Tuesday, February 18, 2014


"A gentleman always accepts the first invitation."

Paraphrased from a coffee table book, you may be wondering how this fits into my life.  A friend of mine has often quoted this when relating one of the major problems with young adults today.  Let's face it--we are a generation of commitment-phobes.  This manifests in the monumental (divorce rates, a "hook-up" culture) and the miniscule (that good ol' "maybe" RSVP that allows you to back out if something better comes along).

Don't get me wrong, I am the queen of the last-minute back out.  I always blamed it on my introversion, arriving at a night in question and realizing that I'd much rather stay home and read on the couch.  And I'm a space cadet, constantly forgetting the plans I've made and double-booking myself, forcing a choice which inevitably leaves someone abandoned.  My Catholic conscience has gifted me with perhaps more guilt than the average Joe about turning tail and running, but I never realized the full impact my selfish whims had until recently.

I've been on the receiving end of the back out a little too often for my liking the past couple months, and it sucks (good use of my abundant vocabulary, I know).  It makes me feel like my commitment to the meeting/committee/party/book club/lunch date/tentative plans means absolutely nothing.  And it makes me feel just a little less committed to the next one, a little less likely to commit to something else.  It's egoistic, belittling, self-perpetuating, injurious, and rampant, and I hate thinking that I've contributed to someone else feeling like this.

I haven't been doing so hot on my attempt to balance egoism and altruism--turns out I'm not as selfless as I'd like to think--but this is a great place to start.  Accepting invitations and following through, letting our word mean something, and honoring the commitment of others...is it too optimistic to think we can right our generation one small piece at a time?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Good, Beautiful and True

Several weeks ago, I made a pact with myself to try and see the positive in my life.  I wanted to focus on the good, the beautiful, and the true, the reflections of God's love and reality in my day-to-day experiences.  I made it longer than I thought, starting the first couple weeks by writing down three things (a good, a beauty, and a truth) each night.  That got to be daunting, and to be honest, I started repeating.  Probably more a reflection that I needed to be aware of those positive things than my lack of imagination.  So after a while, I just picked one thing each day.  Looking back over the last 5 weeks or so, I've got a pretty amazing snapshot of my blessings.

The Good--
7-second hugs, joyful priests, dinner with the fam, feeling appreciated, learning something new, having a job, laughter, recreation as re-creation, Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcast, sleep, living in Colorado, being greeted by a dog, minor mountain miracles, my coworkers, the resilience of the human spirit, a sense of accomplishment, setting goals that challenge you, a Broncos trip to the Super Bowl, shared passions, and connecting with total strangers

The Beautiful--
Colorado, the rescuing hug, a heart of service, a kiddo with Down's Syndrome in snowman PJ's saying 'bye', a moment of humility, the sliver of the new moon, a clean slate, a homemade gift, sunlight shining through the snow falling off the trees, the emotions that music makes you feel, sitting in the sun on a 30-degree day and feeling warm, sunrise from the 4th floor, Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, Colorado aspens, the Denver skyline framed by the Rockies, a full moon, not letting a camera interrupt the moment, a clean dog, and stars on a clear night

The True--
It gets better.  I'm more willing to reveal my weaknesses to someone if I know they have a relationship with God.  Words of affirmation is definitely my love language.  It's comforting to know you aren't the only one struggling, no matter how small the frustration.  I want something to dream, something to do, and someone to love.  Adventure and passion are attractive.  An act of love thaws a frozen heart.  Traditions are worth establishing.  I'm proud of my family.  Music is good for the soul.  Sometimes you just need a lazy day.  Pudding chocolate chip cookies trump self-control.  The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome It.  No matter what we try to pull, nothing we could ever do could change the way God feels about us.  I have the best coworkers.  Bowing to the deacon before the blessing with incense is one of my favorite Catholic things.  Protecting the family is essential to protecting a culture of life.

A pretty decent summary of my last month.  My project for next month is a challenge from the priest who heard my confession today.  We were discussing (read: he was talking, I was listening) the need for balance between egoism and altruism.  Even Jesus looked after Himself from time to time.  All those forays into the desert were "me time" for Jesus.  And it made Him better at giving of Himself.  You have to care for yourself, fill yourself up first, before you can care for others.  So, for the next week or month or whatever, I'm going to do one thing every day for myself and one thing every day for someone else.  Big or small, I'm going to try to find a balance between egoism and altruism.  Check back with you at the end of the experiment.
I reserve the right to make this blog as worthless to read as I feel like, and also to write as infrequently as I deem necessary. Just thought I'd let you know since I finally decided to share my blog.