Monday, May 22, 2006

Omnipotent Scandinavian

I speak English fluently, speak Italian almost fluently, and have a smattering of Korean in my vocabulary. After having moved all around God's little green globe, I would hope I would have picked something up besides the wonderful cuisines I've also tasted. If lost in America, I could ask the local cop for directions and be on my way in no time. If lost in Italy, I could easily find my way to a telephone and an english speaking person (a cute young man, preferably). In Korea, I could sound like I was answering a telephone and tell the nearest passer-by that I "would see him later". I think I'll stick with getting lost in America or Italy.

But for the life of me, everytime I get lost in my own little world, I don't know how to understand God. I can easily ask God for help. It involves quite a simple process. First, you stand alone in your room (college or at home) and look up to the ceiling. After making a half attempt to hold them back, you let the tears run. And then you start screaming at Him like you are His three year old torment. Hey, He made me. I have other tactics, too. I also try kneeling and praying. I do try this one, first. But inevitably, I have to resort to the former plan anyway. And I know He's answering. I can hear it and feel it. But, I can't understand.

It's kind of like walking up to a Scandinavian who understands English, but can't speak it. "Excuse me, kind and all-knowing Scandinavian Uncaused Cause. Can you tell me what in the world you are trying to tell me? I would be much obliged." However, instead of making it perfectly understandable, His response is something like, "Folketingets Web er udformet sådan at både øvede og mindre øvede brugere nemt og hurtigt ." You kind of stare blankly at Him, pretend you understood everything, and continue on your merry way.

Sometimes this works. This is because you guessed right; in His gibberish He was saying, "Yes, my half-witted, ambitious creation: you are doing exactly as I have laid out." But, sometimes, you run into the fifth brickwall of the week. This is because He was not motivating you. "No, my ignorant, over-reaching corporeal being." He tried to tell you, but you cannot speak Scandinavian. Normally, if you cannot understand a foreigner's speech, you must resort to body language. This does not work with our Scandinavian Uncaused Cause. In all His causing, He did not cause Himself a body ergo the lack of body language. We resort first to guessing, and when this does not work we resort to the three-year old temper tantrum.

Eventually the omniscient Scandinavian will pull out His pocket translator and slowly reveal His plan for the present moment. What it is that makes Him wait until you've slowly and deliberately performed your tantrum ritual five times in a week is beyond my knowledge. But, He does. And we have to wait, which is easier said than done. We scream and we cry (I'm the most guilty) and refuse to wait. And all the while we have been waiting, just not the most patiently. And then He reaches into His proverbial lederhosen and pulls out His Heaven Mall (corporate owner of Sky Mall, found on most airlines) pocket translator. He pulls us into His lap and tells all.

One day, I will learn to speak God's language. I'm finally understanding how I can begin to learn. Like any language, it takes much patience, more so with this one. An open mind is a plus because chances are, we're going to learn phrases and passages we don't like. And Love is always required. The language is full of this, which is flowing from Faith, another requirement for the language. I have to get these seemingly simple things before I can hope to understand what my God is trying to say.

Until then, I will develop my patience and hope Scandinavians have plently of their own. He is going to have to put up with a lot of mistakes and frustration before I can speak fluently. And one day, before too long, I'll wake up and suddenly be fluent in Scandinavian. I will finally be able to converse. Then, suddenly, I'll come to the realization that God actually speaks a different language, He wanted to play a wicked practical joke on me. This horrific thought will lead me to realize that I'm dead, in Purgatory, and must learn Mandarinian before I can even entertain the thought of entering into Paradise with our Uncaused Foriegner.

Monday, May 15, 2006

And Then It Came...

It's easy to avoid reality. You can distract your self in a multitude of ways and most of the time it works. Pretending things aren't really going to happen is easy, too. You just pretend life isn't going to happen. But, it is not fail proof. When you're all alone and have nothing to distract you, when you're in Mass in the Chapel, when you're falling asleep at night or waking in the morning, the truth will weave it's way into your mind like a worm. And it will explode a thousand images of the impending reality. And you want to run. Suddenly, too, the dreaded thing does happen. In my case, it did.

For a year and a half, I have been dreading the weekend of May 13, 2006. For a rather large group of people that are very dear to me, this was a happy weekend. And in that sense, I was happy, too. It's always nice to see your friends beaming. Especially when it's because they are graduating from College. They spend four long years studying, growing and learning in and outside of the classroom. Along the way, they suffer hardships, achieve grand accomplishments, and forge some incredible friendships. Most of these friends are in their class. But not always.

I, too, am blessed with some awesome friends. Over the last year and a half, I have made some deep ties with some very incredible people. But, over that last year and a half I have been dreading the good-bye of May 2006. At first, I could brush it off. I had a year and a half, then a year, then two semesters which quickly went down to one, then I had a few months, then a few weeks. Suddenly, before I knew it, I had one week left to make as many awesome memories and spend as much time as I possibly could with my friends.

And then we said good-bye. I have never felt quite so strongly and distinctly that my heart had been ripped from my chest, torn apart, and place back inside to heal on its own. But, that is how I feel. Saying good-bye to Ted, Kelly, Niki, Michele, Beth, Pat, A.J., and Larry (and others) was one of the most painful things I have ever had to do.

Being a military brat, it's hard to believe good-byes are still hard for me. But, my sister aptly put it. It doesn't get easier with every good-bye, it only gets harder and more frustrating. But, I wondered why the good-bye was so much harder with these people.

And then it occured to me. When I met these people and, a few months later, began working to make friendships with them, we seemed so very different. While one came from a large family in the mid-west, another came from a small family, loves to hang with boys, and was very sick once upon a time. Another had lived in California and now in North Carolina and he is very tall. She came from Virginia and was an excellent irish and swing dancer. He was completely phlegmatic, but if you tried hard enough, he would open up and was very kind. She was Italian and choleric and loved to mother her friends. He was a chivalrous guy and was proud of his Thai background. She was Polish, fun-loving, and very sensitive to others. And suddenly, after this eclectic group pulled together, another girl pushed her way in. She was short, loud, and loved to love others. And they let her in. And they were happy.

But what was it that kept us all together, through all the good and all the bad? It was unselfish love and complete giving of each other to each other. It was selfless sacrifice, spiritually, emotionally. But all of this stems from the passionate love each of us friends shares in Christ. All of what we have, feel, know, and care for stems from our strong faith. And when it wavered or faltered, another of us was there. We shared our flame and lit the other's love again. It was unquestioning support of this Christly love that brought us all together in that tiny campus in Northern Virginia. It was also that love that took them all away.

They go, now, to follow God's plan for them. I am so very proud. It makes me stand so very tall to think that my friends have left the stability and safety of Christendom College to seek the lost sheep and bring them back to Christ. They are going to all corners of the earth, some to Georgia, some in Virginia, one all the way to Italy. They will be forever in my prayers.

I have one more prayer, too, that I have been saying over the last few weeks and will continue to pray for a very long time. I pray that these incredible people never forget each other, the tall ones and the short ones. For it is through each other that we have been allowed such a pure and undeserved gift of friendship. We have grown closer to Christ and been allowed to see His love through each other.

Congratulations to the Christendom College class of 2006, especially my friends. May God always shine His light so you all may see where you are going and allow you to look back and remember from where you came. Never forget those lost sheep Christ asks you to love and never forget those who have loved you unquestioningly. God bless you always.