“You Are So Calm”

“I recommend calm, and calm all the time.” St. Pio

Being calm is a gift from God.

I have witnessed people who remain calm in the craziest of situations. It amazes me how someone can remain calm when all hope is lost.

When I think of calmness I picture many different people.

The surgeon who remains calm when something goes wrong. 

I think of a paramedic, as they continue chest compressions. 

I envision a brother holding back his temper. 

I see a mother remaing at peace when her newly licensed son is driving her around. 

Calmness, to me, is so powerful because it is a virtue I pray for constantly. 

 

Here’s a little story…

 

Recently, I was in the Emergency Room. I was observing a physician for the day who received a call to check on a patient. We were in the patient’s room listening to his complaints trying our best to figure out what was causing the symptoms. The room had three physicians in it, the wife of the patient, and the patient’s daughter.

It had been a LONG day. The emergency room felt like a sauna. I was hungry. I was feeling extremely anxious. My head was spinning. My to-do list was scrolling along in my brain like an instagram feed. I felt every negative feeling possible in this moment.

I was stuck in my head in complete distress when all of a sudden someone started talking to me.

The daughter of the patient with utmost sincerity and said,

 

“You are so calm.”

 

I thanked her for the compliment and soon we left the patient so they could begin tests.

Calm? Me? What? Was she joking? Am I being punked?

This story is a testament that God is working in you even when you do not notice it yourself.

In that situation I felt everything but calmness; however, this was exactly what the patient’s family was able to see.

Is there a certain virtue or quality you are praying about receiving? Is there a part of yourself you wish would begin to bloom?

I encourage you to keep pursuing the goal, even when you feel like you have nothing to show for it.

In the midst of it all, you may be suprised at how much of that quality you actually demonstrate.

“Never be in a hurry, do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”

-St. Frances de Sales

 

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Joy under the rocks

When I was a kid, I liked going to the Long Island sound. I would walk along the beach and pick up large rocks. Some of the rocks weighed about 5 lbs other “giant” rocks were about 15-20lbs. It took a lot out of a scrawny 9 year old to lift them.

But there was a reason I did.

After lifting up the rocks and throwing them to the side. I would find tons of crabs running about. The crabs really liked hiding under the rocks. I would catch them and at the end of the day let them go.

Finding joy is a lot like finding the crabs along the beach.

Most days, it takes effort.

There are many large rocks/obstacles along the way.

It takes a lot of strength to lift the rocks of our lives to find the treasure of joy.

Somedays the weight of the world makes it impossible to see the beauty all around us.

But we must not give in to the weight of the rocks.

As Christians, choosing joy in the midst of the crosses, is our mission.

St. Teresa of Avila said, “The lukewarm do not embrace the cross; they merely drag it along.”

Friends, I encourage you to seek joy with all your heart today. God loves you more than you can even imagine. No matter the obstacle along the way, choose to lift the rocks and find joy.

There is a reason to be cheerful. Christ has overcome the world.

 

 

I Know

In the past I had a serious entitled “I Just Don’t Know.” I believe I did 3 posts with this title.

If you check out my past posts you might be able to tell that these words came at times of extreme confusion. Times of immense uncertainty. Times where fear coated my core.

I still feel this way a lot. Not gonna lie. It is the human condition.

However, it is time I write about what “I Know.”

 

 

I know that true friendship is what makes me smile. I know that God hears my prayers. I know that I have a roof over my head and food on my plate. I know oxygen fills my lungs. I know joy can be found. I know love is a leap of faith away. I know uncertainty sucks but love rocks. I know fear is not from God. I know light always wins against darkness. I know that procrastination is my art form. I know that creativity always shows. I know that family is the foundation. I know that the Holy Spirit is present. I know  the difference between bad and good vibes. I know I have gallons of water. I know I have clean clothes. I know that I have an intellect. I know birds are beautiful creatures. I know the sun sets on all bad days. I know that good days make great memories. I know that memories are more important than money. I know that all loans will be paid. I know that true faith is awesome. I know that good people are awesome. I know that bad people are good people with a lot of fear. I know when love knocks open that door fast. I know a clean house is a clean mind. I know the world needs some encouragement. I know a lonely man is a sorrowful man. I know making friends is as easy as saying their name. I know books need to be read. I know naps bring about a new attitude. I know warm showers are always the answer. I know prayer is always the answer. I know to Praise Him. I know that the poor need love. I know that your parents need love. I know that the world needs a whole lot of love. I know motivation rests in your heart. I know you have the ability to use your talents wisely. I know you are ready. I know you love adventure. I know you enjoy peace. I know it is time. I know it is your time. I know you have some great ideas. I know you know the answer but you act like you don’t because you are scared. I know the world is scary but God’s will makes the earth tremble. I know life is short. I know love is eternal.

 

 

Literally. Just smile. 

At Church the other day a priest said something I thought was awesome. He was describing how everyone acts so bitter and down trotten all the time. There is such a lack of joy in the world. 

He said, “people walk around like they were baptized in vinegar.”

I laughed. Why? 

Because it is so true. 

And I know I am one of those people. 

We need to remind ourselves that we are baptized in living water. This is water that refreshes us. Wipes us clean. Gives us new strength every. Single. Day. 

So stop it. 

Yes. Just like that. STOP. 

Pick up your head. 

Put a smile on. 

And start believing in what you believe. 

Start loving others and living in the joy. 

Let go of self. Now. Not later. NOW. 

Have you ever jumped into a freezing pool of water? It is scary at first but after you feel so alive? Yeah? You need to jump in everyday. That jump is the courage to have joy in all things. 

I read an article today that said 20 minutes of positive thinking in a short amount of time can drastically change your brain chemistry. Guess what I am doing in my long shower tomorrow? 

Living water people. 

Not vinegar.

It begins this second. 

I’ve probably read every self-help book out there. I can spare you some time and let you know a little secret about all of them. They can give you tips but can’t do anything for you. If you want joy you must start living it. Being it. Remembering He is it. 

This world needs more joy. No excuses. It’s up to you now. Spread it all over the beautiful earth we are so lucky to be a part of. 

Joy is not feeling happy 24/7. 

 Joy is allowing yourself to be a window of Christ’s love and seeing that light transform the world. 

THAT kid

Everyone knows THAT kid in Church.

You know…the four or five year old toddler who always laughs during moments of quiet reflection?

The kid who likes to throw animal crackers at his or her little brother taking a nap in his mother’s arms?

The kid who runs through the pews as if the Church is a track?

The kid who pokes at his Mom’s face like she is made of play-doh?

Get the picture?  I’m sure you know THAT kid.  Right?

It does not matter what denomination you may be a part of, everyone seems to know THAT one kid in his or her Church.  If you are not a Christian, you still know THAT kid.  He or she likes to giggle loudly during the death scene at your favorite Broadway play.  He or she takes Mom’s phone and decides to watch a whole episode of a Spongebob next to you on the plane…without headphones.

So what gives kid?  Just from observing the expressions on the faces of people around me,  I notice that may people can get pretty frustrated with the havoc THAT kid creates.  It always seem to occur at the wrong place and at the wrong time.  

One seemingly wrong place is Church.

When the pastor, minister, or whoever is speaking that day, THAT kid decides to be the biggest distraction. E.V.E.R.

They start giggling.  They start jumping up and down.  They start making faces at you.

Usually, I start thinking thoughts such as:

  • “Hey parent? How about you just bring THAT kid to the back of the Church? Everyone is trying to concentrate!”
  • “Our Church definitely has a program to watch little children for this hour?!”
  • “Kid, can you just contain your random excitement for just a few minutes…let me just reflect for a second…seriously just a second”
  • “Ok, sweet, THAT kid seems pretty calm now.  The drawing looks great, keep it up!   NOOO NOOO STOPP get that marker away from my new shirt.

So obviously THAT kid is just not mature and does not understand what is means to worship Christ.

Actually, not quite.

Over the last couple of months, my frustration with the deviance little kids caused while in Church has shifted.

I have come to the conclusion that…THAT kid is above and beyond a more devote Christian than myself.

Wait, but THAT kid doesn’t seem to be living like Christ taught us?

In Matthew 19:15 Jesus makes this clear.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

After changing my perspective I noticed the ever presence these children have with the world.  I become frustrated because I need to concentrate…but do they?  No, they show Christ’s love just by being fully alive.  A key lesson I’ve taken away from all this is that maybe sometimes we just need to stop concentrating.  Maybe, just maybe, in order to listen to God and be surrounded by his presence we just have to sit back.  Not force it.  Let it come.

So what are some reasons that THAT kid is so special.

1.Constant Joy

The ups and downs of life never seem to take away THAT kids ever-present joy.  Happiness and joy are distinct.  Happiness is earthly so it comes and it goes.  Joy is eternal and is given to us through the Holy Spirit.  THAT kid is constantly emitting joy for just….existing.  I’ve seen little kids light up the room with a smile for absolutely no reason at all.  Nothing special happened to them.  They didn’t get a present or eat their favorite food.  They just smile.  This is the type of joy that should radiate from us with our faith in Christ.  Something we all need to strive for is seeking JOY in all areas of life.  THAT kid seems to have joy figured out.

2.Not Caring What Others Think

THAT kid does not care what you think.  He does not care what his friends think nor does he care about what his parents think (sorry parents).  He or she will do whatever they think needs to be done in that moment.  This is a key lesson to takeaway.  We are people that care so much about how others see us.  Sometimes we are to afraid to act in fear of embarrassment.  As Christians we are called to not care.  We are called to do what is necessary in the moment to be representatives of Christ’s love to the world.  This takes courage.  This takes strength.  THAT kid does not worry about the future.  He or she lives in the present moment without any doubts.  THAT kid shows us what it means to be fearless in action.

3. Loving Unconditionally

THAT kid is always loving unconditionally.  It may not appear that way at first, but if you look closely you may notice something remarkable.  Though he or she may constantly poke their little sister…a few moments later they will hug them so tight Mom gets worried.  Though he or she may run up and down the pews at Church, if they see someone who appears sad they will stop in their tracks and ask them what is wrong.  In these little acts, children seem to lose themselves.  The other individual becomes their whole world.  They are focused on others not themselves.

Jesus makes it clear to us in the Gospel passage that this is the way to live.  So, does this mean I can start acting like a little kid again?  Yes and no.  Instead of getting frustrated next time THAT kid makes a loud appearance during Church, remind yourself:

“Honestly, I should be more like THAT kid”