Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More Past Revisited -- INTENSITY

So, I wrote about my writing crate.

I also dug out all of my songs last weekend.

I used to write a lot of songs; I'd say at least 25 a year if not more. My earliest extant songs are from about 1981, but decent songs only started showing up about four to five years later. College was the peak of my writing, and I wrote a few as late as my days in Japan. I don't think I have written a song of note (ba-dum-bum) in ten years.

Sunday I had a chance to play through them when both children were outside with the neighbors. (Otherwise any attempt to play guitar is sidetracked by wannabe students of guitar.) I had two thoughts. First, some of my songs are actually quite good! Secondly, they express an intensity that unnerved me.

When I started reading Kurcinka's book Raising Your Spirited Child it really surprised me to be remembering how intense I "used to be". Let me exegete that sentence a bit. First of all, I had to return the book to the library when I was only half way through, so I haven't finished it. Next, I was surprised to be remembering, because who "forgets" that they are intense? Me, apparently. Also, I realize that it really isn't accurate to say that I used to be intense. I still am very intense, but for the most part, I am more at peace and therefore my intensity flows in different channels than it used to.

Partly, though, I think I've sublimated much of my intensity. That's all well and good, to a point. If sublimating is to channel a power into a more socially acceptable mode, that's one thing. But if it means rejecting a facet of one's own person, that I think is not so good.

So it was strange to be singing these intense songs I wrote in my late teens or early 20s. I sang first and foremost about my relationship with God. My seeking after God was palpable. I couldn't help but think that while seeking after God is always good, much of what I yearned for painfully in my songs was, in fact, the Eucharist and the fullness of the Catholic Faith. Love.

Many of my songs were also about some shade of loneliness and my difficulty in talking to others, opening my mouth and sharing my heart. While I feel much of that has faded since meeting and marrying my husband (who swept me off my feet by ***talking*** to me!), in some ways I have to admit that the deepest part of my heart still struggles with speaking with open-heart, intense honesty. But it isn't so much that I have deep longings to sit down and tell someone about. Or that I feel alone in the world like I once did. One of the most painful struggles I feel is to be able to be in a room with women acquaintances and to be freely friendly and cordial without feeling awkward. It is funny how we grow and grow, and yet we stay the same.

I want, I need to spend some time coming to grips with what my intensity means right now in my life. The deacon at my pre-Catholic Fellowship used to say to me "don't be so intense". And in various ways, people communicate that to me still from time to time. And I sure don't like it. The last time it happened to me, on a list I belong to, it felt like a stinging slap in the face. I need to be intense. Researching fertility issues, for example -- I needed to be very intense. I think perhaps people are trying to protect me from myself, but it's like a fire that needs to completely consume its fuel.

I think part of my struggle is that intensity is a bit of a solitary thing. And I've felt like I "leave" people when I am in that mode. So, to be nice and good I need to stay with them and tone it down. But that just leaves me with frustration. Especially when intensity is to be a factor in a relationship: how do I handle that intensity without propelling myself away from the very person I'm trying to be close to? Many people get very freaked out by intensity and sort of run and hide. It can feel like rejection.

See, it's all very complicated, and I don't have it all worked out yet.

Is there anyone else out there who's really intense and has some insight?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Visit From a Teenager

I had a visit with a fascinating teenager today. Also an equally fascinating young 20-something. Intelligent, articulate, ponderous...

Ok, they were both me.

Seems I have always been serious about this writing stuff. I have a "writing crate" which contains choice pieces of writing I did during the era of my life between the beginning of high school and my journey to Japan, a span of about 13 years.

As I read over stuff I'd written I reminded myself of a child who has so much to say that at first he stammers for the words and struggles to communicate because there is so much vying for first chance to get out. More than one English teacher told me not to try so hard to be "impressive". I would get out my dictionary and come up with these weighty phrases. One story I wrote in 9th or 10th grade used the phrase "ritualistically to pay obeisance". My teachers weren't impressed with the flowery stuff. But I needed to get it out of my system. In a way, I think the fact that I was required to write journals and other "whatever you want it to be" stuff in high school saved my sanity. I recall that friends were jealous over how our English teacher took to writing comments back to me in my journal. It really became like a conversation. That probably saved my sanity, too. Someone was listening.

And all this post-school stuff longed for readers, too. To my knowledge, no one has ever read a word of it, except myself. I think today I almost qualified as a "someone else" audience. After all, most of what I read was written 15-20 years ago. I certainly have been a different person at least once or twice along the way.

I'm sure I would have had a blog if they had existed back in 1986. I had half a thought to post a few interesting pieces just as a way of applauding the 17 or 19 or 22 year old I once was.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Witness for Life

Ok, I REALLY need to get to bed. But what transpired today was so fitting a followup of Saturday's post that I need to write about it.

After Mass this morning, Father says "and now Randall Terry will come and say a few words to us..." I'm thinking, "you mean THE Randall Terry, the one that all of Risen Savior Fellowship (my pre-Catholic fellowship) held in such hugely high esteem as a man truly and bravely following God's will? He's here? (And he's a Catholic?)"

Well, of course he's Catholic, I think to myself as he starts to talk.

He talked about recruiting teens and 20-somethings for a movement of events across the nation with the aim of not fighting abortion, but ending it. End. The. End. The rally will be in the Philadelphia area on the weekend after Thanksgiving.

My heart stirs.

I'm not a teen or 20 something, nor available to go around the country, but I can pray.

You can read more about it at www.operationrescue20.org

Then tonight as I was reading prolife websites, I came across this website about 40 days for life. Another movement that will be concerted across the whole country which will begin September 26 and end November 4. Prayer, fasting, sacrifice, 24/7 prayer at abortion businesses and Planned Parenthood offices, pro-life canvassing, etc. All at the same time in cities throughout the country.

My heart stirs again.

So much so that I can't even write more now. I have to ponder it.

Please do the same.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Blogging Is My Spiritual Direction This Evening

Golly, I'm feeling punchy tonight. What exactly do I mean by that? I have this itching desire to stand on a soap box and preach about me knowing so much good stuff about life. And how you're gonna see, some day, that I'm right and you are standing on the brink of danger sucking up this American culture indiscriminately and it is rotting your brain.

Being full of oneself is never a good sign, is it?

Imagine Jesus feeling this way. It almost makes me laugh. Here is the Son of God, wiser than even His Mother (whom no one thought particularly wise, anyway, I'm sure). He could have lined up the best of the intellectuals of his day and whooped them like they'd never forget. He could have shot off about how He knew better than anyone. He could have told everyone exactly what was wrong with them, and what it would take to fix it. He could have astounded everyone with secrets; things humans had no concept of in those days or in this.

But He didn't, did He.

Oh, He did have some piercing insights when He taught publicly and got in the face of the Pharisees. He did not mince words with hypocrites. But what about all the years when He wasn't doing that. He was humble. He was probably silent in the face of more BS than I could ever imagine. He loved. He interceded. He did what He could to help these people in their daily lives. I'm sure it was the power of all that humility that gave His words tremendous, transformative power when He did speak in His public ministry. I'm sure He didn't even have to speak; one could just feel the power standing in His presence.

How did those Pharisees manage to withstand the power, I wonder? There will always be those who do. An amazing thing, the human soul.

So, I'm itching to lecture; Jesus emptied Himself.

I'm supposed to empty myself.

But Lord, what about those poor people? You know, the ones who will never be perfect parents unless they imitate me? Uh, no, hold it, don't go ask my son what he thinks about that.

The burning need in me to tell people obviously needs to be refined. Golly, it is so hard for me to watch people make choices that may not even be morally bad, just not as good as I think they could be. Let alone to see those immoral choices being made. It makes me feel like a completely powerless dot. I don't want other people sucking away my power.

What is my power? There's "me". Ok, yeah, pretty finite. Not a whole lot there. Then there's Jesus, there's the Holy Spirit, who wants to be that fire in me, that power. But to if I claim to live in Jesus, I have to do what He does:

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The
man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the
truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made
complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live
in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:3-6

Aww, man, am I back at that old thing about actually DOING what God wants of me again?


Stow away the soap box. Erase the draft blogs and emails. Back off away from the conversations and the people I'm not going to "save" tonight. Give them back to God Whose they are, anyway. Get back to the place God has for me.

Offer it up for the salvation of souls.

Including my own.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Moment of Beauty

This morning as I got dressed, the sun peeked through our pine trees, and a gentle breeze blew into my room the sounds of a neighbor playing my favorite classical piece on the piano: Pachabel's Canon in D.

Thank you, anonymous neighbor, for this moment of beauty!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sleep, Glorious Sleep

Lesson for today: I don't give enough credit to the power of sleep, especially in the lives of my children. We had a wild thunderstorm last night, with rumbles that sounded like they were going to rip the house off its foundation. My children don't seem to remember that now, but I have a feeling it affected their sleep. So, this morning when they were both slumbering when we otherwise would have gotten up, I just let them be. They both woke up in their good time; my son at 9:45 and my daughter almost an hour later! But my, what a noticeable difference in their demeanor from being well rested! And how much easier for us all to get along when they have pleasantness for their baseline!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm Reading a Great Book

I'm about half way through Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, recommended to me by several moms on a yahoo list of which I am a part. It is an excellent, practical book. I should probably wait until I've finished it and pondered it awhile to ponder it over again here "in public", but I join in recommending this book if you have a child who is "intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent and energetic".

I Need to Eat Right!

We are back from a trip to Grandma's house, and at least an hour ago grogging in bed I had so many things to blog about that I decided to forgo the post-trip sleep in today.

We'll see if I can remember my ideas now that I'm up :)

The most obvious thing to me this morning is that doing the Blood Type Diet is NOT for naught. I've been doing Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo's Eat Right For Your Type approach for a couple of years now, and I admit that of late I've been bemoaning food boredom and cooking ruts in trying to prepare suitable meals for my mixed Type O and Type A family. On this trip as on many others I succumbed to more cultural eating: wheat products, corn chips, popcorn, corn syrupy products (which is just about anything that's processed) and potatoes/fries being my worst downfalls. My digestive system did just fine with the first few mouthfuls. But boy howdy am I paying for my indulgence today. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say I'm not feeling well.

I thought about how hard it is to make conscious dietary choices when traveling. But then at a roadside stop on our return trip I noted an Orthodox Jewish family settling in for a picnic lunch. I have an idea keeping kosher in a fast food culture is just as hard as Eating Right for your Type.

Note to self: find solutions before the next big trip.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

You Also Ought to Love One Another

Here is the July 1 Message from Jesus to Anne. What strikes me is this call to extend our love, and to *remember* what it feels like to be unloved. We cannot love without Jesus in our hearts, and there are plenty of people around us who are pushing Him away from them. When Jesus told us "as I have loved you, so also ought you to love one another", He wasn't just saying it would be a great idea. He is completely clued in to our pain. He sees all the hidden things that pain causes people to do. And He sees those of us who have committed our lives to Him, and He longs to be able to share His life with all through us.

Let's be mindful of how urgent the call is to show love to others.

July 1, 2007


I am with you. How often I repeat this. I, Jesus, am with you. I, Jesus, will never leave you. I see everything that occurs in your life. I understand exactly where your pain originates. Like nobody else, I understand you. Much of the suffering my little ones experience is from loneliness. Even if you are surrounded by others, you can feel lonely. You see, dear apostles, each person feels alone until he rests with Me. It is only after becoming united to Me that you can love each other as you were intended to love each other. There are many who do not allow unity with Me. I cannot force Myself upon them, because they are free to reject Me. But because they reject Me, they cannot love others as they were intended to love others. Others, sadly, remain unloved. Others become wounded. Others strike out in their pain, causing more distress. Humanity was created to live on earth connected to God. My apostles, even though you struggle, you remain connected to Me. I am able to heal you and send love through you. The signs of My presence are all around you, even though you struggle. Believe this. If you look at a person who has rejected Me, you will see signs of that rejection. If you look at a world that has rejected Me, you will also see signs. My beloved ones, when you see signs that God has been rejected, you must remain peaceful. I, Jesus, have told you that change is necessary. I, Jesus, have told you that I desire change. I do not abandon you and I do not abandon the world. I have many friends in this world and you are among them. You trust Me, I know. I will honour the trust you have placed in Me. I will bring all things to the good, both in your life and in the world. I, the Blameless One, have never betrayed another and I will not betray you. Think often on the promises I have made to you. I have said I will never leave you. I have said I will protect My interests in your soul. I have said I will pursue conversion of your loved ones. During this time, I want each apostle to consider these promises. Serve Me in steadiness, of course, but also, serve Me in peace. Dear apostles, you are connected to Me. You accept My love. You know that just as I cherish you, I cherish all others. My dear friends, please live these truths because others are looking to you for example. Please. Give an example of joyful trust. I need this from you so that I can draw hurting souls back to Me. I am with you. I will help you to do this.

St. John Bosco and Discipline of Children

Both this letter from St. John Bosco to his priests and this article discussing it were recently discussed on a parenting list I belong to.

Both address anger in relationship to correcting children, and how anger poisons the relationship. In the original letter St. John Bosco is addressing priests who were teaching or leading the boys in their care; the article by Dr. John Crosby discusses Bosco's call to forsake anger in the context of parenting, and especially the parental ego.

I think I need to add this saint to the list of those whose intercession I seek daily. Hourly!