franksaw

I know nothing....

What happens when you pay attention?

Enemy Territory
Me1
pan_z_wami
So, it is another Sunday morning and I was in the usual irritable state. We went to church for 10:30 Mass and in my nervy state, the whole thing was a trial. A look around revealed, as usual, that I was likely the only one who felt this way, so I endured and prayed about the whole situation.

What came to me during the prayers was some bit of G.K. Chesterton or C.S. Lewis, about the world as enemy territory. It allowed me to approach my own suffering from the perspective of the psalmist who longs for home while in captivity. I am grateful to have my fiancee with me and our families and friends. In such a state, I think about how it might have felt to be captive in a foreign land, or a refugee from one's own world. Sometime it seems nothing you can do or have the energy to do would be enough to improve the situation. The only thing to do sometimes is to just endure, remembering that the promised land is still there, eternal, joyful, full of light, and just in every way. In this current state, though, we are captives who, as sinners called to be saints, do our best and await the time of our release. We long for a Moses, even if we must be the complaining masses who wander in the desert wishing for the security of our captivitiy, being saved despite ourseves and all our faults.

Sometimes we march onward, confident of victory, and other times in doubt that we can acheive anything of worth at all. It's so odd that we should seek to escape this world while at the same time seeking to do better by it. We love this world and we look forward to the next, but we are largely filthy and seek to be clean. We need to be washed, but the filth is familiar. I know that being clean means being fully open to the real world and I hesitate. I know the healing waters to be good but I know the shower will be brisk and stimulating. The mortal frame seeks rest for healing, but will rest ever be enough? No, it won't.

Comfort came today from the loving sqeeze of my fiancee. Her love and her touch are the vehicle of a greater love from the greatest conforter, the perfect doctor, and the most Holy Family.

Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover
LaoTse
pan_z_wami
This is what my fiancee and I are reading now.

I'm realizing slowly, with her help, what a poor working knowledge I had with money for the last 30 years. Growing up, we just never got a good culture of money since we always seemed to have enough to get by. There's plenty of blame to go around, but now it's time for me to get with the program. You see, for a long time, I have not been disciplined enough to have a budget and plan according to it. It's always been, I need to eat now so if there isn't anything I want in the house, I will go out. I would get a notion that a purchase would benefit me greatly. The rest of my life has been more or less like this, too. I never had to develop great discipline because I was smart enough to get by with minimal effort. So now, I have this book and we are working together to get in shape for our future. The skill I may gain from this will also help me in other areas as well.
God Bless!

Career? An actual career?
franksaw
pan_z_wami
Tonight was two things which bumped up the "for real" factor along with my aging body, stagnant pay rate and general life doldrums. First, the alternator on my car has gone dead. Here is yet another expense which is going to require money to fix.

Second, I went to an Al-anon meeting with Katy in which the topics were anxiety and fear. So tonight I am looking right at that and facing the real issue that I might HAVE TO GO to school again to improve my financial situation if it's not to late to get a financial benefit from the boost in income vs. increased debt.

Career possibility? Massage therapy in hopital settings, Imaging sciences, Industrial technology,

(no subject)
franksaw
pan_z_wami
Here's something for me to work on during Lent and probably forever thereafter: Attachment, Sloth, Avoidance.
There is so much stuff that I know benefits me nothing and detracts from my life. Activities and things. But they are such a comfort in place of the truer more eternal comforts that come from carrying the cross I have been given. I can see some things that I can do that will help me, but I ignore and am easily distracted. It isn't even a rational decision. I can't fall back on any good habits, because most of them are bad. I know there are things I need to do and am ashamed when I don't , but still I just keep avoiding them.

Dear God, I ask for the Strength to improve, the grace to know your will, and the prudence to carry it out. And if I'm too concerned with consciously knowing it, let me be the crooked line you draw straight with.

Mid-winter foot dragging
franksaw
pan_z_wami
So I signed up at the Twin Lakes recreation center this week Tuesday. I've been there to work out twice so far. The first time was on the treadmill, the second time, I tried the elliptical machine and ended up on a bike. My heart is very sluggish to respond to speeding up and slowing down. It takes me a long time to recover. This isn't surprising since I'm so out of shape. We'll see how this ancient body responds over time.

Right now, my diet is horrendous. Eating lots of fat and carbs. Few veggies. I compensate by downing fiber pills and vitamins. Not very good, I know, but I gotta pick the battles I can.  

the Number One Rule of the Con Man is that a con man does not fool people. He gets people to fool th
franksaw
pan_z_wami
The above title is from an article about charisms by Mark Shea. See http://www.crisismagazine.com/2011/charisms-dont-make-you-a-saint. It get's me to thinking about my own situation. Then he goes on to quote Paul in 1 Cor 13:1-13 "f I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 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 have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:1-13)"

So I might have a few acknowledged charisms. I know them fairly well. But I've lost sight of the gifts that order them towards Christ. In this current haze I other wonder where the Love went. I haven't lost hope, my grip on faith is tenous these days, but over the past 4 years, the Love has slipped away. It is through the presence of the woman who I once left and is now again present in my life that the love rekindles. But why did I have to push away in the first place?

(no subject)
franksaw
pan_z_wami
http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2011/03/srihow-contraception-destroys-love/

Plans.
franksaw
pan_z_wami
It's the thrill of victory and the agony of it not going as planned.

All I've ever wanted.
beyond
pan_z_wami
All I've ever wanted to do in life, when my head has been on straight, but still in the core of my being nonetheless, has been to give myself completely to something greater than myself.

All my greatest fantasies, my most compelling imaginations, have been to become a part of something greater for the sake of that which is greater. Whether to join a monastic community, a guild of some sort, where I could sit at the feet of the masters and practice a craft which will help others to live and love more fully, even if it meant just a mechanical or electrical trade, instead of some kind of engineer. If digging graves was all it was, then may others rise to a greater love because of it. But I've held myself to keeping fantasies as just that: fantasies. So, when something real and true came along, when someone who did finally capture my heart came along and I found myself hoping for marriage to this wonderful person, who was someone who did, in turn, enjoy me and reciprocate love (indeed I could ask for little more than that), it felt natural and yet it felt entirely foreign. After years of selfish love, and years of just being around myself, I looked beyond myself, but I wasn't quite mature enough for the true love that came into my life.

The sun came up on the horizon to brighten the entire world and I looked instead toward that room with a candle which at one time was the best I could hope for. Only now the door had locked. Sure I could see inside and the feelings of joy and gratitude were real, but maybe it was the kind of joy one gets from seeing a movie or television series, or going to an opera or play. I stood there transfixed, imagining with the best of my imagination what it would be like to be apart of it. It was like playing superheroes as a kid. It was the kind of real make-believe where I would ride my motorcycle through entire cities with skyscrapers and suburbs on a spy mission trying to avoid being caught; But in reality, I was riding around the block on the sidewalk, up and down driveways, through alleys, and the neighbors didn't mind if I went up their driveways so long as I didn't go the lawn.

Meanwhile, I had homework and chores to do, and eventually I'd have to come home and do what I was required to do.

This time though, I actually was in that scenario. It didn’t entirely match the fantasy, but as a reality, it was pretty darn good. It did require however, a level of maturity and responsibility that, although I could resign myself to and accept, was just scary enough to me that when something else came along, I could again revisit the old imaginations. Not surprisingly, the object of my responsible love, was none to pleased. The harsh words of real love that she showed to me as well her true desire to see me happy, which was again just more love, was all I needed to walk away towards this childhood fantasy again. How could I have done that?

Now, four years or more down the road, the fantasy has not become reality because as attainable as it might have been, I was not strong enough nor mature enough to do what had to be done to make it a reality. What was a bird in the hand I traded for two in the bush, and I was not quick enough to grab them before they flew away.

So now what? Maybe I did get something for that fantastic trade off. Yeah, perhaps I lost the bird in the hand and the two others flew away, but there is a sort of consolation prize, as the Lord has been my consolation in the midst of these failed pursuits. The prize consists of renewed and true Catholic values, and a better knowledge of how I am made. My head is still spinning from the falling down the Hill, my arms are still tired from swimming upstream, I am still in over my head because of agreements I unwisely made, and there are still tough choices which I am not nearly strong enough to follow through with. My life is a bit of a mess in the material sense, I am in a tangle mentally, my body is barely functional for the things I want and need to do, and my spirit wallows in the mud where I’ve become comfortable surrounded by the familiar comforts.

I am still not sure about what is next, but I have asked for the awareness to see the next steps on the path God has had to reroute for all of my wandering. One thing seems for sure, and that is there is some sort of family life involved.

Were all these decisions mistakes? Without a doubt, yes. Complete and utter mistakes of the kind that well meaning but unlistening, unseeing people make. The Lord tells us in ways that would be obvious if we knew how to take the time to listen and give in to it. Instead, if we hear it at all, we go off in other directions, listening to selfish desires and ambitions, giving in to the will to power, ignoring the warning signs and turning to inward comforts, committing sin after sin, with an unending line of excuses.

Yet for all that loser-ly behavior, God is there, desiring nothing other than that we turn towards him, willingly, so that he can bring us, frightened and lost, back into his fold yet again.

Light in the darkness, what do the shadows tell me?
franksaw
pan_z_wami
If one is trying to figure out the way in a tangled maze of trails, and the divine light shines in for guidance but one is not quite in the light and can't figure out how to get into it, then it's time to move, feel the walls of the maze and try whatever path until it's clear it's a dead end. Then try another, starting again from where one is and move forward down another way until eventually one starts to see shadows. Now one can deduce from where the light doesn't shine that these are the walls, these you cannot pass through, so stop running into them, stop trying to climb them, stop trying to break through them. You cannot do it. Walk towards that glimmer of light and it will soon increase. Keep going and you will find the source. A catch, some of the wall are mirrored, it's the only way light can travel around the bends.

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