“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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She Held My Hand

Have you woken up in the morning and felt like you must have swam across the Atlantic in your sleep?

When your feet touch the floor, you catch yourself from falling over?

Your eyelids decide to stay partially closed and the shower does not help?

I felt exactly like this when I woke up today.

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Well, this morning I had Church at 8am.

My four hours of sleep wasn’t really cooperating with me.

But, thankful, I made it to Church and prayed for some energy to take part in the celebration of God’s awesomeness.

However, as the music played my eyelids became heavy. For the next 30 minutes I did everything in my power to fight it. My eyelids were bench pressing air and not successfully. Since I go to school far away from home, I usually am in Church alone. Therefore, I didn’t have one of my siblings or parents to give me the oh so gentle nudge with their elbow.

I was zoning in and out of during the Scripture readings.

I heard the priests homily and probably dozed off for a few seconds in between sentences.

I was not only tired, but extremely anxious.

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I had a restlessness embedded in my limbs.

I had feelings of fear.

I had feelings of uncertainty.

I was being consumed with negative self-talk.

It eventually came time in the Mass for the Our Father prayer. 

In some Churches people may hold hands, especially families.

But between strangers, it is rare.

As the prayer begins I am still in my head. I am not present. I am restless. I am doubtful. I am uncertain. I am scared. I feel terrible. I feel alone.

All of a sudden, as I’m putting my cold hand into my sweatshirt sleeve, I feel something grab it.

I look up, and see a woman in her late 60s, sitting two seats away from me.

She had the most peaceful smile I have ever seen before.

It was as if a force knocked me over.

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It was as if I was lost and found.

It was as if my heart began beating with a greater force.

The moment she grabbed my hand I felt the weight melt away. My eyelids were no longer heavy. I was filled with energy. I felt a lightening bolt of peace.

When the prayer came to the end, I noticed myself hesitating to let go of her hand.

I felt I belonged. I felt out of my own head. I felt freedom.

As I was praying before Communion, her action was really getting to me.

I start to tear up.

The small act of love this woman showed me today, gave me all I needed. She reached out to a man who was alone, and reminded him of how much he is loved. Grabbing my hand was not the comfortable thing to do.

She chose to be uncomfortable so I would be comfortable.  

This woman did not pay off all my students loans. She did not heal me of all my past hurt. Nor did she comfort me for hours with her words.

 

This morning gave me a lot of insight.

It reminded me that love is the energy. By receiving and giving love we are made new.

It reminded me of how many good people are out there.

It reminded me that being comfortable and a Christian doesn’t make much sense.

It reminded me that the smallest acts of love may make the greatest impact.

It reminded me that my neighbor is waiting for me. To hold his or her hand. To let them know I am here. To let them know that I care.

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She held my hand.

And because of that act.

I witnessed the reckless love of God. 

 

 

 

 

100 words to fill you with zeal.

I know life is hard. But know, you are built to break down walls. You were made to conquer with love. I know you are sad. But you have joy resting in your veins and peace sleeping in your mind. You are strong. Braver than a front line soldier. You face your day with a sword made of trust and a shield crafted with confidence. The morning sunrise is your battle cry. The night stars are your spectators. You plant flowers of compassion and shout echoes of empathy. Today is not your day. All days are your day. Go now.  

 

*Follow me on Instagram @n.J.bellacicco

 

 

The Purse Lady

I was in Church last week.

Placed on the seat next to me was a purse. The lady  who owned the purse was two seats away.

The choir started singing and just like that Church had started. Maybe, ten minutes into the start a couple walked in and the usher pointed to the seat next to me and the seat with the purse. Immediately, the purse lady  waved her hand to stop the couple saying she was saving it for someone. Everyone in the Church was staring. They were starting to make a scene. The wife told her husband to sit down next to me and she would sit somewhere else. She was obviously very annoyed at the lady so called “saving the seat.”

I talked with the lady about to leave her husband and told her to take my seat. I moved and just like that all was okay with the world. However, throughout my time in Church I watched as the purse remained on that seat.

No one came.

I could still feel tension between the couple and the lady sitting with the purse. We were all probably thinking the same thing. Was someone actually going to sit there? Or was she just being rude? Even if someone was going to sit there Church had already been going on for quite some time. This person could have just found another seat.

Then I had a realization. 

My immediate thought was that the purse-lady was a mean person.

My default was that she was selfish

My instincts shouted at me that she was not to be trusted.

Why do we do this?

Everyday our default in this world is that the OTHER person is wrong. The OTHER person is rude. The OTHER person is not smart. The OTHER person is causing trouble.

I hate that.

I want to see people the way Christ sees people.

So I challenged myself.

Why might this purse-lady have been saving this seat?

I made a mental list.

  1. She was waiting for a friend who promised to be there.
  2. She is claustrophobic
  3. She is too old to pick up her purse from the floor
  4. She was waiting for her husband who never comes with her. Praying this time would be different.
  5. She was too overweight/had bad knees so it was difficult to bend down and get her purse.
  6. She had something valuable in the purse and did not want to let it out of her sight.
  7. She had medications in the purse she needed to access quickly.
  8. She was fearful of getting sick so she wanted some space.
  9. She was waiting for her son/daughter to come for the first time.
  10. She was sick and didn’t want anyone sitting so close to her.
  11. etc. etc. etc.

That is when it hit me.

Look at all those justifiable reasons why she did what she did.

Friends, let us start making these lists.

Taking a deep breath.

And changing our default setting to something more positive.

And even if this women was just plain rude.

Maybe, by treating her with love and respect it would change her heart for the better.

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Where am I going? What am I leaving behind? Did I mess up? Have I finished all that I started? Have I even started? Why do I feel so alone yet so loved? Am I scared? Is fear ruling my life? Did I tell her all I needed to say? Why do I imagine my problems weighing me down? Aren’t uncertainties just part of the adventure? Am I overthinking? Where am I going? What am I leaving behind? Am I good enough? Did I tell him I don’t agree with what he is doing? How can I help him? What is in store for me in 10 days? 1 year? 10 years? When is the next time I will see my friends? Am I living the will of God? What is God’s will? Why do I have a headache? Why do we cry? When is the last time I cried? Why don’t I just man up? What does it mean to be a man of God? Am I a man of God? Why don’t I pay attention and stop writing in class? Will I even remember this class in a week? A year? Why do I see the truth when it’s too late? Is it ever too late? Why am I late for class? If I trust God, is my life not in His timing? Where does God want me? Where am I going? What am I leaving behind? Why am I so thirsty? Why am I blessed to have clean cold water? Why me? How can I pray for these people? Do I pray enough? Do I talk more than I listen? What is my solid ground? Who is my solid ground? Do I love God only when I feel Him near me? Why are some conversations so hard? Is deep conversation between persons lost? Why can’t I express how I feel? Why does it take so long? Am I impatient? Why don’t I stop being so emotional? Is it emotion or just the world screaming at me to act? Is emotion a bad thing? Where am I going? What am I leaving behind? Why are my sneakers tied yet I don’t know where to run? Why am I so self-centered? What is humility? Can it be taught? Is pride my GPS? Do others feel the same? Is heartache like bench press for the heart? Will it give me stronger love? Am I even confused? Why do we meet people at certain times? Why am I not hungry? Why am I famished? Why am I tired? Why am I hyper? Why can’t I focus? Why does this coffee taste like dirt? Why am I still drinking it? Why am I complaining when people are suffering eating dirt? How can I see the hurt in their eyes when I’m comfortable? Can I help heal the world? What is my purpose? Where am I going? What am I leaving behind? Am I ready? Ready to do what I think is right? Ready to commit to my morals? Ready to trust? Ready to take initiative?

Ready to act? 

Maybe?

I think so.

No, I don’t think so.

I know so.

I’m ready. 

___________________________

Dear readers, 

      I will be taking a break from my writing. I have a lot to reflect on as the end of the school year is approaching. I ask that you send prayers my way and ask Christ to send me peace in uncertainty. I have some difficult choices to make and I am praying that my choices are attuned to His will. 

     The above post is part II of the “I.Just. Don’t. Know.” series. If this work resonates with you I encourage you to check out my older post. Once again thank you all for your kind words and encouragement. Keep the faith. I’ll be praying for you.  

Love you guys,

Nick Bellacicco

 

 

Noticing You Noticing me

The last few weeks (more like months) I have been really stressed/anxious/fearful.

     Why?

I have no idea what my future holds.

I have no idea what state I will be living in next year.

I have no idea if I will find good friends.

When I talk to others about my future I appear confident. I act like I have everything under control.

But.

The more this semester goes on the more I realize control is something I never will have in this life.

Waiting to hear from medical schools has been a painful process for me.

Waiting for a phone call.

Waiting for an email.

Thinking….

Am I good enough?

Did they like me in the interview?  

Maybe, I should have done more?

While this idea can be applied to my medical school process, I’m sure many of you understand this feeling. Waiting makes us think. We see so many roads we could travel on and look to God for guidance. We pray. We ask for help. We seek peace.

When I was younger I would ask for the good ole fashion sign from God. I wanted a hand written note sent from Him, preferably delivered by dove, to land into my lap.

The older I have become the more I understand that God does not work that way.

However, throughout the last few months I have noticed something.

Because I have been so down.

Because I have been so uncertain.

Because I have been so confused.

I have looked to God so much more. Because of this I have noticed things that I have never noticed before. I would not call them signs…but reminders. Reminders that He is there.

I have noticed Him noticing me.

Let me explain.

1. Dining Hall

A few weeks ago, I was feeling really lost. It was one of those days when you roll out of bed already confused as to what you need to do that day. I was behind on work. I had 5,000 different scenarios about my future running through my head like a movie reel. I made my way to the dining hall to grab food. Maybe, sitting down and eating would give me peace of mind. Food always does make me feel better. All of a sudden I was walking past a quote I have seen at least once a week for two years now. It had meant nothing to me. To be honest I do not think I ever really stopped and thought about it.  However, this time I was taken a back. I read it over a few times. Smiled. He noticed me.

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2. Angel Pin

I was ready to make the drive to DFW Airport. It was the start of spring break. I had not had the best night’s sleep for the past couple nights. I got in my car and hoped their would be no traffic and I would have a safe drive. As a northeastern boy an almost two hour drive is kind of long (it’s nothing for my Texas friends). Doing that drive alone, can get really really boring. Furthermore, doing that drive alone provides a place for a lot of overthinking. I started the car and made the two hour drive. I prayed that everything would go smoothly. As expected I was stressed out the entire ride lost in my own thought. Even the new Ed Sheeran album was not helping (surprising right?!). When I finally made it to the airport I shut off the car thankful I made it there safely. I took a deep breath and looked up. At that moment I noticed a pin stuck near the light inside my car. I have had this car since August and have never noticed it there. I smiled. He noticed me.

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3. Church

Two days ago I went to Church with my family. This is a Church I have been attending since I was about five. After Church, we had a coffee hour in the Church hall. I scarfed down a few donuts (maybe more than a few) and drank my coffee. After a while I saw my family heading out the door. Looking for the garbage, I walked over and threw out my trash. I saw a sign right over the garbage that said,

                           PRAYER CHANGES THINGS

This small sign had been there for years. Yet, now it means so much more. I smiled. He noticed me.

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God does not send carrier doves with our futures written on scrolls.

God does not give us a call on our phones.

God does not send us emails.

However, he does send us mini rainbows everyday. To remind us that He is there. He notices us.

God, I notice You noticing me.

And because of that, I have peace.