Thursday, March 30, 2006

My CEO Rocks!

Ok, so I worked on my Catholic Apologetics Presentation over Spring Break. This is our final and I signed up for the first day of presentations, wanting to get it out of the way. I thought I was being responsible over break, spending at least two solid hours at the computer (most days, it was three to four hours) every day. I all but finished it. The only thing left is to organize and tweak it. I came back, feeling quite good about myself. And then humility stepped in.

I arrived back from break on late Saturday. Sarah asked me if I was ready for my Marshner mid-term. Why the heck would I be ready for that test? It's wasn't for a couple of weeks. I knew I was wrong when she gave me a look of dread mixed with pity. It was in four days. And I hadn't even started. I was way behind the power curve.

Sunday found me furiously typing the answers to the study guide. I was not making progress at all. I was having trouble hammering out the answers and proving my points. I began to freak. Monday, one of the girls on my hall split the study guide with me and we finished it. Upon a quick run through my notes and a glance at the study guide, I realized I still had much work to do.

I spent all my free time in my room studying for the test, not seeing much of anyone. For a social butterfly this is quite hard. I thrive on seeing and talking with other people, so it's quite a sacrafice to lock myself in my room and deny myself my friends. But this time, I was so busy that I hardly noticed. I wonder if my friends did.

Wednesday night, the night before the test, I had a mandatory Junior class test. The only thing that consoled me was the free pizza and wine. That was really good. I ran back after that test and began again madly studying for Marshner. I was getting horribly worried. I wrote out essays, memorized definitions, pasted to memory scripture quotes and pieces from Saint Ignatius letters. I ran over and over my notes about Islam and learned how to spell various Muslim names and terms. Nothing was sticking. I was not going to do well.

In the middle of it all, I made time to go and talk to my CEO. He's a really cool guy: He's always there to give advice and He gives really cool bonuses. I went into His Office and just poured my soul out to Him about my current dilemma I didnt' give Him much time to answer because I was rambling an awful lot (nerves will do that to you). He looked quite concerned and looked like He had everything in hand. I went back to work.

This morning, after a panic attack at breakfast, I went to my impending doom. Much to my nerves' pleasure, Marshner was ten minutes late. This gave me one more chance: I ran upstairs to the office of my CEO again and pleaded with Him to help me. Again, He didn't have much to say, He just looked quite concerned. I was very afraid.

I went back downstairs and Marshner arrived. When he placed the test on my desk, I sent a quick text message to my CEO. Once again, no words, just concern.

I looked at my test: I was appalled! I knew most of the objectives. Two of the four essays were ones which I had memorized. We had only to pick two essays. I was able to fudge on most of the objectives that I didn't know. There was one that was not coming to me. I was worried. But, in the middle of my second essay, the answer flew into my head. I wrote it down. I finished my test and was the first one to leave.

I love my CEO! I know why He looked so concerned, too. He was worried about me! Imagine: a big, important CEO being concerned and worried about little me! I was quite flattered! He was also probably a little hurt that I didn't trust Him enough when it came to my job. He's not a mean boss; He obviously has my best interests at heart and, being my boss, knows exactly what I need. I think I forget about this too much.

So, my CEO saved the day again. I love having little conferences with Him. Especially, when He tells me about His worries. Sometimes, He even tells me other people in this big corporation who need love or help. I am so glad that I belong to this organization and have such an incredible, caring, and loving CEO. He's perfect!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Home is Where the Heart Is...

So, I made it home -- and in one piece! The fates tried to stop me, but they could not. Are there even fates? Am I being non-Catholic in saying that? Ooops.

See the girls? Aren't they the cutest? Those are my two little sisters, Laura and Kathleen respectively. They are also the only two children left at home. As sad as it is, home is getting smaller and smaller and I feel more and more like visitor everytime I do come home. I hate that.

Justin and Molly were here for the first 24 hours that I was home. It was so wonderful to see them again. Molly is getting huge! It's all so very exciting and I can't wait until the baby is born! It is going to be adorable!

Texas, by the way, is beautiful. It's been "cold" according to my parents, topping out in the 60s and 70s everyday. The sun was finally out today. The last few days had seen terrible storms. They were actually a God-send, though, because of the awful wild fires that had been tearing across the Lone Star State.

And apparently, my room has been pranked. I don't know why I was made the victim, since Ted was the one making various types of kissing the conversation of the morning breakfast table last Friday. However, it has happened...and will not go unretaliated. But, I forgive them. The boys just couldn't resist me. And, after all, Ted was only discussing a subject about which she is very passionate.

I look foward to seeing everyone back at school on Saturday. I have missed everyone and all have been in my prayers, especially the mission trip people!

Monday, March 13, 2006

If a Tree Falls in a Forest...

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is in said forest, did the tree make a sound? And if you insult your friends on your blog to see if they actually read it, and no one reads it, does that mean you insulted your friends?

Ok, I know the answer for this, I've taken Moral Theology and Doctorine (and yes, to clear up the confusion, I am a full junior!), but I have come to wonder how many of my friends actually visit my blog to read it anymore. And in their defense, they may read it, but the last two articles have been quite insightful (yes, I had my humble pie for dessert at lunch -- why does that pie taste so bitter?), and yet no comments. If they are so good, then why are they not leaving comments? Do ever feel like you're screaming into space and no one is there to listen. I'm screaming in Cyber space. AAAAGGHH! Actually, that's kind of fun, I highly reccomend it to anyone with a blog. Kelly, scream away. There are no quiet hours on the internet! Isn't that a cool thought...

Anyway, I'll get off of my proverbial high horse and brag about my weekend, just because I want to.

It got off to an excellent start just because Friday is a great day to start any weekend! After my American Novel class, I skipped my hour of workstudy and went shoe shopping with two very dear friends, Sarah and Lola. What fun we had! I was not at all intending to buy shoes, because I had no money with which to buy them. But that is the worst attitude to go into a shoe store with, because you will buy shoes. If you truly do not want to buy shoes, convince yourself that you do and suddenly every cute shoe in the store will be too small or too big! I bought a new pair of shoes. I was very upset with myself. But the personal wrath went away in like thirty seconds. And they are cute shoes!

On Saturday, I went to the Career Reception and had to sit in Dress Code for three hours listening to people talk about why they chose their career. It actually ended up being an excellent talk, because I found some ways that I could start working on publishing my writing right now. And, as if that wasn't exciting enough, I had my first rum and coke! Please hold your applause until the end. Following the reception, I had just enough time to run back to my room and freshen up to go to the Scarlet Pimpernel. What a wonderful performance! I thought it was exceptionally well done and we do have some talent here for musicals. Good job, Bree! I had a phenomenal time at the play, and the company was good, too. I got to hang out with friends and meet some friends' families! It was very lovely evening. And, yes, I behaved as well as could be expected (although, I think some of my friends would disagree!).

Sunday, I studied all day long and was very close to running out in traffic to end the boredom and sleepiness, until suddenly, my prayers were answered. (Yes, what I am about to reveal, I did pray to happen. Laugh if you wish.) I was sitting in Laura's room, who wasn't in there, and suddenly Ted came up. She wanted to hang out! Well, you can imagine I was quite excited! She had some free time and she wanted to spend it with me?? I must confess, I was quite flattered. We decided on a walk, and ended up scaring people in the cemetery by Kevin's. Now, that was funny! We talked and reconnected, something we hadn't done in a couple of weeks. God is good to me always. So, we were out there until almost midnight, teasing each other and confiding secrets in the spring air. The stars were out and I taught her how to wish on them to the Angels. She's a quick learner!

So, the weekend ended on a very bright note, I must confess. It was busy and I got no studying done, but sometimes God will have us put off things like that for more important things, like the evening play and spending spring nights with friends. I love it. I love life!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Love and Be Loved

I have realized in the last two weeks that, if you really want to annoy people or scare them, you don't have to stand behind doors until they pass by. You don't have to pull gigantic pranks in thier room. You don't have to plan elaborate hoaxes. All you have to do is love them. It never occured to me how scared and annoyed people get when you love them. And, conversely, I don't think these people realize how much it hurts when they don't respond.

My philosphy on life is quite simple. I love to love people. If I can take away someone's hurt and make them smile for just a fleeting moment, I feel that I have conquered the world. Mother Theresa once said that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only love. How true! In a time when suffering and pain is so prevalent, it's easy to find people who are hurting inside. They don't show it, most of the time. And you don't have to step out of the confines of Christendom to find these people.

We are taught here at Christendom that we are all called to evangelize and bring people to Christ. This doesn't have to wait until we all graduate from here. Yes, there are people out there who need love and God, but we aren't out there yet. There are people around us right now who are hurting and lonely and who desperately need love. They don't show it. It's hard to see. And it may be that our nieghbor on the hall is the one hurting the most. These are the people to whom we should be reaching out most. These are the people who need prayers, hugs, and love.

I think that people underestimate the power of love. Love is such a simple and beautiful thing. It's so selfless and giving. That's the point of love: to give, as Mother Theresa said, until it hurts. And sometimes it does hurt to give, especially when people respond with coldness or annoyance. But, it's also probably many of these same people who need the love.

It's humiliating to admit to pain and dependence. We are creatures of habit, and one of our most fundamental habits is the desire to be in control. We are not. God loves to make that painfully obvious. But, when people are hurting, sometimes these people find it very hard to let someone love them. They don't want to open up; they might get hurt. I know people who have this attitude. These same people get annoyed when you go out of your way for them or for others. They look at you funny and they respond negatively. It's called rejection. Not on a grand scale, of course, but all the same it's rejection. And Christ dealt with it constantly in His life. He died a violent death just to get people to love Him, and people still responded coldly.

So, I come to two conclusions. First, a command. Love! This comes not from my lips, but His. He said so many times in His life, "Love one another as I have loved you." When you are walking to class, say hello to the person walking by. When you are in Mass, pray for the guy sitting behind you. When you see someone upset, at least tell them you are praying. Love is at the same time an emptying of yourself and a filling of your soul. While emptying your self of sympathy for others, God is at the same time filling you with immense and powerful grace.

Secondly, another command. Be Loved! It's okay to let people love you. The people who want to poor themselves out for you do it because they want to show that they care. But more than that, these people want you to feel love. It's a fundamental way of communicating -- probably the most fundamental way of communicating. You can't see it, but when you refuse love, that cuts deep. So, accept the hugs and little acts of service. The giver just wants a smile.

"Love one another as I have loved you." Let go and reach out. Accept the reaching out. When you reach out to others, you are reaching out to the Christ in them. And when you accept love from others, you are accepting Christ in those people. Love and Be Loved!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Happy Ash Wednesday

This morning was, mostly, like any other morning. My alarm went off and I pulled my limp, tired body from the bed and headed to the shower. It wasn't until I was in the middle of my shower that I remembered what day this was. A smile flew to my lips. I have been looking foward to this day for several weeks.

Upon my arrival at breakfast, I saw that Sarah and I were the only Juniors at our table. Usually, a huge group of juniors dine together in the morning, bonding and laughing before our 8:30 classes. Actually, it suddenly occurred to me that almost no one was at breakfast and anyone who was had quite a frown upon their face. I couldn't figure out why, but a Sophmore cleared up the confusion. As he wearily pulled his bagel out of the toaster, I wished him a Happy Ash Wednesday. He looked startled. "Happy?" he asked. Suddenly, it was all clear to me.

I think I am one of very few who actually look foward to the season of Lent. At first glance this may seem absolutely insane. I mean, we spend forty days and nights suffering with out things we absolutely adore, such as chocolate or warm showers. This whole season starts out with a day of fasting and abstaining. So, we are a bunch of half cognizant people who are on the verge of fainting and some energetic girl wishes one of them a Happy Ash Wednesday? I don't think so.

But, try and look beyond the bodily sufferings for one moment. I mean, we Catholics are very lucky. We are encouraged to become like Christ in order to get to Heaven. For this purpose, we have the saints' lives we can imitate and one heck of a Mother praying for us up there. Beyond this, we have a season in the calendar, an entire forty days, devoted to stripping ourselves of our bodily vices. Habit is a hard thing to make and break. That's what this season is all about. Breaking the bad habits and making better ones. So, initially, Lent is a time of hardship and penance, but if one is willing to look beyond this to the results to be attained when Easter comes, its gets a little easier to bear.

I enjoy a good challenge. It's this drive in me to try to outdo whatever is stopping me from completing my tasks. This is magnified in Lent. This is the one Season when we can look at oursleves, find what's deterring us from attaining perfect happiness with God and strip it from our bodies. This, of course, is no easy task. But once we win the smaller battles victory is closer to being ours. By ridding ourselves of our bodily faults, slowly, we can feel ourselves becoming closer and closer to Christ.

And no one said that it would be easy. Lent is one of the most difficult times, too. Often, the end of Lent has found me failing in some aspect of my little promises. However, Christs expects this and He loves it. As long as we are remorseful and try again, He is forgiving of our faults. After all, during His long walk to Calvary, He fell three times. This wasn't because He wanted to be face down in the dust. It was because He wanted to show us that it was ok to fall, as long as we get back up again. He doesn't expect us to be perfect, only diligent.

Lent is no easy Season, but if we suffer with Christ in the desert, the rewards at Easter will be great. They will not be external rewards, unless you gave up sweets. These rewards will be so much deeper. They will have a profound effect on your spiritual life and life in general. You will feel so much closer to Christ and be amazed at the graces He pours upon you. When the going gets tough, keep in mind that you are always right there under the cross with Him, in and outside of Lent. When things seem impossible, just lean on Him. Yes, it's humiliating to have to depend on someone else for strength, but you will feel His love radiating against your side. It is only through this humiliation that we can come to know Christ's love for us. This will motivate you. And if you fall, Jesus falls with you. You are never alone.

So, Lent is not a time to be sad and weary. It's a time to enjoy a unique closeness with Christ, a closeness that we can only enjoy during this time. And like Christmas, it only comes once a year, so take advantage of it. Challenge yourself. Change yourself. And when things seem tough, as they inevitably will, lean on Him. He is stronger than you will ever know. He dies for you, He also wants to carry you.

In closing, I wish you all a Happy Lent. May the Season be productive, life-changing, and humiliating. And I hope that, instead of walking around moping, you are taking full advantage of such a wonderful season, full of possibilities. Happy Lent!