It was a beautiful, joyous day, and my feelings of gratitude, I fear, will not be articulated as beautifully as I will have hoped…but I’ll go for it anyway…
It was difficult to wake up, it was my body catching up from the discernment weekend, it was the fact that it was 5:30am, it was a whole culmination of things. The headache eventually went away and we were immediately greeted in the morning by two of my most notable, impression-leaving seniors. It just set the tone for my day…such a great one! Jokes were said at 7:45/8ish in the morning, and I was on my way for a beautiful, beautiful, grace-filled day.
As my students share more and more of their personal lives with me, I can not help but take the role of “Campus Minister” to a different level – that is simply a title. I am more than that. I am their sister in Christ, and I find myself truly, wholeheartedly, caring about these girls and their young hearts. It is sad for me when I see them heartbroken because of a relationship that ended, or when I hear about their broken families. I find it so natural for me to want to embrace them and help them in discovering and uncovering their beautiful worth and their beloved-ness in God’s eyes. My day was full of catch up with different students – lots of laughter, lots of fun, and lots of wisdom to receive and give.
After, I had spiritual direction, and leaving that brownstone this afternoon gave me such a boost of Jesus. It is these Tuesday afternoons that leave me with such an uplifting sensation of the path on which God is calling me to walk/run/skip…whatever! In praying through these exercises, I reach an ultimately deep state of prayer, but when I am given moments to externally process what actually “happened” and what I “felt” during these prayer times, it is then that the tears come, and it is then that I realize how blessed my prayer life has become, and how much deeper my understanding of God, Jesus, and Mary is becoming. It is no longer simply thinking with my head, as I am so often a victim of over-doing, but rather, it is me now embracing with my heart and with my soul… and so much that I struggle in articulating my experiences in contemplation and meditation.
I then went to yoga, and this was the first time I actually experienced going into my chattarunga, and sure enough, my sweaty forehead brushed against the heel of the tall man in front of me. yup, first encounter in a yoga studio in that manner. I think that describes how packed this studio was! My savasana was hardly that – it was me lying there with my feet touching, as if I were stretching my hips or thighs. But I was ok with that – it was a small sacrifice for the wonderful class that I got to participate in. I had never experienced so many “haaaaaaaaa”s and so many audible breathing noises – I was very proud of myself. It was much needed. There was plenty on my heart, and there was plenty to be thankful for – breathe in, breathe out…all had to be expressed somehow. What place better than on my yoga mat? The yoga instructor was great and he made jokes that I would have made, which I particularly enjoyed very much!
Met up with JD and Michael…drank some mango juice, got recharged with some tea, and got hooked up with our bill paid. Now THAT was awesome! Then we got to see Michael’s apartment, and it was nice to see him…orange county kids must stick together!
A particular moment from today stands out in my mind. I just got off the subway and was on my way back home to Columbus, and I saw a homeless man with a cup and change…clearly, he was shaking it because he was asking for money. So I did as I normally do, and I just walked on by. I heard a man say “God bless you” to him, but he kept walking. That resounded in my ears as I walked down the stairs, and in my mind and heart I realized, I have food in my bag. I normally do not give money away to they who seek the money, but rather, I feel more comfortable giving food. As I walk away, I go through the whole, “ well, maybe I’ll eat that later” or “ I can just keep walking because I’ll be late for dinner!” or the “ah but I’ll feel guilty if I don’t give it to him” – I stop where I am on the stairs after those 20 seconds of back and forth contemplation and indecisive decision-making, I walk back upstairs, get my orange out, and put it on his cup. He looked at me, and said, “oh! Thank you!” I don’t say this to be like, oh, look at this giving heart, but rather, just to describe experiences that are pretty common and moments that can just pass us by without even processing what just happened…
My spiritual director today was talking to me about the dangers of “shoulds” – this was as I was discussing with her the profound goodness of indifference – that which Ignatian spirituality outlines in the Principles of Foundation. Working within the framework of “oh, I should do this for x, y, and z” reasons are very dangerous, and may not necessarily be in line with my true, authentic self. That also passed through my mind as I decided whether or not to walk back up 15 stairs to hand that man an orange, however, I realized in that moment, I want to give him my orange. I most likely would not have eaten it until later, and he needs nutrients and definitely some vitamin c, especially since this is the cold season! So that was that. but to truly encounter a moment like that right after spiritual direction, it made me feel good. I was thankful for the opportunity to feed someone this afternoon.
St. Lorenzo Ruiz…Thank you for your prayers and your presence. You are a blessing to me. Pray for us.