When is their surgery?

Lately, I have been on my surgery rotation for medical school.

This is a unique rotation because I am given the opportunity to observe many different procedures. Sometimes I can even “scrub in”, which is medical jargon for assisting the surgeon.

At the start of my day, I go to the locker room and don my scrubs for the day. I grab a giant hairnet and throw it over my beautiful locks. Then I put covers over my shoes to protect them from any blood spills. I walk out of the changing room and head for the surgical waiting area.

The surgical waiting area is unique because this is where the patients are brought minutes before the surgery. They are wheeled in on their gurney and are met with the anesthesiologist and nurses who discuss the procedure for them. They are given an IV which will be for the medication used to put them asleep.

Before the surgeon comes in there is a waiting period where the patient is all alone. 

They sit there knowing, in just a few minutes, they will be having a very invasive procedure.

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Today, these experiences had me thinking.

How easy it is to remain cold in these settings.

When I am in the surgical waiting area, I usually am thinking about how tired I am or how I wish I had breakfast.

When I am in the surgical waiting room, I usually am thinking about what I am going to do after the procedure. How long will it take? Will the surgeon ask me any questions?

I am so quick to forget the facts of those around me.

The fact that the woman beside me barely speaks English and does not understand what is going on around her. 

The fact that the patient waiting for a very painful spine procedure looks filled with terror and is shivering. 

The fact that the patient to my right had an invasive procedure many times before and was overwhelmed with despair. 

These situations, though happening in a surgical waiting room, are very applicable to life itself. Those around us are in the midst of very desperate situations. Instead of putting ourselves in their situations and allow it to drive us to act for their betterment, we are quick to shy away.

We jump to turn inside ourselves instead of allowing ourselves to be an agent of change for our neighbor.

I believe this is all driven by fear. A fear response that pushes us to remain safe, comfortable, and cozy.

This week I challenge you to look for those around you that may be in their own surgical waiting room. Do not allow the fear of saying the wrong thing or putting yourself out there prevent you from being a light in a dark place.

Maybe someone is waiting for a test grade to come back in a class they are struggling with?

Maybe someone is having trouble finding a job after being laid off?

Maybe someone is just having a really bad day? 

Allow the shell society has created around yourself to slowly melt away.

Empathize and act.

You do not have to feel anything.

You do not have to feel like you are going to change the world.

It doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s life.

All you really need to do is notice. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Microwave Moments

You go into your freezer and pull out that ice cream you have been waiting to eat all day. You grab a spoon from the drawer, open the lid, and dive right into the pint. Yet, the ice cream is as hard as a rock. You keep trying but you are just getting ice cream shavings. So you do the microwave trick.

You take the ice cream and put it in the microwave for ten seconds.

When you take it out it has softened a bit and now you can enjoy it.

Like the ice cream, there are many people whose hearts have hardened by their environment.

You try to talk with them or form relationships with them, yet whenever you try it’s like you are talking to a wall. They are cold. Some people can become quite ruthless.

It may be difficult to be kind towards these people. It takes a big dose of humility and a giant amount of patience. Yet, this is what we are called to do.

When we are kind, loving, patient, generous, caring, etc. towards individuals with a hardened heart it turns into a microwave moment. Though on the outside they may appear cold, a transformation is occurring inside of them. It doesn’t have to be big acts of kindness. Sometimes the smallest acts slip into the cracks of their heart easier.

People may condemn you and laugh at you. They may tell you that said person will never change. They will tell you to just leave them alone and move on.

However, this is not what Christ has called us to do. He has called us to live lives of pure love towards EVERYONE.

So continue to choose to love those with a hardened heart.

You may be their last hope.

If I only had 60 seconds

If I had 60 seconds left here is what I would say. I have my stop watch ready.

3…….2…….1…….go

Strive to make this world a better place for everyone. Look at the stranger in the eye. Hold the hand of a friend. Let the world know you care more than they think you do. Never quit. Always remain in zeal. Strive to show the world of the presence of God. Live to love. 

and….60 seconds is up.

I encourage you. Time yourself for 60 seconds.

See what words spring from your heart.

 

Run with my Father

I was sitting at the airport yesterday waiting to board my flight. I was eating God’s chosen food, aka Chick-fil-A.

I noticed a man and his young son (maybe 3 or 4) running. His son was giggling as he chased after his dad.

A couple minutes later I saw them return, but this time they were walking.

The boy had his face glued to a phone screen.

The father then started motioning for his son to come follow him and started running again.

However, the son was not paying attention. He just continued to walk.

The father started waving his son onward and jogging but his son still did not notice.

Eventually, the son looked up at his father, smiled, and started to running as fast as he could after him.

 

As I dunked my fries into some great sauces, I started thinking about how this is exactly like my relationship, our relationship, with Our Father in Heaven. Many times we are on fire for the Lord. We are running after Him with all of our hearts in pursuit of His will for our lives.

However, we all have distractions just within our fingertips.

Our phones, our technology, our work, our up and down emotions, and especially our sins.

All of these, will cause us to act like this boy looking down at the screen and not seeing his father call him to move forward.

The beautiful thing to remember is that God is always before us waving us onward.

No matter how long we stand there walking and not recognizing the path we are on, He will continue to wait for us to start running with Him again.

Friends, I encourage you today to continue running with the Father.

When you catch yourself slowing down, remember the finish line will appear before you know it.

Be steadfast and look upon him for strength.

Run with a smile on your face and hope in your heart.

 

Hiccups for Jesus

A few morning’s ago I was struck with a tragedy: hiccups that would not go away.

I don’t know what it was about these hiccups, but they were intense.

You know, the kind that like shakes your whole body?

They were obnoxiously loud, and echoed through my house (my sleeping family must not have been happy.)

That morning I decided to go to morning Mass at a Church about a five minute walk from my house.

Being late, I took my car for the 1 minute drive.

As I was driving, a thought came across my mind.

“Maybe, you should not go. Your hiccups will disrupt everyone.”

I imagined all the people in the Church staring at me.

However, I labeled this the voice of the enemy and decided going was more important.

Hiccups and the fear of embarrassment weren’t going to stop me from doing what I wanted.

Doing what I knew was right.

As I made my way up the Church driveway, the hiccups persisted.

“Hold them in. Hold them in. Focus. Hold them in.” I repeated in my mind as I opened the back door of the Church. 

Being late, I walked in right behind the priest.

“Hold them in. HOLD THEM IN. Don’t you dare…”

The minute I genuflected, before going into my seat, I let out the biggest hiccup of all time. 

THE SECOND  my knee hit the ground it was as if all the hiccups of my entire life decided to jump from my throat.

It. Was. So. Loud. 

I was so startled from the hiccup that my hiccups went away!

The Mass continued and I did not hiccup one bit.

This little experience taught me quite a few things I wanted to share with y’all.

The first being to push forward in doing what you know is right regardless of the whispers of the enemy. Humiliation and the fear of being humiliated stop so many of us from pursuing the truth. Fear sucks the perseverance out of us, when instead it can actually propel us. For example, when David faced Goliath. I am sure he had fear as he looked at the giant and all he had was a slingshot. However, David harnessed the fear and used it to show his true faith. In the midst of a thunderstorm of fear, he chose to look up towards Heaven and trust in God. He chose to use the power God had given him.

 

This experience reminded me of the humor of God. Often times, in our suffering world we neglect to look at the humor of truth. When I sent out the giant hiccup, it had me smirking in my seat. The hiccup was so freaking loud. Instead of dwelling on the embarrassment, I thought about how I was cured from my “ailment” by the very ailment itself.

I was reminded that our weaknesses are actually our strength. As seen in 2 Corinthians 12:9

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

I fought and fought and fought the weakness of my hiccups but in reality through that weakness I saw Christ more and more. As I walked into that Church, I had no choice but to accept my problem and just put it in Christ’s hands. Maybe I would get told to leave because I was being disruptive. Maybe I would be embarrassed. Maybe I would hiccup the entire time. But that did not matter. I knew what to do, and in the moment of weakness I had to place my trust in Him.

Friends, I encourage you this weak to keep moving forward. Put on the armor of God and when you feel inadequate to enter into His house, go anyway. Do not listen to the lies the enemy whispers in your ear. Trust in Him. Listen to the ache in your soul. Put on the armor of God and harness the faith.

So next time you have the hiccups, think of Him.

For in this human weakness, the truth became much clearer.

 

 

Do Better

We are always told to do more.

BE BETTER. DO BETTER.

“Get good grades”

“Get a good job”

“Win the gold”

“Never lose”

These words seem to be engraved into our minds since we learn to walk.

I for one, have fallen victim to these pleads for perfection.

I’ve allowed them to blend into my life and create a blueprint.

This morning I was caught in a DO BETTER loop.

I thought about all I needed to accomplish in my day. I thought about all I needed to accomplish in the year. I was basically yelling at myself for at all the times I have been lazy. I have thought about all the time I wasted.

Then I thought.

“Is this stuff important?”

How much of my mind was consumed with my pride?

Did I want to get good grades for myself or for the greater glory of God?

Did I want to finish my book for myself or for the greater glory of God?

Did I want to exercise for myself or for the greater glory of God?

It makes total sense why I was so frustrated.

I was living for myself. And I am not perfect. Therefore, if I keep looking within I will always be disappointed.

However, if I do everything as a sacrifice, a humble offering to Christ, everything will change.

I felt the Lord screaming out to me to rediscover my childlike humility.

When we were a kids “Do Better”was not at the forefront of our minds.

We did things because they were freaking fun and we lived with joy.

This is exactly what I want and I am sure exactly what you want.

Jesus reminds us that we do not need to do better.

In Him, we are enough.

We only need to do everything out of love for Him.

Friends, when you feel the weight of “Do Better” change the phrase.

“Do Better for Him”

Change the beneficiary and you will change your life.

 

My first book “Pouring Echoes” RELEASED NOW

Hey friends.

Hey family.

Hey strangers.

Today, December 1, 2017, is an awesome day for me.

My first book of poetry, “Pouring Echoes” was released on Amazon!

The poems in this work were compiled with a purpose.

They were written in both times of utter despair and complete elation.

They were written in coffee shops and during lecture.

They were written from my heart to fall softly into yours.

I believe poetry is one of the most beautiful art forms. To be able to take truth and grind it down into just a few sentences.

I love that about it.

Is it not amazing that a few sentences can change your whole world view in a matter of seconds?

In “Pouring Echoes” I take you on that journey.

On how life kicked me in the butt and made me fly sometimes in the same day.

I wrote these poems with complete rawness on my mind. Vulnerability is the definition of courage in my opinion.

So, yeah. This is me throwing a plug for my book.  (Link at the bottom)

Because if I can make someone say,

“Wow, I feel the exact same way.”

“I’m not alone in this.”

“I have been hurt just like that.”

“Life is awesome.”

or shed a tear or two…

It was so worth it.

So come follow me on this echo we call life. Scream out at the world. Listen for a reply. And find the truth.

 

POURING ECHOES LINK 🙂

 

 

I Am In Love.

Love.

Such a powerful word.

#Romantic

A few months ago I was listening to a talk on love. I am pretty sure it was a sermon from Francis Chan. Anyway, throughout the talk Francis Chan said something along the lines of:

“When we are in love we do crazy things for others. Girlfriends, family, friends, etc. So, what about for God? If we love Him, would we do crazy things for Him. Would we give up our current comfortable lives?”

Then I felt the punch in the gut feeling coming…

I thought:

“What radical things do I do for God?”

“If He called me to do things that appear crazy to the world…would I do it? Has He already…and I haven’t listened?”

 

I consider myself a pretty adventurous person. I like taking risks. I like showing my affection for others by helping them in times of need. I like doing acts big or small to show my appreciation.

What would I do if someone I loved/admired/cared about needed me now?

If one of my siblings called me and said they needed me. I would drive two hours to the airport. Get on a plane. And be home for them. I’d skip class. I’d miss tests. 

If my upset friend needed to talk to me at 3:00 in the morning…and I was dead asleep. I would get up, drive to their apartment, and we would talk. 

If a girl I had a crush on lived a few hours away, I would drive those 2.5 hours just to see her for a few hours. (true story by the way). 

 

So....what radical things are you doing now because you love God? 

As I reflected on this question I was not really sure. I felt as though God was calling me to love him deeply.

But how? What does radical love look like?

I think it is really interesting that when we do radical things out of love it is considered romantic, selfless, and pure awesomeness. For example, think about all those crazy marriage proposal videos. Guys go out of their way and put so much time and effort in order to make it perfect. Why? Because they love their soon to be bride so much. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Quite frankly, I plan on being one of those guys one day. Get ready future Mrs. Bellacicco.

Furthermore…

We need to remember that as a Christian sometimes doing things because we love God appears crazy. Loving God does not look romantic at all.

Calling on him in prayer, helping someone that the world has said don’t go near, talking with strangers, maybe even going across the world to help the poor.

Loving God radically is through vulnerability.

 

Loving God radically is by sacrifice.

 

Loving God radically is by prayer.

 

Loving God radically is by service.

 

Loving God radically is by listening. 

 

We need to remember, that unlike marriage proposals loving God can be viewed under a negative light in the world.

So, how do I do radical things to show my love for God. Well, radical does not necessarily mean big acts. Each time we do something for our neighbor we are loving God radically. Friends, today I encourage you to do something a little radical to show your love for your neighbor and the Big Man Upstairs.

Write a note of appreciation to a friend, coworker, stranger.

Call someone and tell them how much they mean to you.

Hug a friend who has been down lately.

Send a small gift of appreciation to a parent.

Listen with an open heart to the story of a hurting stranger.

Smile at a stranger.

Pray for a friend.

Pray with a friend.

As St. Mother Theresa said,

“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

So, yes. Today, I shout from the rooftops. I am in love with God. 

Will you shout it with me?

If so….

Now it is time to show the world you are on fire with His love. 

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The Day the Light Turned On

On January 29th, 2017 my life changed dramatically in a mere 30 minutes. How is that possible? Did something terrible or amazing happen?

Not really. 

So what gives?

I was on a plane headed to an interview. I checked my watch and it was 5:00 pm. I had another hour on board. Sitting in front of me was a book, “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.” The first few hours on board I had been skimming through the book. The Spiritual Exercises, for those unaware, is a way to look inward.

Reflection on steroids if you will.

The Exercises (consisting of prayer and reflection) are to be completed in a month in order to strengthen one’s relationship with Christ.  Through the exercises one examines one’s life and the life and passion of Christ. I didn’t start the exercises on the plane. That is not what changed my life. However, I did think a lot about the topic of reflection.

I thought, “Have I ever truly sat down and reflected on my entire life?”

No. I had never done it. So that is what I did.

I went from my earliest memory to the present moment sitting on the plane. In complete silence. No headphones. Just me and my memories.

I have to tell you…

It really hurt. But I learned so much.

Here are a few excerpts from my journal that I wrote immediately after my life reflection which lasted for about 30 minutes (the fastest 30 minutes ever).

Today is 1-29-2017 and I reflected on my entire life. I now know why I feel certain ways at times. I know why I act in certain ways. I know now that I was hurt. When I was truly broken. I know now that Christ calls on me to hand him all of my burdens. In Him they are gone. I am made new. Not injured by the world…

You have taken a lot of beatings from this world. You have been so hurt. So now what? Don’t let this pain break you down everyday. Stop carrying it. Put it all on the cross. He is carrying it all. Let it go. He is holding it all. Let it go. Your Creator has taken it all. That is precisely what love is. God is love because he has taken it ALL.

My calling makes so much more sense now. I understand why. 

I can’t really explain to you what happened on that plane. All I can let you know is my life though still confusing and uncertain made a little more sense. I can tell you I was tearing up (I haven’t cried in a very long time).  I can tell you that I felt at peace. I can tell you that I finally understood the love God has for me. I can tell you I finally understand the power of the cross.

Towards the end of my reflection an image popped up in my mind. I pictured myself on a mountain holding a wooden box about the size of a shoe box. Inside was the weight of my past. I walked up to Christ and handed him the box. He gave it back. I looked inside and it was empty.

Friends, I encourage you to sit down in a quiet room and reflect. Think about your earliest memories and work your way to the present moment. In this maze of the mind a lot of things will start making sense. You will understand why you have certain fears. You will understand why certain moments make you happy. You will understand God’s will a little more.

As night hit, the plane became dark. As I came out of my prayerful reflection, I noticed that pretty much all the lights on the plane were off.

I looked up and noticed mine.

It was on.

I never turned it on.