Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Benedictine Graduate's Thoughts

Yes, I just got back from the Holy Land. No, this post has nothing to do with that. My life has been a whirlwind over the past few weeks, and I intend to blog about those events in the order in which they occurred. The Holy Land posts will come in due time. P.S. Yes, it's 4 AM, and no, I'm not at all tired.

Faculty, Staff, and Administration of Benedictine College and fellow members of the Class of 2010,

Thank you.  Those two small words are said frequently, especially in times like this. However, in this particular case, they are the mere understatement of the deep gratitude felt. My time at Benedictine College has changed me. The values I have learned here, the knowledge I have gained, and the faith in which I have grown will shape the decisions to come and the future person I will be. Benedictine is the only institution I would trust with such a role in my life.

To the staff members who allowed me to be part of their lives and their families, thank you. The welcoming nature with which you conduct your lives has been an inspiration to me. The holiness exemplified through that welcoming and the way that I have witnessed life itself embraced by you will have a lasting impact.

To the professors who gave me so much more than class notes and grades, thank you. It is true that I have been loved by you. Whether that love came most from the honesty in your lectures, the extra time given to me in your office, the wise responses to my emails, or the general strength and goodness which I know to be characteristic of the way you live, it would be impossible for me to escape unchanged. True wisdom has been imparted.

To my classmates, my dear friends, my closest companions, thank you. The joy of friendship I have experienced living and learning alongside you has made these past four years indescribably wonderful. I am a better person because of the way your academic success, spiritual growth, and ability to live life with passion and joy have challenged and perfected me. We have been a true community.

Now the Class of 2010 is moving on. We are entering into the next chapter of God's call to us. As we enter the real world in a new way, we are entering a world in which the God we love and serve is shunned. It is a world were tolerance and relativism reign. It is a world that is starving for a Truth it fears and a Love it rejects. That Truth and that Love have been made visible and more real to many of us in our time here at Benedictine. They are deeply ingrained in the mission and reality of Benedictine College. The time has come for us to leave this haven of Truth and Love and to carry them into the rest of the world.

No matter what we are doing right now and in the near and distant future, we can be certain of one thing. God has big plans for each of us. And the degree to which we surrender to Him is the degree to which we will find happiness, know joy and peace, and bring others to those same gifts.

Class of 2010, graduation does not mark the end of hard work. Rather, it is the beginning of even greater work.

The time has come for us to get busy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Things We Sa(id) (Junior Year) Part II

Me attempting to open a High School Musical ornament: "I can do all things through Christ who strengths me... come on Christ!"

Me: Do you like cheese?
David: Yea, I like cheese! I like to cut it too.
(Long silence)
Me: Nobody found that funny.
Daz (starts laughing): That means farting right?

Me: Daz, don't be one of those people.
Daz: Knock, Knock.
Me: Who's there?

The Things We Sa(id) (Junior Year)

"If God had a crap shelf, all of this stuff would be on it!" -Melissa

Kristie: It was sarcasm!
Melissa: Heretical sarcasm!!

Daz (to me): Five years from, every time I see a whiteboard, I will think of you, and it will make me happy.
Me: Unless I died

Daz (filling out her ministry application): My greatest weakness...hmmm... I know what it is. I just don't know how to verbalize it.
Me: Impatience...pride...lack of gratitude...
Kristie: This from the girl who said she likes to organize her gifts! (It was a mistake, and I erased it before turning in my application)

Kristie: Microwaves are the devil.
David: Yea, he has four of them.
Kristie: That's how they heat hell!

Daz: I almost hit you in the face!
Me: That's okay, I would have fallen and said 'My Baby!'

Me (from the bathroom): I'm picking up what you're putting down.
Kathy: I'm not picking up what she's putting down!

David (introducing Luke to Abby): This is Abby. If you make her angry, she'll take a dump on your face."

Melissa: This is my zen place.
Daz: I thought that was the window.
Melissa: No, that's my prayer place.
Daz: Oh! This is a different religion.

Daz: Your wedding is going to be so Catholic.
Me: Yea, until I fall in love with a Protestant.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Quietly Waiting

I'm out of touch with myself. I have a desire to express myself, but nothing identifiable to express. My heart is full and heavy, yet my head cannot ponder what it holds.

My life is changing.  It is at once a big and a small change.  I'm graduating.  I'm moving home. I won't be back here next year.

Somehow, I have nothing much to say.

I shouldn't be too surprised.  I know myself well enough to know that I process slowly, taking in and resting with before expressing and understanding.

The words will come in time I'm sure. Until then, all I have is a prayer that begs the Lord to draw me closer and pleads that the Father reveal is will.  It is a prayer that wants for so much and receives in undetectable ways. 

It is a prayer that bears much hope.

Monday, May 10, 2010


The following is a list of the 5 steps for discernment as listed in my teacher's manual for 5th grade religion class (Faith and Life Series)

- Pray and receive the Sacraments often; have a deep relationship with God
- Know yourself and the gifts God has given to you; He will use them
- Search the desires of your heart; God will speak through them (see Ps 37:4)
- Be open and ready to follow wherever God leads
- Although it won't always be easy, you should have peace, joy, and a sense of rightness


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers' Day, Mom!

Dear Mom,

    Today is our 23rd Mothers' Day together.  It's also our 4th residing in different states. (Well, it isn't exactly fair and honest to count last year since Mothers' Day was the day you and dad came to begin the moving-my-stuff-back-home process.) I honestly can't remember much of the Mothers' Days past. I do remember the year a bought a Styrofoam ball, covered it with fabric, stuck mini-Tootise Pops, Sugar Daddies, and a "World's Best Mom" pin in it, and gave it to you. It ended up looking something like a strange turkey with no head.  And there was the year I made you a small cake and decorated it with chocolate icing, only to have the day end with us talking about how neither of us like cake all that much. I'm certain we will never forget and will always laugh at the many, many cheap dollar store gifts I thought (at the time) were perfect.

   I remember funny stories, but I do not recall the sentiments. That is odd for me, as you know, I'm usually quite sentimental. Although you have always rightly accused me of only remembering the negative, constantly telling sad stories from my childhood.  I guess with that in mind, it makes that I struggle to recall the joy of celebrating you.

   Whatever is true of the past cannot be changed, but this Mothers' Day, I am possibly more sentimental than ever before. I graduate from college in less than a week. Six days to be exact. I'm leaving the comfort and familiarity of a classroom for the adult world of jobs (ahem...well, hopefully ;-).  The ending of something that has been so good (I've always loved school - that I do remember) combined with the beginning of something new and utterly terrifying exciting has left me very sentimental indeed.

   I think I'm more grateful to you now than I've ever been before.  I love who are, not just as mom, but as a person. I love spending time with you. I love learning from you (even if my kitchen habits tend to drive you crazy). I love laughing with you. Most of all, I love that the more I grow up, the more I love you.

   Thank you for all the many things you have given to me. Happy Mothers' Day, Mom!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

As the Job Search Continues...

...these are some of the things I keep telling myself...

1.) My prayer, for a long time, was that God give me only one choice - that He not make me discern His will through more than one possibility. If God does answer that prayer, there will have to be a lot of dead ends involved.

2.) I know the lessons I am learning now in how to listen and discern better, to trust God more fully, to surrender more deeply, and to unwaveringly have hope are far better than this discernment period ending will be. I want to learn those lessons. I want to become holier.

3.) I speak with complete sincerity when I say that I want to do God's will.  I honestly want what He wants for me. Those words are not uttered merely for the sake of saying them.  I mean them, and I want to live them.  It's just hard to keep that in sight when the process is scary and the result doesn't look the way I expect. I just have to remember what I truly believe anyway - no matter how difficult and stinky the situation seems at present.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Things We Say (When We Just Need Comfort)

Melissa: I just need to help a mom with family bathtime. That will make me feel better.

Kristie: Do you wanna help me wash my feet?