Monday, May 23, 2011

Graduation Reflections

So it is currently nearly five in the morning. And I have had one crazy awesome weekend! Well, I saw "Thor" on Friday with my family, which was great. I love spending time with my family, and "Thor" was just EPIC! And for the record, I'm gonna marry Thor. Yeah, he's a Norse god...I'll convert him! =) Well, on Saturday, I went to four graduation parties. My last post dealt with graduation parties, so I shall move on to Sunday.

Sunday, May 22, 2011.

I graduated from high school. I had a wonderful morning of Mass, a breakfast afterwards, and then a special luncheon at my house with my family and another close family. Then, I went to school for graduation. I was so excited, hanging out with all of my friends, taking pictures and celebrating four years of hard work! I felt so accomplished while walking in to the gym, hearing the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance." However, during a reading from the Bible, graduation really started to hit me. As one of my very good friends read, I began to feel my eyes start tearing up. Then, it happened: a couple small tears trickled down my face. I had put four years of hard work and care into my high school, and now I was leaving. I had put so much of myself into my school, only to leave. It's good to leave; it is an important step in my life. Next year, I cannot even imagine what God has in store! But all the while, there can be a bittersweet tinge to the joys of graduation. But even all the small sorrows--at having a large part of who I am be left behind--do not compare with the joy that is to come!

I really do believe that whenever I put myself--a lot of myself--into anything, it can be hard to let that go. High school--it is hard, but all the same, I have college to look forward to. The joy that is to come far outweighs the sorrows that I may experience from time to time now. I believe that the same holds true with relationships. When people put themselves--a lot of themselves, a large part of their identity--into relationships, a really beautiful thing can happen: an amazing friendship, which blossoms in the love of Christ.

But when that relationship had to end in its current state, and morph into a different form?

That process is not the easiest to go through. A large part of someone--actually, both people--has gone into this relationship; the identities of these people have been solidified through this friendship. A beautiful friendship, which brings both people closer to Christ. But God desires that people follow His will, wherever that leads them. And so, at times, relationships have to change. Perhaps they have to be discontinued, perhaps they have to change form. Still, in whatever case, the feelings left can be bittersweet. It can be hard to let go of something which a person had been such a large part of. It can be hard to let go of such a good friendship, such a good thing. And yet, it is necessary. It is necessary to let God take those friendships, those relationships, and use them to help people in their vocations. And when God is in control, the pain and sorrows--small and great--are only temporary. Those sorrows cannot even compare to the joy that is to be revealed! And while memories can be a great gift from God, to take pleasure in the joys that He has given, a life is not to be ruled by memories. Living in the memories of the previous state of a relationship, a friendship, is not healthy. God wants us to take the memories of friendships and relish them, but to move on. To discover His will in the present moment.

Life will not stop and go back to the way it was. Life keeps on moving, and we are expected to move with it, following Christ on the pathway to Heaven. So take the memories, embrace reality, and move onwards towards the life that Christ is calling us to.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Massage Chair Theology

Today was extremely fun; I went to four graduation parties, and had a fabulous time at each one! Each party had special, unique qualities which made it particularly enjoyable.

It was at the final party of the day that I had an "a-ha!" moment.

Well, at this party, I was chillin' with some girls and a guy; talking, laughing, eating parties usually go. Well, the girl who hosted the party had this massage-chair in the corner of the living room. This massage chair was intense. It would squeeze one's legs, arms, and head; it would roll up and down one's back; it would lift one's legs up in the air, lean the person back, and put them upright again. Like I said, this massage chair was intense!

At the beginning, this chair could be uncomfortable. It could even hurt a little (depending on the person, and how much he or she resisted to the chair). In fact, it was very entertaining to watch whoever was in the chair react to the movements. The facial expressions and exclamations were hilarious! Well anyway, while one of the girls was in the chair grimacing about the discomfort, the guy who was with us said something which really struck me: "It's not that bad--just let it go." Later, when I got in the chair again, I decided to try his advice. The chair was put onto "Swedish" mode. Watching a couple of the other girls go through this mode, I knew that it would be particularly intense. But I thought about the advice that had been given. I sat in the chair, pushed the button, and decided to "just let it go." At first, it was a little strange having my feet and legs squeezed. And then it squeezed my arms, completely trapping them in between two layers of an armrest. But after I got over the initial strangeness, I sat, relaxed, and let go. The massage was amazing; so comfortable, so relaxing. When I got off the chair, I felt so good.

In life, God can ask us to do crazy things. Things that we don't want to do. Whatever God is asking us to do may seem painful, it may seem nonsensical. God may be asking us to sit in that huge massage chair, and we finally decide to go ahead and sit in it, overcoming our fears of what will happen in that massage chair; we decide to act on the call of God. But once we follow His call--once we sit in that chair--we can make it unnecessarily painful.

We can sit and resist the movements of the chair; we can resist all the movements of God. This resistance causes pain and discomfort; also, once a length of time is over, the person is not as finely relaxed and refreshed as he or she should--because he or she does not fully embrace God's calling. God then will be unable to use the person as fully as He desired. Once the massage is over, if there has been resistance, a person is not as loosely relaxed and refreshed. However, if a person sits in the massage chair and relaxes, letting the chair knead and move him or her, this person--when the massage is over--comes out of the chair loose, relaxed, joyful, and refreshed. When a person fully embraces God's call, and trusts in Him completely, he or she will let God knead and move him or her as He wills. Then, the person will be refreshed in God, and filled with joy.

God wants us to sit in our own massage chair.
So we finally--on a leap of faith--sit in that chair.
But what we do once we're in the chair will determine how much God can work in us.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Deep Reflection from my Recent Trip to Steubenville

"Tea, tea! I storge tea! Tea in the morning-tea for me! Tea, tea! I storge tea! Given to me by Mary!"

Who is the amazing songwriter, quo composed these words? In all humility, I am. I composed "The Tea Song" on Friday, May 13, 2011--and have sung it several times throughout the days since. =) I also choreographed "The Tea Dance" which is quite spectacular.

Now, to be clear, this tea-ness has a defined direction and a point, in case you, O Great Reader, are getting concerned about the sanity of this post. The title of this post is not merely a scheme to get you to read about tea. Okay, that's questionable. So read on, and decide for yourself!

It all started on Friday, May 13. In the morning, at breakfast, to be exact. Since my family was traveling to Steubenville, OH for my brother's graduation, we were staying in different hotels and such. We had been traveling since Wednesday, but here, Friday morning, we were about to embark on the last leg of our trip: from Dayton, OH to Steubenville, OH. I figured that I would need some type of caffeine to make it through the day (after the Friday evening Baccalaureate Mass, there would be an awesome party late into the night). I went down to the breakfast room at Days Inn, and saw it: tea. Beautiful packets of Lipton tea. So I took the 8 oz. styrofoam cup that was provided, and made myself a cup. It was delicious! Well, after breakfast, we piled into the family van to drive to Steubenville. Since it was going to be a lengthy drive, we pulled out our Rosaries. We were only a Hail Mary or two into the Rosary, when dad stopped at a Speedway gas station/convenience store, to get gas. Then, John Paul (my teenage brother) asked the crucial question:
"Hey Annie, what is the date today?"
Without blinking an eye, I replied "Friday the 13th--why?"
"Whoa, look at that sign!"
So I looked at the sign on the Speedway building: May 13-Free Tea Day. What!?!?!?!?! This matter had to be investigated. So, John Paul and I jumped out of the van and went tearing into the building. A friendly employee verified that, indeed, free tea was to be had. Self-serve, sweet or unsweetened tea--22 OUNCES! And hey, there was even a pump-container of raspberry flavoring, to add a shot of fruity flavor. In my complete ecstasy, I pumped several shots of raspberry into my iced sweet tea, and exuberantly dashed back to the van with John Paul. Sitting at my luxurious place in the backseat, I drank my tea delightedly. Within a few moments, my family was graced with my voice issuing forth "The Tea Song." Several verses, in fact, which I cannot immediately remember (they were that awesome). Well, my family then continued the Rosary, and I began to simmer down a tad. Then, after the Rosary, I began drinking my tea once more. And I began my discourse on the Theology of Tea.

On Friday morning, I made myself tea--8 oz. is all that I could have; that's how big the cup was. Later that morning, while my family and I were praying the Rosary, we saw the sign for free tea--22 ounces!

It's just like God's grace. You give God an 8 oz. cup to fill with grace. NO! Don't do it! Don't place limits on God! You know why? Because when you go through Mary to Jesus, Mary and Jesus have so many more graces to give you. They will give you 22 ounces worth of graces freely! I had my 8 oz. cup; later, I was freely given a 22 oz. cup filled with tea (and raspberry fuity shots). But it doesn't stop there....So my family and I were driving later that day (duh, we had to get to Steubie!) when we stopped for gas again--at a Speedway. And what do ya know? Free Tea Day! So I got another 22 oz. cup of sweet tea!

Again, don't put limits on God. I had that 8 oz. cup of tea, and thought that was all the tea I could get for the day. But no, God (and Mary) sent me another 22 oz. cup of tea! And then I was in the height of ecstasy, thinking that my day was complete. But no! Another 22 oz. cup of tea! That's 52 ounces of tea! I had put a limit on God; I thought 8 ounces of tea was all that I would get for the day. But no, He sent me 52 ounces! So point well taken, God! You have so much grace ready for me, I'll let you send it. Just like the Miraculous Medal, which shows the graces that Mary wants to give-but people aren't open to those graces. Okay, Mama. I'm open. Send those graces!

But here we go again! Today, Monday, we were traveling the last leg of our journey home from Ohio. My dad had coupons for free fountain drinks at this convenience store (Pilot, I think it was called.).
So I got one.
Brisk Raspberry Tea.
44 ounces.
Okay God, I get the message.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Let Him Lead


I wish to start off by offering a huge apology to all of you readers. I have not posted in quite some time, and I hope you all forgive me and will understand. Life has been crazy. Blessed and joyful, but crazy. And right now, I should be sleeping. But I'm taking the time to do this. Because I feel that God wants me to write--NOW.

This past weekend was amazing. Friday night, I had the chance to go to Club Rodeo with some of my dear friends, and two-step and swing dance the night away! Here, God decided to yell at me...literally. I was swing dancing with one of my good friends, but I was not letting her lead me. "Let me lead!" She kept shouting over the music. "Let me lead! Am I leading? Let me lead!" And I would try to let her lead...sort of. But never completely. For whatever reason, I could not bring myself to let her lead entirely. I would not stop being the headstrong, prideful person who I am.
It hit me. Her voice was just like God yelling out to me "Let me lead! Let ME lead!" It was an incredible reminder that I need to stop trying to boss God around. I need to be open to God, to let Him lead me where He wishes me to go. That night, I examined myself, and made a new resolve to let God do the leading in the great dance of life.

Moving on....

Saturday evening, I was blessed to go to Prom with one of my very closest friends. I had an amazing time that night. It was definitely one of the best nights that I have ever had, without a doubt. I loved dancing that night away. Even if the music being played was not "danceable," it didn't matter. My date and I danced--legit dancing, like two-step, foxtrot, swing, etc--anyway. Dancing with him, I felt relaxed, joyful, comfortable, peaceful. I let him lead. And you know what? Because I let him lead, we had an amazing time dancing, and were able to glide across the dance floor, going across it beautifully. Just like whenever I let God lead, He can take me peacefully and beautifully through life. When I let God lead, He can move me across the dance floor at His own timing.

Let God lead, and your steps will never wander from His presence.