Love is the energy

I have yet to find the perfect balance. You know, the balance between just enough caffeine and having my hands turn into cell phones as they vibrate from the tremors.

 

 

I honestly don’t even know why I drink the stuff. Well, for the “energy.” I guess thats one way to see it. Or maybe its just that I’m addicted to the feeling of the warm coffee in the morning.

Energy. Getting things done. Moving forward with work. It’s freaking tough.

Sometimes, life can just get drab. Yes, I like that word “drab.”

In these drab moments it’s hard to pick ourselves up and move forward. It takes so much effort to see the end goal in sight. Our legs become beams of lead and our eyes seem to drift off away from precisely what we need to be doing.

How do I get more energy?

Where is my zeal? 

Why can’t I get this done now?

These are questions I ask myself and I am sure you ask yourself. We get so frustrated in ourselves because the tasks we need to finish are not getting done. Our goals, our future, our responsibilities are in our hands and we are not succeeding. Discouragement comes next. Then maybe a social media break or two or three. It’s a vicious cycle.

This is a common problem I have noticed in my life. It shows it ugly face when I am focused on myself in my tasks. When looking in I have zero energy. Meaning, when My schoolwork, and My tests, and My homework need to get done I lose all the zeal. There is no love in the task. It just feels like a waste of time.

However, when changing the focus, it becomes easier to focus.

This is a simple habit we can develop when studying for exams, doing homework, or really anything.

 

We need to put love into everything we do and the energy will come.

It might be as simple as offering up the pains of your studying for a family member or a friend as a prayer. If you are a healthcare student, it may be thinking about all the patients you will help in the future.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Dorothy Day. It may seem intense at first but really meditate on the truth of it.

“No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.”

Friends, it is time to rid yourself of the lie of discouragement. Focus on the love in the task and offer it up as a prayer. Do not be hopeless, but in all that you do exude zeal.

 

You Can Run and Bleed at the Same Time

I just started my run.

My test was in a few days.

47 chapters of material.

Yes, 47.

My head was full of a lot besides medical jargon.

Emotions of stress, anger, frustration, flooded my veins.

So, naturally it was time to blow off some steam and run.

Run fast.

Towards the start of my run, I could feel the adrenaline pumping.

Then all of a sudden.

Ouch.

I didn’t know what happened. Did I trip?

Why  was  I on the ground?

I looked at my hands and they were covered in blood. My right elbow was scraped pretty clean. My right knee had a gash as well.

What do I do now?

I had a choice at this point. Should I finish the two mile run, or head back home which would take a minute or two?

Keep going. 

So I did. And I ran the two miles.

As cars passed me, they watched a guy running full speed with blood dripping from each limb.

When I finished the run, I noticed how the blood dripped across the ring on my right hand that is the three theological virtues, “faith, hope, love.” It was a reminder that in order to live a Christ like life we must make sacrifices.

One of the coolest moments I had during this run was the message from God,

You can run and bleed at the same time.”

I have a bad habit.

I seem to notice the blood in my life a lot. The wounds, the scars, the trauma, and the fears become my focus. Because of this I stop running (living presently). I focus so much on the blood in my wounds that I end up not achieving my goal. I allow the suffering (bleeding) of the day to take lead and cause a pause in my pursuit.

I am sure many of you experience the same problem. Our wounds become our identity and our only reality, so we forget the importance of the path we are on. We allow the devil to consume us in an inner dialogue that prevents us from loving those around us in the present moment.

I want to encourage you to not let the suffering of this life deter you from running the race.

Focus on Christ at the end of your journey and the pain will start to disappear.

Sure, the wounds may still be there.B

But these are wounds only Heaven can heal.

When the focus changes…

so does your heart.

The Sun in the Sad Times

This morning I had class at 7:30.

Last night, I stayed up way too late, so naturally I felt like my sheets were bricks as I woke up this morning.

I basically crawled my way to the shower, got dressed, and left.

Leaving a little early to beat the traffic, I saw the most beautiful sunrise.

The picture at the top does not even do it justice.

I was blown away by the beauty.

God was present. I was present with Him. What an awesome start to the day.

Then I started to think.

In order to see such a gift, I had to wake up feeling like death.

I had to push the feelings of my humanity away, and move forward.

By doing this I was able to be a part of the sunrise.

This is exactly what we are called to do with our suffering on this earth. We are to use it as a stimulus to grow deeper in faith, hope, and love through utter perseverance.

In the darkness of the morning we must remain hopeful for the rising of the sun.

 

 

Procrastinating by Looking Up How to Not Procrastinate

Motivation. We all are looking for it.

Praying, when we sit down to do our work the Lord will come down and fill us with a zeal for what we are doing.

Sometimes, it happens.

The room temperature is perfect.

The coffee is soothing the soul.

The hum of rain sets the perfect background noise.

However, for me anyway, this is pretty rare.

The motivation to sit down and get done what I need to is more than hard.

It feels like a battle. A constant battle between fidgeting my legs, doing something more fun, eating more food, checking my phone, calling someone, legit anything.

A lot of times when this is the case, I procrastinate by looking up ways to not procrastinate!

All of my procrastination searches, lead to absolutely one thing.

More procrastination, and absolutely nothing else.

Which is kind of unfortunate.

However, if I can sum up my findings it is this.

“Act, and God will act”

-St.Joan of Arc

 

All to often, we allow the difficulty of starting a task prevent us from having an opportunity for God to work in our lives.

God comes to us in times of need and gives us all that we need.

How do we expect Him to give us a zeal to do our work well, when we do not even begin?

Therefore, we have one obligation.

The duty to start.

Then it is not our problem anymore.

God will take care of it.

This “giving of the task” to God is like a ball rolling down a hill.

All we have to do is give the ball (the task) a slight push and God will take it where it needs to go.

God works in our lives like the hill.

Once we let go, and give the slightest push, our task will reach its completion.

Therefore, stop procrastinating by finding ways to stop procrastinating.

ACT. And I promise you, God will act. Trust in His power.

 

 

The Stranger Who Changed My Life

Have you ever felt your life change in but an instant? Most of you may know what I am talking about.

Maybe, the moment a loved one passed away?

Or, the moment you fell in love with your future spouse?

Possibly, when you won an award for something?

Those moments are great and all, but they are not what I am going to talk about today.

Today, I want to talk about a micro moment. A micro moment is such a small event it may seem insignificant. However, micro moments continue to change my life everyday. They may mean nothing to the friend or stranger that spoke or acted, but they significantly impacted my life.

Here is one of my micro-moments:

The Patient 

At my medical school, we have fake patient encounters. This allows us to practice the clinical side of medicine. Towards the end of my first semester, I had a fake clinical encounter scheduled. The entire first semester I faced a lot of adversity. I was at a school I did not intend on going to. I had not found many friends. I was struggling to keep up academically with my peers. I did not have much support. And day in and day out I was reminded that I was not good enough. I thought about quitting every night. It would be so easy wouldn’t it?

It is time for my patient encounter. I knock on the door and have a patient who apparently is experiencing burning sensation in his chest. I started the exam and ask him exactly where the pain is located. I talk to him like I would with any other patient, but he stops me midway through taking his patient history.

My first thought was that I royally screwed up.

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Patients are not supposed to break out of character during these encounters.

It is a no no.

So, for him to do this I must have said or done something pretty bad.

He starts shaking his head.

My palms start to get very sweaty.

My heart rate is elevated.

He looks me dead in the eyes and says,

“You have ******* potential kid.”

 

Shocked by his compliment I did not know what to say.

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Over the entire first semester, positive words were not what my ears were used to hearing.

The man continued to explain why he thought I would make an excellent doctor.

This conversation lasted a minute or so and that was it.

I never saw the man again.

But, this micro moment changed my life. 

In my bedroom, above the light switch, is an index card with this man’s praise. His comment to me, on that random day in November, gave me the hope in myself that I was missing. He could have just gave me a good score and moved on with it.

But no.

He stopped me dead in my tracks and filled me with encouragement.

He told me to fulfill what I was meant to do.

He saw a future me that I did not think existed.

 

It is our duty to create these micro moments for the friends and strangers around us.

 

Let us always remember this today, and live a life of love and encouragement.

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

Tear Up My Textbook

 

It was late. I was really tired. Maybe it was 1 am or 2 or 3. I can’t remember. What I do remember is that I was stressed out. I could feel my heart rate thumping like fast paced EDM. I had to get out of the library.  Maybe a change in scenery would help? AKA the biggest lie I could have told myself.

My test was the next day, but the more I read the textbook the less prepared I felt.

Come on. Focus. You can’t mess this up. 

I threw open the library doors and sighed.  It was a beautiful night, but I did not really care.  I did not see the bright stars just an imaginary digital clock lighting up the sky.

11 hrs 30 min LEFT

Having no time to lose, I ran over to my bike and tried to unchain it. With my biology book in one hand and my “freshman year of college lack of muscle tone” I could not get my bike off the rack. It was wedged between the bike’s of fellow late night procrastinators.

I tried a few more times and it was useless. I just couldn’t finagle it out of there. All my anger, fear, frustration, and uncertainty consumed me at that moment. I thought about all the school work I had. I thought about all the laundry I had to get done. I thought about that girl I wanted to ask out. I thought about where I was going to get food the next morning. I thought about making more friends. I thought about….o yeah…THE TEST.

I had the textbook in my hand and I…..I was ready.

 

Ready to destroy it. 

 

So, I gripped it tightly ready to bash it against the asphalt.

I was done.

I was fed up.

I was nervous.

I was scared. 

I was frustrated. 

About to lift it over my head…I was stopped.

I heard a voice.

A girl’s voice.

Do you need any help? 

 

I had not seen anyone around me. Where did she come from? Who was she? Does she know me?

Before I could ask any of these questions she came over and within seconds the bike was off the rack. And just like that…

she was gone. 

 


 

This story has had a huge impact on my life. It always reminds me how such a simple act can change the perspective of someone’s life forever.  The girl in the story had no reason to help me. She probably had a lot of tests that week as well. She was most likely nervous about something. She most likely missed a few extra minutes of sleep to help me out.

Yet, in that minute or so she reminded me not to let the anxieties and frustrations of life cause me to forget the people around me.

I once told a professor this story and he asked me if I believed in angels. I do believe in angels and maybe she was an angel. I can tell you I never saw her again on campus. The moment she left I could not remember her face.

Or maybe she wasn’t. Maybe she was just a girl that saw a young guy struggling and went out of her way to lend a helping hand. In my book, that is an angel as well.

I know this week is full of tests.

I know you are stressed.

I know you are frustrated.

I know you are scared.

However, I encourage you to always be on the lookout for those on campus, in the store, at home, etc. who are also feeling the same way. You never know how much of an impact you can have on them. The girl in my story not only stopped me from destroying a very overpriced Biology book but she did much more.

She showed me that when I am hurting people care.

She showed me what it means to love others no matter the time or the place.

She showed me to never lose hope.

 

Be someone’s angel this week.

 

“We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.”

-Luciano De Crescenzo

 

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Pool Noodle

Days ago, I had a huge lab examination for anatomy class. Like any typical college student I procrastinated. You would think after four years I would learn. Nah, it obviously makes life more exciting. However, it was about 1 in the morning and I was exhausted. I had stayed up really REALLY late almost every night the week before and gotten up really REALLY early.

Why?

Cause college.

Anyway, at that point I still had a lot to memorize for anatomy, but I knew I could not absorb anything. I was dead tired. I laid down in my bed and set my alarm to 5:30am.

I had no choice. Wake up or do bad on the test. As a pre-med student, I would wake up. However, because I had gotten so little sleep I knew waking up would be nearly impossible. I would be fighting a battle against my flesh that I was not expecting to win. Getting up when you are exhausted is like going into a battle and the only weapon to your name is a pool noodle. I am sure you will confuse the enemy, but after a few seconds you are toast.

So, I sat in bed and thought, “I can’t do this. Only God can do this.”

I prayed fervently for a few minutes asking God to help me get up on time the next morning. I prayed that God give me the strength and courage to get out of bed and tackle the day. Towards the end of my prayer, I fell asleep.

The next morning I woke up. I had forgotten of my prayer the night before. What time was it? I felt so great. Was I supposed to get up early? All of the “just woke up” thoughts were flooding my mind. I was delirious. Quickly, I sat in bed thinking. Surely I missed my alarm and got a great (but way to long) night of sleep. Now, how am I supposed to learn all this material in such a short time?

My thoughts were immediately interrupted by the sound of my alarm.

What was going on?

I jumped out of bed to shut it off and looked at the alarm.

5:30am

I had woken up a minute before the alarm went off. I felt way to amazing. It was unreal.

When I was in the shower I continued to think about how refreshed I felt.

I never. ever. ever. felt that great. My pool noodle this morning had turned into excalibur.

Immediately, I remembered my prayer from the night.

“Wow,” I thought. “God is so good!”

I then had a smile on my face that nothing was going to take away.

God is always with me.

God hears my prayers.

God understands.

God He….He listens. 

However, a few seconds later a few doubts started roaring in my mind.

The human body can do crazy things.

Maybe, you just trained yourself to wake up at that time. 

Maybe, you just weren’t that tired. 

Maybe, you ended your sleep cycle at the perfect time.

Maybe, it was a coincidence. 

The smile that was on my face began to fade. Why was I having these doubts?

This experience reminded me that it is not about having the doubts but if we listen to them. If we treat them as important.

I remember reading a quote from St. Pio. He discussed the idea of having thoughts as being at a train station. Everyone is going to see the doubts and fears like trains at a train station. However, the difference is whether or not you hop on the train.

Friends, today I encourage you to understand that doubts are not a defect in your faith. We will all have them. However, it is important to decide not to hop on the trains but rather remain in the train station. One day a train will come that will lead us to paradise.

In conclusion, it is very easy to discount the workings of our Creator. The devil is active in the world trying to worry us and lead us away from Christ with doubts and deception. It is important to remember that the way in which we look at a situation determines everything. Faith is not going to be easy. Sometimes, it may feel like all we have is a pool noodle to fight against the doubts we have about ourselves.

I remind you that what you may see as a pool noodle may very well be an excalibur in disguise.

 

 

 

 

I.Just.Don’t.Know.

Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Are these people good for me? Are these people bad for me? What is a friend? Am I a good friend? Do I tell my friends I love them enough? Why am I so mean to those I love? What is love? If God is love, why don’t I love Him enough? Do I love anyone enough? Where am I going? Why am I here? Is my calling really my calling? Am I deceiving myself? Do people like me? Is my hair messed up? Did I say the right thing to her? Did I speak from my heart or my brain? Who am I? Did I just say that? Did I just think that? Why don’t I care enough? Why am I so tired? Am I lonely? Am I afraid? Why am I afraid if He is right here? Is He right here? Yes, He is, but why are you questioning? Why is this class so hard? Why am I so stressed? Did I make him upset? Did I pray today? Did I pray at all the last week? If God is my #1 priority why do I give Him the least time? Am I a hypocrite? Am I a Pharisee? If, I’m not hot….I must be lukewarm? Did I leave the iron on? Why is my room such a mess? Why am I such a mess? When do I intervene when I see wrong? Why is he doing that he knows better? Who am I to judge? Why didn’t I cry…I should have cried? Am I hurting? Is it okay to be hurting? Do I show my family enough love? Do I just follow the motions? Am I selfish? Am I jealous of others? Does the good I do outweigh the bad? Am I bad? What good do I do? Do I act when I should? Do I care about the poor? What is heaven like? Will I get there one day? When I see my life before my eyes will I cry? Of sadness? Of happiness? Of anger? Why is it so hot in this room? How many hours of sleep are necessary? Will I ever get married? What will she be like? Will I have kids? Boys? Girls? Maybe, I will be sterile? Maybe, my wife will be sterile? Will I adopt? Do I care to much about being in a romantic relationship? Does that count as lust? Does that count as pride? Am I humble? Do I have a relationship with God? Do I read the Bible enough? Am I a hypocrite? Why can’t I cry? What do I even need to look for in a potential spouse? Are my prayers heard? Why is this seat so uncomfortable? What will I get on my Anatomy test Tuesday? Why does my heart race when I am taking a test? Why am I so nervous? Why do my hands shake when I ask her out? Gosh, why are my palms so sweaty? Why am I scared of people? Why am I so afraid of connecting? Am I afraid of people?  If I am an extrovert why do I want to sleep all day? Do I love myself enough? Is it humble to say that? Why can’t I help him? How can I help her get through this moment? Did I call today? Why didn’t you call today? Why did you ignore that call? Why did you go out of your way to avoid them? Do they know that I love them? Does the stranger know that I love him/her? Why did I act like that in high school? Why didn’t I have courage to stand up against the crowd? How can I love strangers? How can I love enemies? Do I have enemies? How can I love God? What is my purpose? What is my will for myself? No, what is God’s will for me? Where am I going? Why am I here? Who am I?

“Although I guess if I knew tomorrow
I guess I wouldn’t need faith
I guess if I never fell, I guess I wouldn’t need grace
I guess if I knew His plans, I guess He wouldn’t be God
So maybe I don’t know, maybe I don’t know
Maybe I don’t know, maybe I don’t know
But maybe that’s okay”-Jon Bellion