blue, elbow-length cotton blouse; a white tank underneath; the one and only skirt I’ve sewn, a three-tiered survival of my underdeveloped sewing skills in multiple patterns of yellow. I haven’t worn it in forever but felt spontaneous today!

skirt
Yes, sometimes one side of my hair is curlier than the other . . . a mystery of life.

Attempts in the kitchen . . .

I hear that something called “skillet lasagna” is on the menu . . . we’ve never had it before but it sounds immensely promising . . . As for myself, no new attempts in the kitchen. Well, I steamed rice yesterday without ruining anything. Aren’t I savvy?

A note on projects . . .

Well . . . at the start of the week, I’d made some great progress on that old story from my teens. Since then, I’ve done nothing. Zilch.

I really need to force myself to keep going or else I’ll lose steam altogether. Right after this blog post . . .

I am reading . . .

A random assortment of ponderous things today; articles from Fr. Z and Crisis Magazine, and more of O’Brien’s Potter book.

book

A particularly resonant passage from the latter:

“As the Christian churches lose their evangelical strength [my penciled note: evangelical strength = orthodoxy & liturgy], the allurement of preternatural and supernatural phenomena will continue to displace the world of the sacred transcendent. Traditionally, the signs, sacraments and rituals of the Christian world were among the primary means of encountering God, and a way for man to find his place in the hierarchy of creation . . .”

That last statement made me think so much of sacred liturgy, particularly ad orientem worship and the Latin Mass. Ad orientem speaks with immense clarity and strength of that hierarchy of creation.

Contemplating authentic femininity . . .

Last night, The Dash took Lena and I to an on-campus lecture, given by Dr. Rosalind Picard, on the topic of “Artificial Intelligence, Emotion and Humanity.” It was even more interesting and enjoyable than I expected it to be (and I’d already been expecting it to be great!). Lena commented on how her natural femininity enhanced the subject she presented on; she was intelligent and caring, with a wise perspective on AI that I could both appreciate and agree with.

Does authentic femininity include a mandatory love of chocolate? I know it’s subjective, but . . . after walking around the nighttime campus with The Dash post-lecture (it was so much fun to see all his haunts!), the chocolate shakes he bought us from Arby’s were about as heavenly as anything orally consumable is. I think I made enough initial sounds to provoke The Dash’s doubtful question: “Is it really that good?”

On living the Faith . . .

On Sunday the 7th, I’m renewing my yearly Total Consecration. Today, thanks to my Guardian Angel, no doubt, I came across a chain bracelet, specifically made by the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for those who totally consecrate to Our Lady . . . I ordered one and am really looking forward to it coming in. Truly, I need the reminder that everything I am and have is hers. It is so easy for my weak and silly heart to forget.

Also, since tonight we have a Low Mass for First Friday, and I’m endeavoring to begin the devotion in earnest, I listened to Fr. Ripperger’s sermon at Sensus Traditionis (the website has undergone a very nice makeover recently, by the way!) on the Sacred Heart (it’s #5). I highly recommend it for today . . . don’t forget it’s PenanceWare 😉

Prayerfully . . .

Praying for various intentions, most of all for the grace to renew well on Sunday and to do God’s Will in all things ❤

Sig

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A mammoth October daybook in which I catch up on things at great length (Woman at Home Daybook :: Vol. 7)

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Read previous installments here 🙂

This day in the Liturgical Year . . .

Monday, October 1st, 2018 A.D. Commemoration of St. Remigius, Bishop and Confessor. From Butler’s Lives of the Saints: “At the age of twenty-two, in spite of the canons and of his own reluctance, he was acclaimed Archbishop of Rheims. He was unusually tall, his face impressed with blended majesty and serenity, his bearing gentle, humble and retiring. He was learned and eloquent, and had the gift of miracles. His pity and charity were boundless, and in toil he knew no weariness . . . The South of France was in the hands of Arians, and the pagan Franks were wresting the North from the Romans. St. Remigius confronted Clovis, their king, and converted him and baptized him at Christmas, in 496. With him he gained the whole Frank nation. He threw down the idol altars, built churches and appointed bishops. He withstood and silenced the Arians, and converted so many that he left France a Catholic kingdom . . . He died in 533, after an episcopate of seventy-four years.”

St. Remigius, pray for us; pray that God would send us good and holy bishops!

It’s also the eighth day of the St. Therese novena (if one is leading up to her Old Calendar feast on the 3rd), and the twenty-eighth day of my renewal of Total Consecration . . . which I’ve been very imperfect in doing, honestly, but am trying to press forward with better commitment.

Outside my window . . .

Somewhat overcast. We had beautiful blue skies yesterday, perfect for Sunday, following a week of torrential rain. Today isn’t quite so blue . . . but no rain, at least!

The leaves are slooowly being convinced to abandon green. The temperature is not yet convinced to drop, alas . . .

Also . . . this is such a girlish thing, but The Dash and I have not gone out for any intentional couple photos since March of this year. March! It’s killing me!! Those were our six-month photos, but it’s just been too hot and unappealing to have another round since then. As soon as things turn blissfully autumnal, I am intent on spending a day getting pictures with him somewhere picturesque and romantic 😉

Sounds throughout the house . . .

Right now, I’m listening to the soundtrack for North & South by Martin Phipps. I love its wistfulness and romance!

Through the walls, I hear my brother playing guitar; lunch break has just settled in here 🙂

The air conditioner running. When will my disconsolate spirits be eased by the coming of cold temperatures? 😉

Time has passed since I started this post, and now I hear my brother’s and mother’s quiet voices . . . more school. This school year has entailed a pretty hefty load for the last two students left in our family!

Cabinets being shut, dishes clattering . . . not sure why . . .

Upon a quick venture downstairs, I’ve discovered Lena and our youngest sister are making apple muffins. I approve of that 😉

I am wearing . . .

A light-gray top (cap sleeves, with a cute kind of miniature turtleneck), the softest blue denim capris I’ve ever worn (they’re like butter!), a black ponytail on my wrist, light makeup.

Oh, and speaking of makeup . . . recently I did something that probably no one else notices, but I’ve really enjoyed; that is, I stopped wearing eyeliner 99% of the time. It wasn’t that I was wearing an inordinate amount (it was pencil and a charcoal/gray/blue color, so not even very dark, and I wore it to just enhance) but I came to a crossroads of being just tired of putting it on, and wanting to lean towards a more natural look for most occasions. I kind of wanted to follow the muse, What am I realistically going to wear as a wife and mom?

makeup

Honestly, I’ve loved not putting it on and having a slightly fresher look for my face, while still feeling put-together and dressed in the way a small amount of makeup does for me.

I think I would still wear a little eyeliner for special pictures or really dressy occasions, but most of the time now, it’s off.

Attempts in the kitchen . . .

Well, Saturday I made cornbread muffins from scratch! I don’t recall having done that before. We were having a potluck dinner dance that night at our parish, so I pulled an apron on over my dance attire (it was a Southern barn dance theme, so yellow plaid for me) and threw together a recipe Mom had found. I was hot, but it was fun, and I was proud in that classic girl-who’s-just-made-muffins way.

A note on projects . . .

So, the Rooted & Grounded in Charity post series has finally wrapped up! Honestly, I hadn’t intended for that to be my last post, but I ran out of September and so therefore, the last post it became 😉 I thoroughly enjoyed it, but find myself excited to return to normal blogging, too. There are so many random little things I can post about now . . . although, of course, courtship inspiration material is never-ending, and may appear here at any time . . .

Teaching at co-op is going well so far this year! I adore the kids (they are so precious, and to have some of them recognize me and come up to me outside of co-op just melts my heart!), and as any sanguine would, I enjoy getting out and seeing so many families; even the 70-mile round trip of driving is fun (especially when every song that’s special to The Dash and I’s relationship is streaming through Bluetooth on an intentionally crafted Spotify playlist . . .). Granted, being the homebody that I am, I’m more than happy with the fact it’s just once a week . . . but it’s still delightful. I finished planning for tomorrow’s class a few hours ago. It’s hard to believe that tomorrow will end the first quarter! Quarter 2 will involve a lot of preparations for Advent presentations, which I’m thrilled about ❤

I’ve been journaling almost every day for the past few weeks. I haven’t done this consistently for what feels like so long, but I’ve made it part of my morning routine as a way of putting down everything on my mind . . . it’s so beneficial. Also, I journal in pencil . . . it takes some sort of mental pressure for perfection off of me, but I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.

In any event, it’s easy to journal when you have something so lovely like this hardbound piece of feminine perfection (subjectively speaking) which was discovered at Wal-Mart for $5:

journal

I recently cleaned out my inbox (that short phrase contains a gargantuan amount of inferred work), reorganized my folders, and caught up on at least 90% of my sadly neglected correspondence. That was so gratifying to get done!

In an attempt to not waste nearly all of my teenaged years, I’m attempting to re-write an old story . . . or, really, to just delve into it again and let it surprise me. Again, it’s in pencil. I was able to work on it both Friday and Saturday and am determined to keep at it, if only to email scenes to an interested cousin to whom I’ve promised installments at some point. The things we do for cousins.

Also, I rearranged my desk last week, putting my monitor on the left side and freeing up the right-hand desk space for writing (like it’s supposed to be, but occasionally I’ve changed it up for variety’s sake). It feels like a new work space and I love it!

desk

I am reading . . .

Ah! Last month, I read Crime & Punishment.

On a whim, I checked it out (on The Dash’s card . . ) when he, Lena and I were at a library one afternoon in August. It amazed me. The psychological depth of Raskolnikov, in particular, was beyond compelling, and the ending genuinely surprised me. It was pitiful, engrossing, morally instructive in a masterfully artful way. I’ve never read anything like it but would absolutely read it again, simply because the characters “lived” inside my mind in a way I haven’t experienced in a while.

Also, at the end of August I read By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride by Alice von Hildebrand – a birthday present. I devoured it in two or three days and I love it to pieces. I highlighted a passage from nearly every letter, and I think it would be a wonderful thing if every young woman hoping for marriage were able to read and absorb it. It edified me in so many small ways, and confirmed me in the joy and worth of the state of life I’m anticipating so eagerly.

“Union necessitates that the two persons remain fully themselves, clearly separate – yet bound to each other by “the golden chords of love.” A husband and wife who love each other become one, but in so doing, they don’t cease to remain fully themselves, two clearly distinct individuals. In fact, mysteriously, through loving union with each other they each find themselves and their own unique individuality in a new and deeper way.”

But currently, I’m still reading Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture by Michael D. O’Brien (deep and rich) and The Privilege of Being a Woman by von Hildebrand (also deep and rich). The Dash and I are reading the Book of Tobit (RSV) together. I’d love another novel, though . . . hmm, what about North and South?

Contemplating authentic femininity . . .

From The Privilege of Being a Woman:

The female psyche is more responsive to the personal than the impersonal. Women respond thus intuitively, without much deliberation, because they “feel” that persons rank infinitely higher than nonpersonal things . . . Edith Stein further claims that women are more interested in wholes than parts. Their minds do not dissect an object; they grasp it in totality . . . Because their minds and their hearts are closely related (their minds work best when animated by their hearts), their grasp of persons and objects does not fall into the traps which threaten specialists, who no longer see the forest because of the trees . . . {John Bartlett} expressed: “Woman are wiser than men because they know less but understand more.”

Courtship is such a tremendous blessing, and The Dash and I are unified on the path and timeline we believe God is asking of us, but it doesn’t make it always easy, or doesn’t prevent some weeks from feeling long and mundane . . . the past few weeks have had some great moments, but on the whole have been rather hard. That’s just part of life and is sanctifying if I approach it with the right disposition!

But it’s also thought-provoking . . .

Waiting to meet someone is incredibly hard, and I empathize so much with girls who are waiting to meet their future husband; I’m also learning that waiting to be able to move forward to betrothal and marriage (and all those large and small joys that come alongside them) with the person God has sent you is its own kind of Cross. This is when heroic love in little things is called for; St. Therese’s Little Way!

Things are rather intense on both sides of our courtship. The Dash has just a little over 2 months left until he graduates college (hallelujah!) and a huge slew of obligations containing, but not limited to, work and school and everything. My side is certainly less busy than his, although I’ve got duties and tasks of my own with teaching and family, helping out, writing . . . however, as a woman, my heart is operating under the  consciousness of everything that is challenging, hard, worrisome or time-consuming for myself and The Dash, at the same time.

Like the quote above expresses, I find myself instinctively grasping things in totality. The totality of The Dash and I’s current spot in our relationship; the totality of how this is an intensely demanding season of life for him and my wishing I could help somehow, even in ways that I can’t; the totality of feeling and caring and thinking about it and all of its tangents . . .

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One night, my youngest sister was trying to instruct me on how to take a “natural” selfie. We figured out that I just needed to open my mouth, since apparently I talk enough to render that my “natural” look . . .

Right now, some things are really hard; some things are simply part of the daily grind; some things bring joy; some things require perseverance. As a woman, I sense and feel and carry these things in a very distinct way; one that God intended from the beginning of time. Courtship awakened this deep aspect of femininity in my heart in a way I hadn’t experienced until now. And that’s what I would want to try and find the words for, for any lovely and faithful young woman who’s waiting to meet the man she will love and is struggling to remain brave. Her womanhood is going to make love a beautiful cross. Her love, her courtship, is going to start asking her to become an adult, a woman. Instinctively, her heart is going to carry the totality of things without much compartmentalization . . . which is a dazzling gift, and yet can be very heavy.

It’s a lot sometimes 🙂 But . . . it’s the privilege of being a woman. And I am so very grateful.

On living the Faith . . .

Daily Mass stream; fighting the daily interior battle for faithful prayer; coming close to completing my yearly renewal of Total Consecration, but having been totally humbled by how patchy my efforts have been; picking up Lives of the Saints for today’s post and knowing I should read from it daily; trying to live virtuously and humbly rely on God for the strength to do anything virtuous at all. Sometimes it is so hard to do the smallest things well. Often, it is so easy for me to be lazy about praying. But we can only begin again today.

Our parish is going to start offering an evening Low Mass on First Fridays; I am so excited to have the opportunity to be able to attend First Friday and First Saturday Masses, back-to-back, at “home”!

Yesterday’s Mass was That Mass at which all the littles in the congregation had their turn for a meltdown, with that muffled chorus of outraged screams emanating from the narthex that doubles as a cry room. Although their dear parents might have found it a tad stressful, I couldn’t stop smiling at the sounds of our community: a community bursting at the seams with new life and lovingly accepting the noisy, messy beauty of its youngest generation. If I’m blessed with children one day, I have no doubt they’ll join the ranks of screamers (on occasion).

Prayerfully . . .

So many things on my heart to pray for, but especially for a friend who very recently suffered a tragic loss. Your prayers for the repose of a certain soul and the comfort of a family would be so appreciated.

And we are embarking on the month of the most holy Rosary! It seems the perfect time to post a prayer, long ago prescribed by Pope Leo XIII for the month of October, after the recitation of the Rosary:

To thee, O blessed Joseph, do we have recourse in our tribulation, and having implored the help of thy thrice-holy Spouse, we confidently invoke thy patronage also. By that charity wherewith thou wast united to the immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly affection with which thou didst embrace the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray, that thou wouldst look graciously upon the inheritance which Jesus Christ hath purchased by His Blood, and assist us in our needs by thy power and strength.

Most watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, protect the chosen people of Jesus Christ; keep far from us, most loving father, all blight of error and corruption: mercifully assist us from heaven, most mighty defender, in this our conflict with the powers of darkness; and, even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the supreme peril of His life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity; keep us one and all under thy continual protection, that we may be supported by thine example and thine assistance, may be enabled to lead a holy life, die a happy death and come at last to the possession of everlasting blessedness in heaven. Amen.

Sig

Rooted & Grounded in Charity, Vol. 9: Unity of mind

Charity

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Unity of mind: that deeply peaceful place where two people hold the same virtues as necessary, the same principles as foundational for living, the same Faith as the only truth.

It doesn’t mean they agree on absolutely everything (whether the Christian chick flick I watched last week has any value whatsoever; whether film soundtrack tunes can double for exercise music . . .); but they agree on every absolute.

If there were one thing I could pick as being that one thing I hold most highly in our courtship, it would be unity of mind.

Courtship is a journey

In certain sense, courtship is, at first, precisely a journey to discover if you have solid unity of mind with another person. If you can’t find enough of it, then it’s inestimably better that you move on.

You can have everything else: mutual love and attraction, happiness with one another . . . but if you aren’t continually discovering (or able to healthily achieve) a natural unity of mind, then there’s no lasting foundation, and this lack of foundation will only hurt both people later on.

If and once you discover this unity of mind, though, then courtship transforms into a journey of deepening and developing it: filling it with your complementary but usually very different perspectives and experiences, and strengthening it through the willingness to have constructive conversations through disagreement, and, in the words of Jordan Peterson, to “assume the person you’re talking to knows something you don’t.” It’s a challenging but beautiful journey, and so very rewarding!

Answering a few questions . . .

Sometimes I get the question of how The Dash and I hold one another accountable in our courtship, or how we work on differences in communication skills. There are so many miniature answers and all sorts of details we could both expound on. The main answer to both, however, could possibly boil down to We act in our unity of mind, or we seek to strengthen it in some way.

Unity in accountability

Take accountability, for example. If this kind of question is focused on things such as our physical boundaries, I usually have to pause and think… Accountable?

Of course, because of concupiscence, purity and chastity are a struggle for every human being to some extent. So I would never deny that I have my own temptations to struggle against and pray for grace to overcome in relation to our courtship!

However, one of the very first things The Dash and I established together in our courtship were our physical boundaries–so, really, these boundaries are one of our oldest expressions of unity of mind as a courting couple. We set them, not trying to please others, but simply trying to do the right thing. We mentally and heartfeltly agreed that it was so.

Later on, our understanding of what we’d chosen would be buoyed by Fr. Ripperger, but our unity of mind concerning our physical boundaries has been there from the beginning. Our mutual choice for chaperones (who help us to not be too intimately alone together without some kind of accountability) also arose from our unity of mind. But even regardless of our chaperones, more than anything else, that’s what holds us accountable to our boundaries: our belief that they’re right; our unity of mind.

After all, the alternative is just for me to go to The Dash and say, “I’m so tired of this! Why can’t we just go ahead and [hold hands, or something similar]?” (Which, naturally, I don’t plan on doing! 🙂 ) To which he would probably ask something like, “Well, how can that potential change still align with our principle?”

At this point, neither of us can find a good rational and moral reason to alter our physical boundaries; we possess unity of mind in them. Neither of us drags our heels against what we’ve decided to do. The necessity of a stronger presence of accountability measures between us would probably indicate that we weren’t so unified in mind.

Unity in communication

And in terms of working on our ever-present differences in communication skills, what helps is that we have (you guessed it!) unity of mind in that we should listen, be honest, and ensure our communication is always a means to the end of better harmony of mind and of good decision-making. It’s often a challenge, but we both know an imperfect try is far better than no try at all!

Whether one of us is really wanting to have some set-aside time to talk about heavier stuff, or one of us is tired and doesn’t feel equipped to talk a bunch; whether we’re having a day that keeps us laughing, or one/both of us are feeling low and are trying to figure out how to talk about something potentially confrontational or disappointing . . . every day is different, but it is such a help to have unity of mind in that we need to be honest with each other, we need to talk about the hard stuff if it’s there, and we need to pray together and try and find joy in things. That is our mutual expectation with one another in trying to communicate, and I think it helps more than anything.

Why is unity of mind so important in courtship?

Well, courtship is hopeful discernment and early preparation for marriage. Marriage is one of the most beautiful and holy mysteries of unity Our Lord ordained for mankind. To intentionally focus on seeking out and, God-willing, growing in unity of mind as you walk down the path of courtship towards betrothal and marriage–well, it brings peace, order, life and joy to your relationship, and surely prepares you better for marriage than the opposite would!

How do you discover whether or not you have unity of mind? Now, needless to say, this discovery should certainly begin in friendship, before courtship comes into the mix (in other words, you should have some solid reasons to be hopeful about the person you’re wanting to court!!), but courtship, by its very nature, puts a much stronger focus on exploring and developing unity of mind. How to do this? A sanguine’s response: Talk! Talk about the important topics and issues of marriage and family life, and of life in general. Read or listen to related materials; share your honest opinions on them. Be honest and open; listen. Observe one another and see if your spoken beliefs translates into your actions.

A while back, I posted a “topic list” that The Dash and I hit during the first month or two of our courtship . . . it’s in no particular order and isn’t exhaustive, but it was very helpful and laid out an initial path for us to explore where we were unified.

  • Handling finances
  • Openness to life
  • Marriage/healthy family structure/traditional spousal roles
  • Homeschooling styles
  • Healthcare views
  • The spiritual life
  • Liturgy
  • Corporal punishment/raising children
  • Our past experiences of family/relationships
  • Our temperaments and how we react to things
  • What makes us angry
  • What makes us happy
  • Family traditions
  • Our interests
  • Communication skills and weaknesses

Praise God, we had good results 😉

In closing, don’t underestimate the beauty and necessity of an ever-growing unity of mind during courtship . . . it’s the surest way to obtaining unity of heart, and it brings a particular peace, strength and joy that no other aspect of one’s relationship can provide.

Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell in unity. Like the precious ointment on the head, that ran down upon the beard, the beard of Aaron, Which ran down to the skirt of his garment: As the dew of Hermon, which descendeth upon mount Sion. For there the Lord hath commandeth blessing, and life for evermore.

PSALM 132

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Sig

Rooted & Grounded in Charity, Vol. 8: What I wish I’d done earlier in courtship

Charity

JMJ1

Perfection.

It’s a beautiful thing . . .

Unfortunately, it’s not me.

One distinct lesson I’ve absorbed over the past few years is that, to varying degrees, most people (including me) care about what other people think of them . . . and yet caring too much is a recipe for nothing other than interior pain and confusion.

Holiness, in fact, lies along the path of losing one’s inordinate fear of human respect. It lies along the path of humble honesty and charity; a lack of duplicity.

And yet I’ve grown up a people pleaser. I’ve liked to be thought well of. Of course, I’ve tried not to be egotistical and to cultivate humility instead, but my temperament in particular is one that likes to entertain and cheer, and yet is non-confrontational; one that is more naturally supportive and doesn’t like to ask much; one that likes to please others, if possible, just for the sake of pleasing them.

I like to be liked. I like to be thought of as sweet-tempered and generous. Certain people may relate more strongly to this than others, but for me, it’s entirely true.

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In the kitchen, back in fall 2016

For my temperament, I’m aware these tendencies can sprout beautiful virtues if I use them correctly. If they become inordinate, however, they choke my abilities to be honest.

Which is not good . . . and has happened plenty of times. Including (or should I say, especially) in courtship.

Being a woman means . . .

. . . being miraculously, mysteriously complicated. Especially when you’re courting.

I know that, for myself, it’s been so very tempting, so many times, to want to be “that perfect girl” who is an angel to her Prince Charming, as if somehow this can be only accomplished by never really expressing that I’m upset, hurt, anxious, or confused because of something he or someone else has said or done, or of a situation we find ourselves in. I think it’s part temperamental weakness, part pride.

Earlier on in our courtship, nearly every time I found myself feeling upset, anxious or disappointed about something in the context of our relationship, I convinced myself (because of my fear of confrontation itself) that I was supposed to ignore those feelings and “be selfless.” This was never demanded of me (quite the opposite!)–rather, I was demanding it of myself. I was loath, LOATH to talk about these kinds of emotions. I was downright afraid of disagreeing or expressing the fact I didn’t like a particular decision or overall situation. I wasn’t terrified of The Dash. I was just terrified of being honest about unpleasant things. The Dash would sometimes have to literally pry it out of me, poor guy.

The only problem was that I would convince myself out of feeling a certain way, communicate that I was fine, and then later on usually have to go and cry somewhere without really understanding why.

In The Privilege of Being a Woman, Alice von Hildebrand writes quite truthfully:

Because of “the meld of heart and mind” which characterizes women, they are more likely to be wounded than men, whose power of abstraction often shields them from negative feelings. Women have much less control over their emotions; they usually have a greater sensitivity, they are more intuitive. Their bodies are mirrors of their psyche and seem to be more closely connected than in men.

In any relationship, there is a difference between being mature and being a machine. Of course, you don’t want to be the one who’s self-centered, always complaining, always crying, always voicing their opinion without any filter whatsoever. You want to be a virtuous and strong woman! But there is a real difference between calmly, honestly expressing and discerning one’s emotions (by which I mean negative emotions), and just stifling them for the sake of being “selfless,” “humble,” or “liked.”

A serious error I’ve made time and again in both of my courtships, but one I’m working to slowly grow out of, is that of emotional dishonesty, because of my fear of possible conflict, disagreement, or even hurt. It’s caused me more distress and anxiety than I needed to bear. It’s caused communication difficulties that need not have happened. It’s possibly extended painful and confusing situations in our courtship. And no one has made me do it other than myself and, when it comes to it, my lack of courage and my fear of human respect.

In courtship, emotional honesty is essential. It sounds so dumb and basic to say, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s very hard for some temperaments and personalities, depending on the situation.

At the start of a courtship, I think it’s hard to fully realize (although you intellectually acknowledge it) that both you and your young man are imperfect, are very different (just by being a man and woman! Men are so different!!!), are going to have misunderstandings and miscommunications, etc. and that you’re going to have grit your teeth a little (or a lot) and work through these things.

(I hear married couples laughing everywhere.)

But it happens.

Women need men whose mission is to help them channel their emotions, to distinguish between those that are valid and those that are tainted by irrationality, those which are legitimate and those which are illegitimate.

The Privilege of Being a Woman

Let’s be honest; sometimes I really, really don’t like to be the one with a legitimate negative emotion. It’s embarrassing. It makes me feel weak to feel upset, confused, or stressed when The Dash is cruising along more or less calmly, considerably less emotional than I, in large part because he’s a man and that’s part of his nature. This is where the rubber meets the road of me humbly accepting my feminine identity: my meld of mind and heart that makes me more emotional than The Dash.

The Dash, of course, isn’t playing the role of a counselor, but he is my loyal companion and friend–not to mention, God-willing, my future spouse and the future head of our family. His essential masculine gifts are intended to bless our courtship, to bless my womanhood. I have never once been disappointed when I’ve swallowed my pride and brought my current emotions into the open air, however afraid I am of just saying them. Simply telling him makes them clearer. Having him listen to how I truthfully feel is calming. He presents a willingness to listen (even if I’m just crying and baffling him) and talk about it. If I’m honest, we pursue a better understanding of one another that would be impossible without such honesty. And it brings such peace and strength to our relationship.

So I wish I would have had the courage to be emotionally honest earlier on in courtship, especially in the times when it proved hardest for whatever reason. But then again, I have a feeling God knew it would take a courtship to teach me how to step past my fears and start tilling the very rocky soil around my little plant of honesty. So I’m very grateful for that!

Sig

Rooted & Grounded in Charity, Vol. 7: The veil on the shelf (revisited . . .)

Charity

JMJ1

A long time ago (before I knew The Dash), I bought a pretty white chapel veil and put it on a shelf. I wrote about it here and (later) here . . . you may remember the event 😉

My thought process behind this was a little mixed, but despite my mental mixing, I did know I wanted it to be a saved veil . . . saved for, most likely, courtship.

Eventually, this white chapel veil wound up behind the holy card of St. Raphael on our mini prayer altar, before which I prayed daily that my future husband would be ushered into my life.

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I was figuring that, as soon as I entered into a courtship, I could start wearing the veil as a token of being under St. Raphael’s protection and having been a beneficiary his intercession.

But then, after days and weeks, probably months of daily devotion to St. Raphael (which brought such peace!), I eventually decided (or realized) that it would be just as appropriate to start wearing the veil as I was . . . because, of course, I was already under St. Raphael’s protection, for whatever relationship might come to me in the future.

Maybe I also wanted to avoid being unduly ceremonious at the start of any future courtship (“I’m courting! Voila! Here’s a new veil!”); as well as avoid the necessity that if the courtship were ended, I would just, well . . . stop wearing the veil. Which would be rather awkward and depressing. This token of my devotion didn’t seem to need such rigid symbolism.

So I went ahead and started wearing it to Mass.

And, literally a week or two later, The Dash was kneeling in the pew beside me, because we were courting. ❤

Of course, there was nothing magical or superstitious about having finally put on the veil . . . But perhaps the beautiful timing of it all was a tiny sign or consolation allowed by Our Lord, as if gently reassuring me that our courtship would not have come about, had it not been for St. Raphael’s intercession.

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Looking back on it, it rather feels as if my (sometimes overly) imaginative mind was just hungry to explore and maybe cultivate some kind of future tradition to do with placing a special chapel veil on one’s prayer altar (foreshadowing the nuptial veil, maybe), near an image of the saint to whose intercession you’re entrusting your future vocation/husband every day; and to wear the veil, keeping in mind that devotion.

It still seems a trifle nebulous now . . . But maybe there’s at least a tiny amount of worth to doing something like this, if done with faith and reason devoid of superstition.

After all, veiling in the Presence of Our Lord is a most mysteriously beautiful practice for women. (Here’s an ancient post from the archives!) Although it can become routine for me to pin it on and walk inside the nave, when I really take time to contemplate veiling, it feels like such an honor. My chapel veil is lovely, an emblem of the sacred, and only worn in the holiest of all places, because I am a woman before God; because He’s made me so.

And, traditionally, a lady’s veil does change as she progresses towards her vocation. A baby girl can wear a little lacy cap. Young girls and young women usually wear shorter, often brighter veils. At her wedding, the bride’s veil explodes in a waterfall of virginal white, as if it were crowning her. And, much of the time, a married woman often proceeds to wear a darker veil (not a hard and fast tradition, but you see it often), which is particularly evocative if you recall she has entered into the Cross in her marriage, and is called to heroic death to self towards her husband and children, every day.

So, if we extend this logic for a moment, a woman’s veil is indeed a special thing: something that is, or can be, in a small way, connected to her state in life, and she can use this connection in some little way to further her devotion.

In any event, that is the logic I used. And now that I’m wearing my white/St. Raphael/now-courting/whatever-you’d-like-to-call-it veil, I thought recently, why not take it to the next level?

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When I heard Robin Nest Lane was closing shop, I went wistfully to her store to admire her handiwork one final time, and the thought gradually arose . . . Why not buy a black veil to wear during my future marriage?

Ahh . . .

So I did. I bought it, it came in shortly afterwards, and I’ve placed it on my small prayer shelf beside my bed, tucked behind a candle and an image of Our Lady of the Rosary (I made my Total Consecration on her feast day).

This time around, the “veil on the shelf” has a more definite purpose! It’s meant to be a conscientious reminder to me of the death-to-self that I’m pursuing as I approach marriage. It’s meant to be a small, visual, symbolic entrusting of my future vocation to Our Blessed Mother, now that such a wonderful man has been brought into my life and we are hopeful of being married in the not-too-distant future.

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Again, it’s just a little thing; but even having written this post, I’m inspired to make myself more mindful of it, and to allow this tiny practice to make me more devout and virtuous in the consideration and anticipation of my future vocation!

Sig