Don’t Drop the Key

I went on a run today. When I run, I usually have to hold onto my key. My pockets are usually not deep enough, and quite frankly they would definitely fall out.

So I clench my key in my sweaty hand.

We, humans, hold onto a lot of things tightly in our hands.

A lot of things that don’t really matter…

Such as anxiety, fear, mistrust, doubt. We clench onto all this stuff.

We need to let it all go and open our hands.

However, while running and holding my key for dear life, I was reminded of the fact that there is one thing we need to hold onto.

The Key that opens up Home.

When we are born we are all given a key. Through Baptism and our choices we decide if we want to hold onto this gift.

One day we are gonna have to hand over our key to God and He will open the gates and call us Home.

This key is the ability to enter into the Kingdom of God.

We must never forget that when life gets tough and we feel like we cannot go forward anymore.

Our purpose is to make it Home and enter through the gates.

We were given a key in our hearts.

So keep running, and don’t drop the key.

 

 

Girls Don’t Deserve Roses

I repost this every year because it is important. 

 

Valentine’s day cards, chocolate, teddy bears, and especially roses.

Lots of pink and red everywhere.

The first couple years of college, I thought about how special this day was for a lot of girls all over campus (some do not care much for it). I knew the feeling of being noticed and getting flowers meant so much to certain girls that did not have a special someone in their life. Even as a guy I can empathize. To be given gifts and to be noticed feels good.

Gifts demonstrate acknowledgement. 

Gifts illustrate that someone cares.

Gifts make us smile. 

Therefore, for the last couple of Valentine’s Days, I decided to give many of the girls in my life flowers. Cause why not right? Not necessarily in a romantic way (well, maybe a few) but just to show them that someone cared on this day. I loved seeing them smile. I loved making it a surprise. I loved letting them know someone was thinking about them on Valentine’s Day.

However, my attitude has changed this year.

This year I will not be buying flowers.

This year I have developed a new motto,

“Girls Don’t Deserve Roses.”

Before anyone gets angry at me…let me explain.

I am not anti-rose. I think flowers make a beautiful gift.

As I sit with friends and joke about the Bachelor, every once in a while a sadness strikes me. I observe all of these beautiful women stare at a single rose that some guy is holding. The way in which they stare is as if the rose is the last antidote and they are ill. When they do not receive the rose I can see their hearts shatter.

They feel rejected.

They feel lonely.

They feel like they messed up.

As I reflect on this, it is very much like Valentines Day. Some women in my life will feel hurt because they did not receive a flower or gift from a man in their life. Others may not care at all. However, to the one’s that it does impact they may feel as though they are not attractive. They may feel like something is wrong with them. They may even feel like they did something to deserve loneliness.

I am here to tell you today that girls do not deserve roses:

Girls deserve much much more.

As we see in the Beauty and the Beast roses die. Roses and other gifts are a great way to show appreciation but to me….that is too easy.

I want to and I hope all men want to live in such a way to show all the women in our lives that they deserve so much….every.single.day.

To all my women readers.

You are worth more than a few petals and a stem.

You are worth more than a few chocolates.

You are worth more than a nicely written card.

I encourage you to wait for a man who keeps on giving gifts. Each and every day.

The gift of treating you like a best friend. 

The gift of listening to you.

The gift of having deep conversations with you.

The gift of cheering you up.

The gift of being there for you, praying with you, praying for you, etc. 

 

Girls. You do not deserve roses. You do not even deserve a bouquet.

You deserve gifts that won’t wilt.

Ants in Your Pants

A couple months ago.

I was walking around my apartment when I saw it.

An ant.

The tiniest little guy squirming around on my floor.

So I got rid of him and went on my way.

A few moments later I look at the floor and see another one.

Then another one.

Then another one…

I can feel my blood pressure start to elevate.

Where are they coming from?

What are they doing in my apartment?

Why now?

Long story short, I had a lot planned for that day but I wasted it.

Those pesky ants effected me so much physiologically that I could not concentrate.

I slept thinking I felt something crawling on my legs.

I went out and bought traps.

When I studied in my apartment, I would see one, and that would be it.

The other day I realized something about my ant experience. It is very much like how I am effected by the small annoyances.

You see the big things don’t bother me. Medical emergencies, I envision myself pretty cool, calm, and collected. Speaking in front of a giant crowd? What a rush. Getting lost in a city, not a problem.

But a few ants, and I can’t think straight. Missing one question I should have gotten on a test and I feel like a failure. Saying the wrong thing to someone, and it spins around in my head all day. Thinking negatively about someone and I beat myself up with the guilt. Needing to get gas on a busy day, and I get really stressed. It’s the little things…the little ants, that can drive many of us away from peace.

So, what is one to do about it?

Recognize that the ant is there and move forward.

Put it into perspective.

It is just a minor annoyance in the grand scheme of life.

You have work that needs to be done.

If we start allowing the ants of daily life to grab our attention we will live our lives staring at the floor.

We have to make a choice. To choose our purpose rather than our distraction.

Recognize the power that you have; given to you by God.

You have a mission friend, don’t let the ants in your pants prevent you from living it boldly.

 

 

When you hug God

You walk towards Him.

He reaches out His arms to embrace you.

You lunge forward and hug Him with every ounce of your being.

Your fears melt. You are eternally safe.

Yet, you feel a sharp pinch on the side of your head.

You notice a thorn from His crown is hitting you.

You feel a pain in your side.

You feel just a bit of the lance which pierced Him.

Your feet resting on top of His, begin to sting.

At the touch of the nails driven into His feet.

Your hands holding His become red.

The burn of the nails in His hands, melts into yours.

The tighter you hug the more of His pain you feel.

You begin to know God and His love.

Yet, you call it suffering?

My friend, this is a gift.

To walk the way of the cross with God.

 

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.

 

Do you have a screw loose?

Yesterday, after going for a walk, I see a giant box outside my door.

What did I order?

As I get closer I realize that it is a new chair.

This is my last semester of medical school basic sciences. Basically, this means in May I have a test called the USMLE that plays a big factor in what type of doctor I can be. With that being said, this semester calls for a lot more studying than usual. I wanted a chair that would allow me to study for long periods without feeling like I got hit by a train.

I opened the chair and realized that the chair needed to be built. Great. Reading and following directions have never been something I do very well. I started using the tools given and placing the screws where they needed to be. I had to unscrew them and redo it because I put the base of the chair on backwards!

The process was not going very well.

 

 

Eventually, I asked my fiancee for help. Yes, I definitely did feel humbled. After we finished we had one screw left. However, the way the chair was assembled it was impossible to put the screw in. The two holes would not line up. After some time trying it was either rebuild the whole chair (hours!) or leave it. The chair was still sturdy. It could function as any chair would.

However, it was just missing one screw.

Later my fiancee said something to me that struck me.

“The chair is like people. If we focus on our missing screw we will never be able to do our purpose. However, just because we are missing a screw does not mean we cannot do what we are meant to do in this life.”

We all have our missing/loose screws. Areas in our lives that we are ashamed of. Aspects of our personality or character that we wish would change.

This story is a reminder to not lose heart. You can be missing a screw and still pursue your God given purpose.

Focus on your goals not your unfilled holes.

Why I Love Her

Relationships teach you a lot about yourself.

The good one’s teach you about where you fall short and what to do about it.

A solid relationship is built on growth.

Not on personal growth, but on helping the other to be the best version of themselves.

A year and a half ago I was blessed to start dating someone who would do just that for me. Someone who has killed off my vices day after day.

Most of all, she has brought me closer to my King.

Reminding me of His goodness, in every single moment.

Here are 3 reasons why I love her.

Hopefully, you have found or will find someone that can love you in this way.

1.Christ in everything

I had a tendency. To get uncomfortable when Jesus is brought up in conversation’s that are not really about religion. Give me a beer or a coffee and a table and I can talk theology all day and night. However, when asked about my day I never seem to bring up what God has done for me. It was uncomfortable for me to recognize Christ in the littlest of moments. Why? Because I was hiding from the reality. The reality that my prayer life needed changing. The reality that my focus needed shifting. The reality that life was not all about me. She reminds me daily that the words of the mouth, come from the heart.

2. Smile Through the Pain

Life is hard. Most days I have fishing weights attached to either side of my lips, preventing my smile. She taught me to smile in all circumstances. To be even more grateful in the pain. To be transformed by the joy that is God. We are called to rejoice always. Always. In all circumstances. It is a skill as well as a virtue. One must foster the gift of gratitude.

3. Unconditional Acceptance

I have a lot of flaws. I might need a whole room of people to count on their fingers and toes. I am human flaws and all. However, the feeling of inadequacy runs deep in my core. She reminds me daily that no matter how much I mess up I am stilled loved. This unites me with the message spoken through the Gospel that I always neglect to hear. God loves me unconditionally. He cares for me. He always accepts me as I am.

If you are just starting a relationship or looking for someone I encourage you to seek an individual with these qualities. Someone who makes everything about God, proclaims gratitude, and accepts you unconditionally.

Now, it is your turn.

To do the same.

Happy 1.5 B

The Anchor Inside Each of Us

There are situations in life, where fleeing seems ideal.

It may be at the podium, when giving a talk to a giant crowd.

It may be, when flipping over the exam and looking at question 1.

It may be, when sitting in a doctors office waiting for the results.

Everything in our very core shouts at us to flee.

Our earthy vessels demand me pace, internally ruminate, leave the scene, and hide.

However, we are called for something different.

Within each of us their is an Anchor.

This Anchor is Christ Himself.

An anchor holds a ship. Whenever the waves crash and winds do all they can to move the vessel, the anchor holds it into place.

The anchor is the roots that stem from the oak tree.

Without an anchor, the boat is subject to all of the external forces.

The waves carry it where they want. The winds push it where they want.

We are very much like these little boats.

Some days we may feel tossed around. Dunked under. Pushed by the wind.

This is when we must remember the Anchor within ourselves.

We must turn to Christ in our hearts and stand firm. Hold your ground with confidence.

When you step up to the podium, remember Christ has you tied down to the ocean floor.

When you open that exam book, remember Christ is right next to you.

When sitting in the doctors office, remember that Christ is the divine Physician.

Let us all remember the Anchor within our very hearts. Each of us had the ability to look within and shout. I am secure. I am safe. I am confident in God’s mercy and providence.

Life give me a storm. I am not afraid. I am ready.

 

 

I Cried for a Different Reason

I am 23.

Jesus has been my Lord and my Savior since my earliest memory.

I was raised in a family that valued going to Mass every Sunday.

Every. Sunday.

And I did.

And when I was younger I was not the most fond of it. I remember my mother telling me, “When you are older, you will appreciate it.”

In college is when the appreciation grew. But first I turned a bit away. The nightly prayers my family fostered in me, which I always said before midnight, seemed to be less important when I was talking to a girl. I still went to Church, but my prayer life suffered. In college I used a lot of excuses. Whether that be my workload, my sleep schedule, etc. I told myself that going to Church on Sunday and reading theological works (which I love to do) was enough.

Over the past year, my prayer life has improved, but not because I necessarily chose it. Circumstances changed, and I was on my own. I hit a lot of walls and Christ was my only hope. I spent a lot of nights crying, hoping my tears would drown out my problems. I never before understood Christ’s experience at the agony in the Garden; however, I was given a little glimpse of it.

As a Christian, I cannot firmly believe in Jesus if I do not acknowledge all the evil.

Last week, as I wrote in the old blog post, I dealt with a spiritual battle.

A battle I had never experienced before.

Doubts about my faith literally were like canon balls to my gut.

My faith felt like it had become a single dew drop in the desert.

I was freaking petrified.

So in this, I continued to do what I thought was necessary.

I went to Mass.

I read and read and read spiritual books.

Hoping to discern an answer to all my woes.

At the end of the week, with the help of my Christ-filled girlfriend, I came across a passage that allowed me to look back and see my issue.

Matthew 10:39 ( a passage I had read tons of times before this moment)

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

All this time.

The past 23 years.

I was doing nothing but try to find my life.

I was doing all I needed to do in school in order to get where I needed to go.

I was talking to all these girls to try to make a future family for myself.

I was trying to find answers to all my anxieties, fears, and dreams to build a secure life.

And all this finding was leading to nothing but loss.

So, what to do next?

Lose my life? What does that look like?

It looks like a whole lot of prayer. Prayer is turning your mind away from your physical body outward. It is an escape through conversation with God.

It looks like a whole lot of trust. Trust that all this bad God is using for my good. Trust that Jesus Christ is mercy itself.

It looks like a whole lot of love. Small daily sacrifices for others. Self-love by forgetting myself. Loving God with a continuous overflowing heart. In every moment loving God for the moment.

Friends, I hope this small post can have a giant impact on your heart.

Let go of YOUR life today and allow God to fill it with His grace and mercy.

Pray, trust, and love.

Cultivate a relationship with Christ.

If you do this, your tears of fear, uncertainty, and doubt will turn into tears of utter joy and love.

You will begin to cry for a different reason.

It’s All Good

 

In my house above one of the doors there is a sign that reads,

God’s got a plan, and it’s all good.

It’s a nice little slogan.

Looking at it usually gives me a surge of peace.

It is a call to action: trust in God.

In reference to the Bible it probably relates to Romans 8:28.

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” ROMANS 8:28. 

This past year for me was not really what I expected it to be.

I had a lot of troubles enter into my life that I did not understand.

I had a lot of moments where I felt like Lt. Dan from Forest Gump as he shouted at God while on the fishing boat in the middle of the storm.

Lt. Dan Loud Conversation with God link

Like Lt. Dan, I did not understand. I could not grasp why my life was turning out such a way.

Thoughts flooded my mind…

Why was I in this situation? 

When would I have hope again?

Where was God going with this?

I am sure you have found yourself stuck in the middle of such a storm and confused about God’s plan for your life.

Humanity and confusion basically mean the same thing haha.

With this confusion, can come a lot of anger and bitterness.

For me this was visible in how I viewed my Creator.

I started to see God just as Lt. Dan did. I saw God as a coach forcing me to do as many sprints as I could to become stronger. I saw God as a military leader doing all he could to train me to become a warrior.

While I do believe God does exemplify some of these traits, I was missing the largest piece of all.

The mercy of Our Lord.

Surely God was their through my trials, yet I viewed Him as the cause rather than the comfort

Thinking about this now is extremely sad for me.

My perception of my Lord was stained all because of fear and pride.

My way had to be the right way.

My way must be the best for me.

My way was what I worked towards.

How often, in your life, have similar thoughts filled your mind?

So what are we to do?

We are to remember, Romans 8:28.

We are to remember that God is not the cause but He is the comfort.

In Him all trials, pains, suffering, and fear can be transformed into gift.

For this to happen, we must humble ourselves.

Look courageously towards Heaven.

And remember our way is not the right way.

Because God has got a plan, and it is alllllllll goooood.