Sunday, September 21, 2014

Addicted to shopping?

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

I haven't had the time as yet to look at our money situation and take seriously the amount of money we give back to You each week at church. I'm sorry I haven't done that, Lord. What did I do instead? I went garage sale-ing! Okay, I think I have a problem. I do think perhaps I get a little too much from shopping than I should "get."
Sometimes shopping is an addiction.

I justify it by saying it's low-priced things, second-hand, cheap. It's okay to spend money that way. I also justify it by saying it's for Christmas, but I end up giving what I buy right away to those I bought for. And, yes, those I buy for don't have very much -- I use that excuse, too.

I'm ashamed to say it, but there's something in the expectation, the anticipation of finding something great, "just what she wants." I think that's the "high" the professionals refer to when they talk about addictions. Uh-oh.

I do have an addictive personality -- in some respects. I think I have sorted through it, worked with it enough that it is not hurting me physically:  I don't drink too much, take drugs, exercise too much, or eat too much (that's debatable!). But I do shop too much. I don't grocery shop too much. I don't buy too many clothes for myself. I don't buy too much of anything for myself (another "excuse" I use to justify...). I do like that sense of anticipation, and maybe there's no harm in that, but what am I doing really? Do I give what I buy anonymously? No. I like that interchange:  look what I found for you! "Oh! Thank you!" Am I making myself a bit too much in another's life? Am I wanting them to look to me as that special person -- and is that bordering on the sinful?

Okay, it's a tee-shirt here, a jacket there, but why am I driven so to give? Am I as generous with my time?

Oh, Lord, as I continue to look at this issue in my life, guide my thoughts, direct my heart. Lead me to be healthy for myself and for those around me -- and for You.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Power in walking with God

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

Oscar Romero

Marx didn't get it, did he, Lord? Saying religion was the opiate of the people, keeping us down, urging us to tolerate, accept, cope with, rather than rise up, put down, and rebel. He didn't get it. He didn't see that "religion," understood as Your way of living, is far more potent and powerful than rising up with sword in hand.

Undoubtedly, Yours is the harder way. It is far easier for me to pick up a gun and shoot those who hurt me than it is to confront them with their own evil, attempt to connect to the image of You planted deep within them, and allow You to work in them a turn from their evil ways, perhaps even by my sacrifice, my witness to Your ways, the better path, the path more conducive to our higher selves, who we are called and meant to be.

Even the policemen and the military I know show this to be true. What hits people first is not the fact that they have a sidearm; it is their bravery, their courage, their presence representing good that is most strongly felt. When men and women know this bravery, a bravery deep seated in You, they are far more effective. They are listened to, looked up to, admired, and followed, and it has nothing to do with the fact that they are armed.
Jean Donovan

Surely, with some, there is an inability to turn from evil. Either their environment has blinded them to such a degree or some mental incapacity keeps them from being able to rise above the evil that has encircled them. This is why the arms are necessary, but only in this case.

May more of us, Lord, discover the power that comes from walking with You. It is incredible. It transforms. It brings the kingdom.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The rosary

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

Remember the rosary, Lord? I used to pray using it every day. Then Mary and I kind of had a falling out of sorts. I doubted her intercession. I doubted her love for me, or interest in me. I thought it repetitious, full of us talking rather than listening to You; I forgot.

I forgot that the rosary is all about listening to You. It is about slowing down just enough to recite its words -- "and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus," and "pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death." It invites meditation on the mystery of You, Your coming, Your passion, Your resurrection, and those events in Your life which reveal You as Light of our world. Praying it immerses us into You, reminds us whose we are, and returns us to proper priorities.

I forgot, Lord.

And Mary? How could we not turn to someone who tells us, "Do whatever He tells you"? (John 2:5) How could we not think You meant much more when You said to John, "Behold, your mother"? (John 19:27)

I remember walking in the back yard of one of houses I lived in during my childhood. I was praying the rosary, and I was heartbroken. I wanted, needed something from You. I hung my head as I prayed, fingering the beads and surveying the ground, covered with grass and clover. Suddenly my eyes lit upon a very crowded clover. I bent to inspect and discovered one with four leaves. Tears filled my eyes.

Because of my own broken relationship with my mother, it is hard (still) for me to think that finding that clover was a small gift from Mary. And I cannot think my return to her in prayer would bring about any happy welcoming from her -- mothers don't miss you, I find myself thinking (though as a mom myself, I know how my heart aches when my children are away). Clearly more healing must come for me in this area. And yet I find myself wanting to return, wanting to contemplate what Mary and Elizabeth held in common in those first few months of revelation, when only the two of them knew. It is reflective of how You move, discretely, oh so respectfully at times, but yet with thunder that transforms our world.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Putting on the Lord

Dear God,
This is Kelley.

"We are His revelation," Father Tom said. By our version of "putting on the Lord,"  (cf. Romans 13:14) we "reveal to the world the nature of who God is."

We shouldn't be walking around unaware of this.

It isn't easy.

Some people think "putting on the Lord" means becoming a yes-person, allowing others to take advantage. No, it doesn't mean this. Others think "putting on the Lord" means backing away from the world, totally immersing oneself in prayer (and self). No, it doesn't mean this either (and monks would agree). Still others think it means telling others what You are saying to them and to the world. I don't think it means this either. I think putting on You means struggling to do what's right in each of the myriad bits of life we live. It means saying no when no is best for the other. It means confronting when confronting is called for. It means stepping back when another is best served by experiencing the consequences of his or her own actions. And it means lots of deliberate choosing, because unless we're really far along spiritually, our first impulse is just not the one to follow through on!

When we are serious about putting You on, Lord, You make it possible -- and that is a staggering possibility. May each of us have the courage to meet that possibility, head on.