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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

American Dream vs. Adventure of Giving

I'm sitting in a coffee shop trying to decide what I want to do with my life here on earth. I want to do good on earth. That's all. But how do I want to do good? Do I want to stay in America like the rest of the population? Or do I want to go to the hard parts in the world where poverty, abuse, and famine take place? In America life is easy...and very free. Here I don't need to worry about my freedom nor do I have to worry about my dignity or where my next meal will come from. But if I live here I will have the tendency to focus on myself. And I hate that! Life in Haiti is harder. You don't even know where the food you get comes from. You just have to trust and eat it. Famine is there with cholera right now. Death is everywhere from the earthquake, malnutrition and poverty. There you have to worry about your human dignity. Will it be taken away from me today? I don't know how Africa is nor India or China, but from what I've heard, it's near the same. I don't know what life is if it's lived for myself. Many thoughts come into my head as to why I believe this way. Is it because I'm a woman and have the natural tendency to nurture others? Or is it a real calling from God? Is this how He made me? To believe and feel this way...

No matter the history of the cause of belief, the belief is real and taking over my every thought, word, and love. I want to give my life to others. I want to serve. I want to love like Christ loves. And for me, it's through living outside of America where life is easy. Maybe I'll come back to America for vacation to recoup and focus on myself for a while...since it's so ideal here for that. I'm looking around the coffee shop and seeing the faces of everyone. They are focused on what's in front of them, whether it's the other person they are with or the computer screen that's in front of them. There is no chaos going on and everyone seems extremely chill. I know they all have their own struggles, and hardships...but here in America, you are free to deal with them however you like. God is good. Life is good. I am blessed. Why do I want to leave this place where my family, friends, and freedom lie???? I guess I'll have to leave to find out...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wisdom of Sirach

Some people you just can't get through to. You can talk to them until you're blue in the face and they still won't get it. It's like telling an infant that your arm will not produce for them milk (this actually happened last night with a friend and his baby girl.) But I can't explain it well enough so I'll let Sirach...

Like a house in ruins is wisdom to a fool,
and to the ignorant, knowledge is talk
that has no meaning.
-Sirach 21.18

Whether you're trying to keep your loved one from making a mistake or you're trying to open the eyes of another, remember this verse. They might not always take it the way you want them to, and therefore you must let go. You cannot instill knowledge into someone who does not want it. You cannot open the eyes of a fool if they refuse to see the light. We do not have control of them. They have their own will and we can only hope and pray they use it well. (Just as I hope and pray to our Lord that I use mine well.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ministry is best outside of "Ministry"

Life as a ballet teacher is quite fun. Especially a ballet teacher that has theology discussions in her class. :)  Yeah, maybe it's not what the people are paying for...but it sure does make life more exciting!

I left my world as I knew it as a youth minister earlier this year. God thought it would be fun to throw ballet back into my life after 6 years of me abandoning it. So I embarked down the journey He has set before me. So far it has been everything I wanted and more. Life is more artistic with ballet. Colors fly when you dance and let loose. Not to mention your body is happier. I find myself a little freer, and more myself. When I picture who I am, ballet is a part of always has been. And now God has invited me to keep it in my life (for now.) It's beautiful because I thought when I abandoned it that God didn't want me to use that talent. But this invitation shows me that He is a God that fulfills desires, not a God that scolds you and denies you for who you are. He loves me where I'm at. And where I'm at is a ballet lover.

I went out for dinner the other night with a few friends of mine. One of them helped me in the past design a flyer for a ballet class I teach. He asked me how it was going and I told him about a discussion I had in the classroom after warming up at the barre the other week. The topic of the discussion was abortion!! Heavy topic for a ballet class! One of the girls asked where I was before I went to the studio and I told her I was at a pro-life march. She asked what that is and that's how it all began. She thought abortion is only fine during "extreme circumstances" but I challenged her at the thought of the right to life whether or not circumstances are "extreme" or not. I'm not blogging to vent so I won't go into it. The point of this blog is not abortion nor life. It's about ministry outside of ministry.

Basically, the girls didn't go to ballet class thinking they would talk about abortion, nor about God. And that's probably the best time to discuss them. A lot of times youth go to Church expecting to hear about God, so when they DO hear His Holy Name, it usually goes in one ear and out the other. But when the youth go to their daily activities; soccer, football, dance, art, etc and they unexpectedly hear God's catches them offgaurd and therefore is more likely to stick. (In my point of view.) I don't think God should only be talked about at Church or in religious groups. His Name should be spread across the news, the media, our daily activities besides Church. And bringing Him inside of my ballet classroom I feel ecstatic! Because it's right where He should be. I mean, is He not the creator of me? Of my students? Of art? Of beauty? He is the rightful owner and I feel honored to have His Holy Name in my classroom, especially when it's not expected.

"Where can I hide from your spirit? From your presence, where can I flee? If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I lie down in Sheol, you are there too." ...And if I go to a ballet class, you are there too!  Psalm 139.7-8

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Treasures of a Soul

Nuns are a hoot, no question about it. Every nun I've ever known has been ridiculously hilarious. But besides them being so funny and interesting, they leave me with thoughts of Heaven and what comes after this life on earth.

It's been a while since I've visited a cloistered convent...and I'm kind of sad about it. This is why: I see the fullness of what life can be in a person who is "locked up." Ironically, this "prison" where they live surrounded by four walls is more like a museum of life. And when you meet the people who live in such quarters, you are astonished by their simplicity and JOY. How can you be so happy when enclosed in one place for the rest of your life? Because it's not about your location on earth, it's about your location of your heart. The treasures of your heart. Where do you want to set your desires?

I personally have many earthly desires. For one, I desire spending time with my family and loved ones...and most of them are in one location on earth. Texas. :) I'm also a big fan of chocolate! Mmm. I also live out life in dance. Particularly ballet. It's a gift of God that gives me great happiness here on earth. I also have a great desire to be holy. Being holy powers over any other desire of mine. If dancing ballet would sacrifice my holiness then I would quit (and I have before.) And if seeing my family were to cost me my holiness (which is quit possible if I let them rule my life while I sit on the sidelines) then I would cut it down. But luckily loving loved ones and wanting to spend time with them only grows me closer to God because it is in these relationships that I encouter God, my Beloved. And chocolate...well, in moderation it's fabulous but we can become gluttons. So moderation needs to be practiced. No amount of anything here on earth will fully satisfy us. We try to get more of something or someone that brings us happiness but unfortunately the completeness of our happiness will not come on earth nor from earth. God is the only One that can fully satisfy us and He will give it to us once we enter into His Eternal Kingdom.

A wise lady once told me that the closer you are to God, the closer you want to become with his children. If you spend all your time in prayer you will be led to spend more time with others. This is a beautiful aspect about God that I just love so much! If I say a little prayer and encounter Him there, and often get this overwhelming desire to be with others. It's that love that overflows in your cup that He talks about in Psalms. It's no wonder St Therese said the more divine she becomes the more her natural tenderness will become.

"A heart given to God loses none of its natural tenderness; on the contrary, the more pure and divine it becomes, the more such tenderness increases." -Story of a Soul

Monday, November 1, 2010

How Do You Love?

God loves each of His adopted children, but will each human person be loved by another? Not just at a moment in time, but throughout their whole lives. It's a simple question that we all probably ask ourselves. Will I be loved? Will my best friend be loved? Will my neighbor be loved? I believe in community. Not just any community, but a community of friendships based on a love that goes beyond the superficial.

I have many friends but few that love me through the superficial. This thought of mine goes back to a philosophy conference I attended in Saltillo, Mexico. It was given in French, not Spanish. Luckily I had a translater. The conference was focused on the philosophy of (in laymen terms because I can't remember the technical terms) being. Just being. The being of yourself, others and what will last, change, or fade away. We went through loving a friend for their characteristics, knowledge, temperament, similarities, and what they have to offer [you]. The question was, "Will you still love them if they didn't possess those qualities?" Meaning, will you love their soul, their being that doesn't change and will never change.

This might just solve marital problems, sibling struggles, and all relationships. I asked this question to a friend of mine who was dating someone at the time. He didn't really know how he felt about her. He knew he was infactuated with her and loved her but didn't know if his love was mature. So I asked him the question. Would you love her if she had no hair? Seriously, it needed to be asked. He said yup. Good job, Slick. Would you love her if she was overweight? Would you love her if she lost her intelligence? Would you love her if her cooking was next to dogfood? Would you love her if, if, if? Obviously, you can't ask this to someone who just started dating someone. Their relationship needs to be mature. But these simple q's are great to mull over in each relationship you have because we want to get past all of these superficial things. We want to get to that pasture where souls are seen and hair, dimples, and men with really strong arms and beautiful smiles are just overlooked...welcomed, mesmerizing and definitely appreciated, but overlooked. It's no easy task but once you get there, it's even more amazing then those dimples and strong arms.

Basically, to cut to the chase, love your friends and spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends for what doesn't change in them. Love what their Creator loves. Love them like the Creator. You may lose your attraction to them or they may lose what they offered you but love them for them. For their existence. If we love people for their existence and not what they can give to us then we're loving what's in them that doesn't change. Today is All Saints Day...let's love like they might have loved.

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8.38-39