What We Give Back to God

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about talent and not wasting our days. I’ve been thinking about procrastination, scrolling on social media, and browsing the internet. I’ve been thinking about work and responsibility.

I’ve been praying for change.

Last night, I was sitting in my car outside my parents house. My wife was finishing up a phone call while I stared out the window. There I saw a tulip with a light shining on it.

A single tulip just resting in the light.

The tulip I saw

I started thinking…

God has given us all a tulip when we are born. A gift to grow and water. We know what waters our tulip and helps it grow. We all have the duty and the responsibility to care for this gift. Using our talents we water the tulip and feed it with the light it needs. When we watch our days go by the flower withers. When we head off course the flower loses its brilliance.

At the end of our life the tulip will be finished growing.

What will your tulip look like when you give it back to God?

Feelings and Truth

At the start of a half marathon you feel good.

The wind is pushing you forward. The sweat has yet to start dripping down your face. The sun is out.

Yet, a few miles in things start to feel different.

Your breathing quickens. You feel a small side cramp that seems to grow larger each minute. Your legs start to feel like steel beams.

How you feel is totally different than how you felt minutes before.

________________

In life we are faced with many different feelings. Feelings that can motivate us to do good or cause us to feel downtrotten.

Feelings are like waves. One minute they are barely visible and the next they topple us over like a 5 year old who was too close to the shoreline.

What we need to remeber is that:

Truth is constant.

In the above example of the half marathon, your feelings would be all over the place. However, the one thing that is constant is the truth of the race. The truth being: You need to finish the race regardless of your feelings.

I have noticed within myself and others around me that at times we allow our negative feelings to define who we are. At many moments this discouragement we place on ourselves paralyzes us and prevents us from living the life we are called to live. When we feel rejected and unloved we forget the ultime truth.

God loves us unconditionally. He is merciful.

No matter how we may “feel” about ourselves at any moment, we are made in God’s image.

We were placed on this earth to make a difference and spread light.

If certain feelings are preventing you from bearing the fruit of love remind yourself of the truth:

I am loved by God. God has placed me here for a purpose.

Now no matter the feelings…lets take a step forward and finish this race.

Only One Shot

Christmas break is over for most. This means it’s time to get back at it.

To the grind.

Whether it is work, school, or life, the relaxed atmosphere of Christmas/New Year’s is behind us. On top of that, it is now 2021. With a new year comes many expectations for ourselves and the world.

I was at Church on New Year’s day. In the homily the priest mentioned how in this life we only have “one shot” to make it to Heaven. He talked about the value of time. Each second has the power to transform us to who we know we must be, or take us further from our mission.

What is your mission? Are you pursuing it valiantly?

With this new year comes an opportunity to redisover and refine our mission. We must seek to notice the goals that are placed in our hearts and dive deep fighting for them.

For 2021, lets strive to hit the pillow knowing that we used this “one shot” of life to the fullest.

Every second this year is important.

For in them, our character is sculpted.

Beginning: A Poem for 2021

To begin is to hear

the crunch of sneakers against morning dew pavement

to spread good like misty perfume and

carry joy as an anchor and paddle

a moment is the sum of action and intention

where our hearts rest, is where we will wake up

place a few alarm clocks within the boxes on your calender

this way of living needs a tune up

to change is to rip out and regrow

deep roots are chains

a new beginning is the lines on our fingertips

always there if we look close enough.

-n.J.bellacicco

@njb.poetry

Where Is Your Light?


You are the light of the world…Matthew 5:14

What does it mean to be the light?

This is a question thas has been on my heart over the last few months.

How can I be the light at home, in my community, or with strangers?

There is a lot of darkness this year. A lot of pain. Much suffering.

I know within each of our hearts there is a call to help. A call to mend what is a broken. A call to carry the weight for someone even if for just a short amount of time.

I’ve seen how light works. When I was a young child, I remember having to get upstairs from the basement. It was pitch black. I was scared. The darkness meant uncertainity and fear.

I recall sprinting up the stairs and staring as my shoes lit the way. They were the classic light up sneakers.

Through this light, I felt a wave of calmness. My path was laid before me and I could carry on without anxiety.

I think this is what it means to be the light.

To be the light is to scatter the darkness.

To be the light does not mean to be a small flickering candle.

Being the light, is like being lightening piercing the night sky.

Light is powerful, it collides with anything in its path.

Loving others is to be the light.

When we love others we put ourselves out there in a very vulnerable place. Love requires sacrifice. Love can lead to pain. Just like light, when we love there is a sharp contrast with darkness.

I think to be the light in our modern world is to recognize the humanity in each other.

To be the light, is to call others by their name and to recognize their gifts.

Instead of trying to think how can I be the light, lets think about when we felt the light shine on us.

To me this has been most apparent in my life, when I am called by name.

When light shines on others, it sees them for who they are and not a numerical value.

Recognizing and appreciating the gifts of others is essential in building others up.

In the passage above, Christians are called to be the light of the world.

To be the light means to love deeply, call others by name, and recognize their gifts.

We all have the ability to be the light.

It is our choice if we will choose to flicker or pierce the sky.

Three Years Ago: “Pouring Echoes” Released

Three years ago, my book of poetry “Pouring Echoes” was released.

Here is a poem from my book:

be broken.

don’t be a working vending machine

where people give to you, so you give to them.

be a broken vending machine.

the kind that spit out change from the bottom

for no reason.

be that.

-n.J.bellacicco

Check out Pouring Echoes on Amazon!

Back to Normal?

With all the talk of a COVID-19 vaccine, questions of returning back to normal start to come to my mind.

Things like:

Going to a packed movie theater.

A professional baseball game.

Even just standing in an awkwardly crowded elevator.

At first all these things sound great. These are experiences we have missed out on for almost a year. I know; however, that getting back into the swing of things may not be so easy for some people. A lot of uncertainity (rightfully so) was built upon being close to or near large groups of people. Going back to normal is going to take some getting used.

I remember something similar happening to me during my first two years of medical school. Due to the constant workload and studying, I would sit in my apartment studying for almost the whole day. This was what was required to learn the material. When I went to visit my now wife, I would have to take a plane from Florida to Texas. I remember the feeling of being on the plane with so many people. It was a weird experience for me after being so isolated studying for so long to now walking around an airport.

It took some adjusting.

From what I have witnessed, I know there are many people struggling with loneliness right now more than ever before. From nursing homes preventing visitors to individuals with anxiety disorders stuck at home, this pandemic has brought on many other struggles.

Therefore, when we do get somewhat “back to normal” let us remember to be on the lookout for those that need us. We have all experienced this pandemic differently. Some of us have lost family members. Others have lost successful careers. And others will have to learn to adjust to living in a bustling world.

In due time, when COVID-19 is behind us, I do not want to go back to normal.

I want to go to better.

A world where we are constantly grateful for the ability to celebrate the holidays together.

A world where we choose to visit and hug our grandparents.

A world where we recognize the struggles of others and seek to love them through it.

Back to normal?

Together let us focus on better.

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.

Microwave Moments

You go into your freezer and pull out that ice cream you have been waiting to eat all day. You grab a spoon from the drawer, open the lid, and dive right into the pint. Yet, the ice cream is as hard as a rock. You keep trying but you are just getting ice cream shavings. So you do the microwave trick.

You take the ice cream and put it in the microwave for ten seconds.

When you take it out it has softened a bit and now you can enjoy it.

Like the ice cream, there are many people whose hearts have hardened by their environment.

You try to talk with them or form relationships with them, yet whenever you try it’s like you are talking to a wall. They are cold. Some people can become quite ruthless.

It may be difficult to be kind towards these people. It takes a big dose of humility and a giant amount of patience. Yet, this is what we are called to do.

When we are kind, loving, patient, generous, caring, etc. towards individuals with a hardened heart it turns into a microwave moment. Though on the outside they may appear cold, a transformation is occurring inside of them. It doesn’t have to be big acts of kindness. Sometimes the smallest acts slip into the cracks of their heart easier.

People may condemn you and laugh at you. They may tell you that said person will never change. They will tell you to just leave them alone and move on.

However, this is not what Christ has called us to do. He has called us to live lives of pure love towards EVERYONE.

So continue to choose to love those with a hardened heart.

You may be their last hope.

Calm in the Chaos

The theme of my life right now is calm in the chaos. 

We live in a world that constantly puts us on edge.

Text messages, homework, tests, emails, to-do-lists, etc.

It is difficult to stay calm when pulled in a million different directions.

Yet, we are called to calmness.

One of my favorite quotes by St. Padre Pio is

“I recommended calm and calm all the time.”

In order to hear the voice of God and do His will, we must be calm.

Trying to live a life on the narrow path while being pulled in a million directions is about as easy as doing math homework in a crowded subway. Sure, it can be done, but eventually, you are going to miss a calculation and end up with a very wrong answer.

Christ leads us to calmness through His words.

He reminds us that in Him we have the rest we need.

I encourage you all today to continue seeking a calm attitude.

You are called to remain calm in the chaos like Peter walking to Christ on the water.

All you must do is have faith.