Monthly Archives: May 2012

My story (part 1)

I found a notepad while packing today that contained an attempt to put to words a story that I’ve hardly even spoken of to anyone. The story cuts off abruptly in my notes; what is written so far, I’ve reproduced here. I’ll finish it soon.

 

When I was around fifteen, I “found God.” I don’t remember the date, can’t even pin down the year, but then, chronos time never meant much to me. “Chronos,” as described to me not long after the night in question by a retreat leader, is earthly time- the time associated with clocks, schedules, etc. “Kairos” (another Greek word) connotes “God’s time” in several senses, from “the appointed time” of Biblical events to the way an eternal being, outside the heady flow of chronos, views time. This kairos view of time, to me, brings to light a way that the ubiquitous art of storytelling is in the Image of God- our tales, like His, turn on opportune times rather than the turning of the Earth. 

As for finding God, it wasn’t as dramatic as it sounds. The casual observer, or my sister (who was probably asleep in the bunk above mine), would have noticed nothing much. If I had been crying, I might have stopped, and shortly thereafter, I fell asleep. But you, gentle reader, deserve a bit more understanding of it than our hypothetical observer. As I mentioned, I was in bed and probably crying. This was usual for me in the middle of the night. I had been agnosticating for something like a year and had concurrently been suffering what I can only call depression. (Hindsight not being as 20-20 as the saying suggests, I cannot diagnose my high-school self based on college coursework.) Another night of necessary but nonexistent sleep was being spent in tortuous twines of thought about the seemingly necessary but nonexistent God and wishes for death. Finally, my mind cried out “Are You there?” to the horribly silent One and my…

Through The Eyes of A Child

One of the things that I’m doing this summer is helping a family that has decided to come back to the Church. They have two children, a daughter, who I will be tutoring so that she can catch up and receive her first communion in the coming spring. We had our first lesson today, and I explained the Trinity to her.

It’s always been difficult for me to understand people who don’t just intrinsically know the faith because it has always been such a deep part of who I am. But I sat with this little girl for an hour, taught her the sign of the cross, explained Jesus’s birth, death and resurrection, and then walked her line by line through the Lord’s Prayer, I became incredibly grateful for my parents, for making sure that my faith was such a part of my day to day life. I take it so for granted.

After our session I spoke with her mother briefly. This woman was unfailingly kind and told me outright that my mother and my interest in her children was, “the greatest blessing she could ask for.” See, she’s an ex-patriated Cuban, who left the Church behind when she came to America, however, recently, she was sitting at her sick father’s bedside and was given by one of the nurses a copy of The Prayer of Divine Mercy. She prayed it for hours on end, and her father is now on the mend. This experience led her back to the Church and made her want to educate her children.

My little pupil is adorable and I am so excited to be a part of her faith experience! Wish me luck!

“Best. Lake. Ever.”

It’s commencement week at our alma mater.  That means that the choir and band members, who perform at various commencement events this weekend, spend the week hanging out on campus and at the school’s retreat house on the lake, goofing off between rehearsals. The lake house is one of my favorite places. I’ve spent group retreats here surrounded in heartfelt chatter and inspirational music, and I’ve spent a five-day  Ignatian retreat wrapped in a cloak of silence here. Both left significant impressions on me. However, the annual music department lake house takeover ( we just call it “the lake”) is one of my most persistent memories of this lovely place. Nerf wars tearing up and down these hallowed halls, lazy afternoons sitting on the dock or splashing around in the lake, late-night card games and indecent versions of Bananagrams… these form a different kind of retreat for me. The acceptance of and enthusiasm for odd interests, odd wardrobe, and odd humor found at “the lake” feels like fresh air and childhood. We speak freely. We sing to ourselves while we walk around. We build friendships first and learn names later. The juvenile activities that spark our interest while we’re here stem not just from nostalgia and refusal to grow up (though those are present), but also from a childlike faith in the human nature of at least these people. It’s a way to detox from all the anxiety about plans, performance, and presentation that pervades college and post-college life.

I wrote the first half of this post late last night in the Lake Room, the heart of the retreat house. Up late again tonight, I’m finishing it from my bedroom at my family home over 100 miles away. Here, not the college town where I laid my head the past fourteen semesters, will be my home again as of June.
I will miss the motley crowd of professors, cafeteria workers, classmates, musicians, and friends that populated my days in that college town. I will miss being six blocks from Mister and eating at least one meal together each day.  I’ll especially miss the retreat house and all it’s come to symbolize for me. Like all the best things in life, it’s deeply important yet impossible to take quite seriously. God bless that lovely lake, the lake house and all its inhabitants through the years, and our dear alma mater.

While this is geared towards teenagers, I think the article has a great point and could leave us all with something to think about.  It made me really examine the differences in myself since last summer.  Although recent events led me to slip up after all this time, I can’t even begin to imagine being where I was in the middle of last summer right now.  Don’t let anyone dictate who you are, what you wear, or where you go.  You are independent, you make your own decisions, and let them be great ones.  Self-respect and confidence will make you a better you and achieving these both can be done humbly.  Therefore, let’s dress modestly and proudly as much as possible this season!

http://lifeteen.com/bikini-battle-sexy-vs-beautiful/

On a side note, she calls out Target as selling tiny bikinis but in their defense, I bought my tankini there and in my own opinion, that’s a step towards modesty.

Thanks for listening and God Bless 🙂

Zoey

The Hunger Games

I’m sure some of you have adored these books since they first appeared, but I’m a recent convert. The movie, I thought, was awesome. It got me curious about the books. I eased into the first book in bits and pieces, deciding I liked the first-person narrative in Katniss’s clean, clipped tones. I liked the richness of details that didn’t make the film version, like her rudimentary friendship with Madge. Eventually, I picked up the pace of my reading as the minor differences from the movie accumulated into an emotional experience beyond what the movie held for me, the pages washing past until the end of the first book. Monday night, Mister and I got the second book, and I was through it by the end of Tuesday. Good suspense at points, but the characters really did it for me. I cared about them, had to know what they’d endure next. At 12:30am today, I brought home the third book. It left my hands twice – once for me to write down my thoughts on Chapter 1 (I had this crazy idea I’d do so every few chapters, but I got to engrossed to do it again) and a second time to switch my ceiling light for a bedside lamp when I realized I wasn’t stopping any time soon. I finished around 6:30. I’ve always been a lover of books, but I’ve never read a full novel in one dose. If I had to describe the trilogy in one word, I’d call it compelling. If you haven’t read it, I suggest it wholeheartedly. Don’t read past this point if you haven’t completed the books – you don’t want to ruin a story this well-made. (Caution: spoilers may turn up in the comments as well)

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Facing Our Fears

This morning I lectored my first mass officially. I say officially because I’ve done readings in the past for special occasions or big events, and I lectored a youth mass or two in high school but even then I’m not sure I did it all…but I was asked last week to read today so this morning came and I got all ready and headed to mass.  I’m not even going to pretend I wasn’t nervous. Public speaking is basically my greatest fear because what if I mess up? Do something wrong? And trust me, there are a lot of things I could do wrong… so I arrived early enough to read over what I would be saying.  For those of you who didn’t attend mass today (which I would imagine is a large number, seeing as it’s Tuesday) the reading was from Acts 14:19-28. And let me tell you, about every other line had three city names I couldn’t pronounce. The city names I sort of sped past figuring the one or two I didn’t know could be difficult for anyone. Then I got tripped up on a few words that looked similar to other words, but were entirely different. You know the type? Yeah, it was a bit brutal for a first time lector, but I somehow made it through. I said the psalm and since daily mass doesn’t always have two readings, and today didn’t, I sat back down.  What was going through my mind: where should I put my hands? Do I move the bookmark now, or at the end? Should I put the book on the lower shelf, or does the priest read from it during daily mass? Don’t forget to bow to the alter. Slow down. Speak clearly. When do I go back up? Will someone tell me?
The answer to that last question is “yes,” someone will always nudge you or look at you if you forget. At least that’s what they told me AFTER mass.  And of course, Father looks at you too, like “okay, your turn now”.
So, I survived. I probably messed up more than I wanted to, but I’m happy about it. If my first lectoring experience was perfect, how would I ever live up to it? Now I can at least look back and think, “well it wasn’t as bad as that first time”.
And being raised Catholic, I really DID know when to go up and everything. And now that I’ve done it once, I will know better for next time.  Everything is a learning experience, and that’s what makes it great.
Most importantly, we’re never too lost that we can’t ask for God’s help. After I first read that intimidating reading to myself, I was nervous and flustered until, finally, God calmed me enough to let me ask Him for help. I sometimes forget to pray for things I really could use in that moment, which is silly really, so having Him there with me and in me made the whole experience so much easier. Anyways, afterwards I got asked to read on Tuesdays from now on so pray for me Tuesday mornings around 8!
God Bless,
Zoey