Trust Anyway

There is not much to say that has not been said.

People are dying at alarming rates. Jobs are being lost every second. People are stuck in apartments, houses, and other countries. The world is spinning in a wild confusion. Wedding plans are up in the air. Churches have been locked for weeks. Streets are desolate.

It is all surreal.

Yet, in this moment, we are continuously being called.

Called by God to have a deeper trust in His plan for our and our families live. A trust that is mightier than any pandemic.

How are we to trust in times like these? How are we to give up all control?

Slowly and with persistence.

Building trust does not happen in the happy moments. Nor does it happen in an instant. Trust is built in the trenches.

Trust is hearing the sound of bullets ricocheting around us and knowing God is our defense. Today, these shots are firing every morning we wake up and see the new stats. The bullets do not seem to be stopping. It is very easy to get caught up in ourselves as we see the world burning. Questions without answers is all we have right now.

Trust is a process where we are dying moment by moment–dying to ourselves—placing all control into the hands of God.

Whatever situation you find yourself in during this pandemic, I want to encourage you to develop a trust in your Father in Heaven. Hold steadfast to the truth; He loves you and cares about you. Hope must be our guide. Let us do all we can do pray for and be there for those impacted by this virus.

Though we may feel like our whole world is upside down, we must trust anyway.

 

 

Girl’s Don’t Deserve Roses

I repost this every year because it is important. 

Valentine’s day means cards, chocolate, teddy bears, and especially roses. Pink and red is splattered all over grocey stores, doctor’s offices, and schools.

The first couple years of college, I thought about how special this day was for a lot of women on campus (some do not care much for it). I knew the feeling of being noticed and getting flowers meant so much to certain girls that did not have a special someone in their life. Even as a guy I can empathize. To be given gifts and to be noticed is a special feeling.

Therefore, for the last couple of Valentine’s Days, I decided to give many of the girls in my life flowers. Cause why not right? Not all in a romantic way, but just to show them that someone cares. I loved letting them know someone was thinking about them on Valentine’s Day.

However, my attitude has changed this year.

This year I will not be buying flowers.

This year I have developed a new motto,

“Girls Don’t Deserve Roses.”

Before anyone gets angry…let me explain.

I am not anti-rose. I think flowers make a beautiful gift.

As I sit with friends and joke about the Bachelor, every once in a while a sadness strikes me. I observe all of these beautiful women stare at a single rose that some guy is holding. The way in which they stare is as if the rose is the last antidote and they are ill. When they do not receive the rose I can see their hearts and self-worth shatter.

They feel rejected.

They feel lonely.

They feel like they messed up.

As I reflect on this, it is very much like on Valentines Day. Some women in my life will feel hurt because they did not receive a flower or gift from a man in their life. Others may not care at all. However, to the one’s that do care, this may impact their self worth. They may feel like something is wrong with them. They may even feel like they did something to deserve this type of loneliness.

I am here to tell you today that girls do not deserve roses:

Girls deserve much more.

As we see in the Beauty and the Beast roses die. Roses and other gifts are a great way to show appreciation but to me…that is too easy.

I hope all men want to live in such a way to show all the women in our lives that they deserve so much not just on Valentine’s day but every.single.day.

To all my women readers.

You are worth more than a few petals and a stem.

You are worth more than a few chocolates.

You are worth more than a nicely written card and a fancy dinner. 

I encourage you to wait for a man who gives you precious gifts daily. Men who this Valentine’s day and more give you…

The gift of treating you like a best friend. 

The gift of listening to you.

The gift of having deep conversations with you.

The gift of cheering you up.

The gift of walking with you through the pain.

The gift of being there for you, praying with you, praying for you…

Girls. You do not deserve roses.

You do not even deserve a bouquet.

You deserve gifts that won’t wilt.

You Are Flammable

It is both a terrifying reality and a wondrous opportunity when we come to know that we are flammable. Everyday we have the capability of burning with love and kindness or with destruction and hate. We can choose to carry a fire that spreads ferociously into the hearts of those we love. This flame eradicates darkness and showers the world with warmth and light. We are also capable of infecting the world with a fire, which has an end goal of covering everything with a cloud of ash. 

Being on fire hurts. Because when we are on fire, we are allowing ourselves to wither, our pride melts away, and we are transformed into who we are meant to be. St. Catherine said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” Yet, it is so easy to seek to be a log our whole lives: safe and hidden. 

There is a holy fire ablaze within each of us. There is no need to harness it.

Let our love be boundless. 

“In your nature, eternal Godhead, I shall come to know my nature. And what is my nature, boundless Love? It is fire, because you are nothing but a fire of love. And you have given humankind a share in this nature, for by the fire of love you created us.”

St.Catherine of Siena

 

Spam Thoughts

I was driving back home from a day of working in the hospital. The 45 minute commute is a time where I can relax and focus on the tasks ahead of me. All of a sudden, I get a call. My radio lights up with a number that is from the surrounding area.

Oh, maybe I need to get this.

I answer the phone and I am told I’m missing out on a great deal to update my healthcare insurance. SPAM.

Other times, the calls get a bit more sneaky. On these calls I am told if I don’t comply with what is requested the government will arrest me. SPAM. 

And other times, I answer and all I hear is dead silence. SPAM. 

These calls can be frustrating but most of all distracting. 

While spam calls are one of the most annoying daily events, right after an itch on the middle of your back you can’t reach, they teach a pretty valuable lesson.

A lot of times we have thoughts that are just like spam calls.

Thoughts that tell us things like:

you aren’t loved……you can’t get that grade……you are doing everything wrong……you won’t ever find peace……nothing matters….life will always be hard….etc.

The list goes on and on. 

For many people, these constant spam thoughts make it hard to live a joy-filled life.

What are we to do with these spam thoughts? Well, exactly what we do with the spam calls. Do not allow them to catch you in their spider web.

If we start answering these spam thoughts and having discussions with them, we begin to get caught in their trap.

Our emotions are sent up and down by the thoughts. We become confused and lose sight of our goals.

When the thoughts come, you will hear what they say, however you must immediately hang them up.

Do not question the thoughts.

Do not ask yourself why you are having such thoughts.

You must realize that these spam thoughts are just obstacles trying to derail you from your mission on this earth. God placed you here to remain focused and at peace. Do not allow spam thoughts to take your focus away from you.

In this life we will face much trouble trying to live a life of love. Allow yourself to rest in the presence of God, and the only way to do this is to focus on Him.

Recognize the spam in your mind, sharpen your focus like a sword, and live the life God has laid out for you.

When is their surgery?

Lately, I have been on my surgery rotation for medical school.

This is a unique rotation because I am given the opportunity to observe many different procedures. Sometimes I can even “scrub in”, which is medical jargon for assisting the surgeon.

At the start of my day, I go to the locker room and don my scrubs for the day. I grab a giant hairnet and throw it over my beautiful locks. Then I put covers over my shoes to protect them from any blood spills. I walk out of the changing room and head for the surgical waiting area.

The surgical waiting area is unique because this is where the patients are brought minutes before the surgery. They are wheeled in on their gurney and are met with the anesthesiologist and nurses who discuss the procedure for them. They are given an IV which will be for the medication used to put them asleep.

Before the surgeon comes in there is a waiting period where the patient is all alone. 

They sit there knowing, in just a few minutes, they will be having a very invasive procedure.

__________________________

Today, these experiences had me thinking.

How easy it is to remain cold in these settings.

When I am in the surgical waiting area, I usually am thinking about how tired I am or how I wish I had breakfast.

When I am in the surgical waiting room, I usually am thinking about what I am going to do after the procedure. How long will it take? Will the surgeon ask me any questions?

I am so quick to forget the facts of those around me.

The fact that the woman beside me barely speaks English and does not understand what is going on around her. 

The fact that the patient waiting for a very painful spine procedure looks filled with terror and is shivering. 

The fact that the patient to my right had an invasive procedure many times before and was overwhelmed with despair. 

These situations, though happening in a surgical waiting room, are very applicable to life itself. Those around us are in the midst of very desperate situations. Instead of putting ourselves in their situations and allow it to drive us to act for their betterment, we are quick to shy away.

We jump to turn inside ourselves instead of allowing ourselves to be an agent of change for our neighbor.

I believe this is all driven by fear. A fear response that pushes us to remain safe, comfortable, and cozy.

This week I challenge you to look for those around you that may be in their own surgical waiting room. Do not allow the fear of saying the wrong thing or putting yourself out there prevent you from being a light in a dark place.

Maybe someone is waiting for a test grade to come back in a class they are struggling with?

Maybe someone is having trouble finding a job after being laid off?

Maybe someone is just having a really bad day? 

Allow the shell society has created around yourself to slowly melt away.

Empathize and act.

You do not have to feel anything.

You do not have to feel like you are going to change the world.

It doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s life.

All you really need to do is notice. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You Are So Calm”

“I recommend calm, and calm all the time.” St. Pio

Being calm is a gift from God.

I have witnessed people who remain calm in the craziest of situations. It amazes me how someone can remain calm when all hope is lost.

When I think of calmness I picture many different people.

The surgeon who remains calm when something goes wrong. 

I think of a paramedic, as they continue chest compressions. 

I envision a brother holding back his temper. 

I see a mother remaing at peace when her newly licensed son is driving her around. 

Calmness, to me, is so powerful because it is a virtue I pray for constantly. 

 

Here’s a little story…

 

Recently, I was in the Emergency Room. I was observing a physician for the day who received a call to check on a patient. We were in the patient’s room listening to his complaints trying our best to figure out what was causing the symptoms. The room had three physicians in it, the wife of the patient, and the patient’s daughter.

It had been a LONG day. The emergency room felt like a sauna. I was hungry. I was feeling extremely anxious. My head was spinning. My to-do list was scrolling along in my brain like an instagram feed. I felt every negative feeling possible in this moment.

I was stuck in my head in complete distress when all of a sudden someone started talking to me.

The daughter of the patient with utmost sincerity and said,

 

“You are so calm.”

 

I thanked her for the compliment and soon we left the patient so they could begin tests.

Calm? Me? What? Was she joking? Am I being punked?

This story is a testament that God is working in you even when you do not notice it yourself.

In that situation I felt everything but calmness; however, this was exactly what the patient’s family was able to see.

Is there a certain virtue or quality you are praying about receiving? Is there a part of yourself you wish would begin to bloom?

I encourage you to keep pursuing the goal, even when you feel like you have nothing to show for it.

In the midst of it all, you may be suprised at how much of that quality you actually demonstrate.

“Never be in a hurry, do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”

-St. Frances de Sales

 

The Organist with One Arm

This morning I was sitting in Church when the music started.

This means that the priest is coming into the Church and the Mass is starting.

I never usually notice the music.

It provides a beautiful backdrop to the worship, but because it does not change much it is not something my mind wanders towards.

Today as the music was playing, I noticed the organist had a cast on her left arm.

She was playing with only her right hand.

Immediately, I started to notice the music.

I noticed that it sounded exactly the same. No note was missed. Everything was perfect.

For some reason, because she was only using one hand, it made me appreciate the music so much more.

 

I think this holds true to life in many ways.

Individuals that conquer through the struggle and still continue to use their gifts and talents are extremely admirable.

The one-arm organist proved a point today.

No matter the struggle, if you are using your gifts for the glory of God, nothing can stop you.

The harder the struggle the greater the final product.

Friends, I encourage you to look at the struggle placed before you today. Use your gifts anyway regardless of what you face.

Be like the one-armed organist who, even with a cast on, continued to use her gift for God’s glory.

 

Let the waves carry you

Today, I was at the beach reading.

The theme “Following God’s will” has been on my mind a lot lately.

After quite some time the heat of the day came.

I usually enjoy going in the waves, but today I was not really feeling it.

However, when at the beach, you got to do what you got to do.

So I decided to dive into a wave. Then another one. And then another one.

As usual, it was awesome

When I was in the wave, I could feel its power.

I decided to let it carry me and send me wherever it decided.

 

This is how we must follow God’s will. 

 

We must let God be God and go with the flow of the waves He sends us.

We must use the wave to drive us forward.

The waves of life come and go and pull us in a million directions.

This tossing about may make us feel a bit uncomfortable.

Feeling powerless is the fear many of us harbor deep in our hearts.

Today, I encourage you to let the waves of life come.

Do not fear the awesome power of God.

Dive in and let the waves carry you.

Carry you home. 

 

 

 

The mind spins, the cross stands firm.

The Carthusian religious order’s motto goes something like this…

As the world spins, the cross stands firm.

Today I am going to change it up a bit.

As your mind spins, the cross stands firm. 

When everything does not make sense.

When you feel like the word confused doesn’t even do it justice.

When you feel like you keep getting hit by waves and can’t come up for air.

When anxiety, depression, fear, and discouragement attack you from all sides.

The cross stands firm.

As Christians, we must lean on this deep and powerful truth.

God is God and we are not.

God is our light and our guide.

In times of deep confusion and fear, we must listen to the still small voice and trust.

St. Pio said,

The most beautiful act of faith is the one made in darkness, in sacrifice, and with extreme effort.

You may feel lost right now. You may feel forgotten by God. However, you must realize that in this darkness is where you will find growth. In this uncertainty, you will grow in virtue and character. Do not waste this chance to be who God made you to be.

Your mind may be spinning a thousand miles an hour.

But friends, the cross stands firm. Unshaken.

Fix your eyes on Him who waits eagerly.

The confusion is a time where your faith will grow quicker and quicker.

All you must do is give the effort.

Faith is not Feelings

Yesterday I read the quote,

“It wasn’t nails that held Jesus to the cross but love.”

The truth is: God loves you with an infinite love. He died for you. He died for you. Let me repeat that: God died for you.

Most days the truth is hard to swallow. We may strive in our hearts to believe the truth of the Gospels, yet a lot of the time you may feel nothing. 

It’s ok to not feel a flutter in your chest when you contemplate the love of God.

You do not have to feel in order to believe.

What matters is constant perseverance.

Repeat to yourself the truths that will set you free.

Jesus died for me.

God loves.

I trust in Him.

I will not be afraid.

I will persevere.

I will never give up.

No matter what lies attack you on a daily basis, we must continue to call upon the truth even if it if they feel fake.

I want to remind you today just how much God loves you. It is so great that it is incomprehensible.

Feelings do not equal faith.

Faith is greater than your feelings.

Faith is freedom.