A lamentation in the truest definition is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow, a time of deep sincere weeping. Many of us walk through this life doing everything we possibly can to avoid such admonition of grief. We believe that we have to walk through each day with our head held high and be able to recite only the good of each moment that has passed. Society has made it impossible to be okay with times of struggle labeling it as weakness and an inferiority.
I am here to say that this is very dangerous.
What is a life if we cannot acknowledge all the aspects that our feet walk within a day, good and bad?
What is a life if we simply ignore that which actually forms our journey and creates the human experience that is defined in said lamentations?
It simply is not a complete life, no argument.
There is something to be said to allow yourself a day to be sad, sit in the sadness and let it envelop you. The sadness is speaking to you in profound ways which you need to hear, telling you that there is something along your journey you have yet to face that needs you to pay attention in this very moment. The tears are wanting to fall, they want to flow from your being and release that which your own lamentation is asking you to be aware of today.
So, I ask you, when have you felt the most empty?
What is your lamentation in this moment today?
What name does it wear for you?
Don’t run from it, go deep within and explore it through journaling, art or simply being present to what it is speaking.
Ask it why its presence is so strong, ask it what it wants from you today.
Define the sorrow, breathe in the grief and let go within the weeping.
When you feel enough time has passed, thank it for the presence within you and move forward knowing you faced the darkness and came out on the other side.
If you want to take your findings one step further for the good that comes from it, share it with another person and allow those around you to grow and learn from your own human experience.
Be the teacher, be the listener, be the love in the sorrow.
“Tears are a way of freeing the self from ills and allowing blessings to come in.” ~Joseph Sergott O.P.
What makes you cry?
The answer is different for all people.
I used to hold all my emotions inside for many years. I held back my tears out of fear of losing complete control, fear of not being able to stop the pain I thought would pour out uncontrollably.
The inevitable day came while in treatment for anorexia, a time of release as I could no longer hold them in all to myself. Honestly, if I had known the gift they would have brought years earlier, I would have never had waited so long.
It was as if I took the deepest, freshest, cleanest breath of fresh air I had ever experienced. My whole body once recovered from the exhaustion lifted up as if I were floating and joy overcame me. Blessing…
There was something to be learned, treasured and remembered of the tears shed. There was even anticipation for the tears I still had yet to express. And there was excitement as if I found a key to a magic door that would help me along the rest of the journey.
Today, I am a beautiful crazy mess. I cry at everything and I don’t apologize for one single tear…ever!
Really, it was selfish to think I could keep such a blessing to myself. For the gift is meant to be shared with others.
We have emotions to express them, to feel them, and to share them with others. Tears bring joy, healing, peace and love.
Let go, trust, breathe and cry…I promise, you will be better for it!
What would life be like if we could see the soul of each person, rather than what we wear on the outside?
1. the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.
2. the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect, or as believed to survive death and be subject to happiness or misery in a life to come:
arguing the immortality of the soul.
Take a moment to truly digest that thought…the soul. What an extraordinary idea and gift it would be to receive.
Lately, it seems to be we are becoming more and more judgmental on what we are seeing on the outside of a person, before we actually even understand or take the time to discover who they are on the inside.
We see color, race, size and we seem to think we know exactly what that person’s journey is about, the inevitable self-righteous judging follows.
How often do we challenge ourselves to step outside of our fears and go deeper?
I can guarantee you that the homeless person on the street that you passed without making eye contact likely did not write an ‘When I grow up, I want to be Homeless‘ essay in grade school. They have a story, they have real pain, they are human.
They also know how to love like anyone else does, and at times I can promise they do it a lot better than those who have everything and ignore them.
We live in an age of social media where stories of all life are posted literally every second of the day, you can’t get away from what’s going on in the world. But, my favorite stories are the ones people are secretly telling about those who humbly do good in the world, not wanting to be recognized in any form.
Those are the souls I want to know…
Live life as if everyone can see every minute of your life. If you are living a good life, then you have nothing to worry about. If you stop to question what someone would think of you, then stop again and maybe turn your actions into good for others.
There are beautiful souls to be discovered, I know you are one of them.
‘Do we say ‘yes’ to God the way Mary did?’
~ Pope Francis
How many times in a day do we say ‘no’ to one question or another that comes at us, for we don’t want to be inconvenienced?
It could be as simple as a neighbor asking for a ride to the store as their car is broken down. A friend needing someone to just listen on the other side of the phone, but you are just too tired to hear another sad story. A co-worker who is falling behind in their work due to personal problems and yet no one offers to help.
These sound like simple ‘no’s’ one may face, but to the person caught in the struggle a little ‘yes’ could change their entire day or even life.
Who are we to say how ‘simple’ a task is in its meaning?
When Mary was approached she was a young girl. What was being asked of her was beyond comprehension in so many ways, yet she did not hesitate at the enormity of it all. She did not pause, complain, worry about herself first…she simply gave a resounding courageous ‘yes’ and doing so changed the world.
Her faith was undeniable. Is yours?
Think within your life when you needed someone else to say ‘yes.’ Were you alone? Scared? Hopeless? Did you wonder if anyone could see your pain to care? Did everyone walk away? How did that make you feel?
Today is a reminder in our busy world where it is so easy to get caught up in ourselves, our problems, our journey that we must pause, breathe and hear our neighbor. We must be Mercy to one another at all times, for the time is now.
Today, I challenge you to be courageous to another. I challenge you to pause and embrace your faith in ways you have feared once before.
Today, I challenge you to say, ‘YES!’
Repentance: the action of repenting; sincere regret or remorse.
The older I get the more I am aware that I am simply weak and broken, as are we all. My struggles along the ever changing journey have taught me that I have to trust my life to God’s love.
I have begun to realize that I have used my repentance, my insistent focus on my unworthiness to protect myself from facing the truth that God loves me even in the midst of my brokenness. When I do this, I am not truly living fully or the life He has so freely given me in this imperfection. It is my reminder to strive beyond my brokenness for the good of others.
How often do we ignore this love? Claim unworthiness?
How often do we find it easier to sit quietly in the stage of sinner, than risk going to God to ask forgiveness and healing so that we can turn our weakness towards the good of others?
This lent I challenge you to recognize your brokenness, honor it and then simply offer it up.
Once you do this turn to the person next to you and share in goodness. Instead of giving something up for lent, instead of pointing out all the things in life you feel you do wrong; why not put them aside and instead give love, kindness, generosity and a helping hand to the one who least expects it.
Christ suffered not so we can imitate it, rather so we could learn from His suffering to offer that love to our neighbor.
51 Billion Dollars on one Olympic Celebration.
It happens every Olympics, the stories and people forgotten among the grandiose celebration. You don’t have to be a top educated person to look around at the poverty around us to know that has to be one of the most ridiculous insults to every child going to bed with the pains of hunger so deep within their stomach tonight. Homeless Shelters are overcrowded turning people away in the bitter frigid darkness of winter sending fearful families to the streets to find shelter.
And worse in Sochi the residents of 5a Akatsy Street have lived for years with no running water or sewage system. Their communal outhouse had to be torn down because it was found to be too close to the new road and ruled an eyesore. The construction has made their lives utterly miserable than they have been in previous years cutting them off from the city center due to the new highway making every day living a nightmare. This one slum’s story is one of the many facets of a hidden dark side in the host city which stands side-by-side with the glittering new construction projects that President Vladimir Putin is touting as a symbol of Russia's transformation from a dysfunctional Soviet leviathan to a successful, modern economy.
51 Billion Dollars. Are their lost lives worth it?
The majority of the world can’t even comprehend that amount of money. Our lives exist in thousands of dollars not billions. We walk through each day just praying we will be able to take care of our families in the best of circumstance. The thought of having a little extra sits in the back of our minds like a distant dream. I hope I am teaching my children well that when that money does come we choose to share it with those less fortunate than ourselves. We live in a world of MORE, BETTER, BEST at all costs. I am challenging you to live in a world of less, enough, what one needs and to share the leftovers.
More won’t bring you happiness, better is just in the eyes of the beholder, and best? Well, I don’t understand why one would need best when good enough for right now will bring you more peace that anything else has ever attempted to be for you.
51 Billion Dollars.
The internet is a flurry with discussion and every opinion under the moon on the papal documents, ‘Amoris Laetitia’ or ‘The Joy of Love,’ that was released last week. A simple search can find every angle you could possibly imagine on the document.
You can throw your own thoughts into the never ending discussion threads until everyone tires of their own voice only to realize in the end there is only one bottom line from this beloved Pope; love wins.
Titled appropriately ‘The Joy of Love,’ he is reminding us that no matter what, our lives begin and end in love. It is up to you to recognize it, embrace it and choose to live it fully in your faith above and beyond what the ‘rules’ tell us on a daily basis. For when we trap ourselves into staying behind such rules, we often miss out on the greatest gifts in life.
I don’t believe he diminished what our faith has been for endless years, rather remind us Jesus’ message from the very first day of His asking us to follow Him; love.
We are called to care for our brothers and sisters, not condemn them in their struggles, pain or weariness. I feel like he is reminding us to not lose sight of our own weaknesses, to walk humbly with our faithful who have lost their way and who may not know this love. They are coming to you with courage; do not reject them in their time of isolation, darkness and fear, rather embrace their strength and willingness to take a step forward with the same love Jesus extends to you and I.
Pope Francis is reminding us that we must pause and look at our neighbor in the age of today, rather than that of yesterday; for times, thoughts, visions and realities evolve and change regularly. We must learn to adjust as life does on a continuous basis, rather than trap ourselves in the comfort of stagnation.
When the conversations begin on the intense topics within this document, within the church, within whatever belief you follow…be sure to interject love. Center one’s tone with love and you will be walking as Christ truly did with the people, not against or above them.
He is simply reminding us we are to take time in our own lives for personal discernment regularly, not just following as we always have because that is where it all began. Challenge. Question. Welcome our neighbor.
Be an apostle today.
"When we recognize the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection, love is born."
~Thich Nhat Hanh
Where do you pray?
There was a time when the answer was obvious, Church. But, as centuries go by life has evolved as do our daily practices. We are approached by new and often younger spiritual leaders with new ideas, new calls to service, prayer and faith. We are re-introduced to what we have experienced our whole life on a regular basis in a completely new light, challenging us to continue walking the same road with new ideas.
The question then lies; are you open to change? Are you open to finding God truly in all things and places?
Blessed with many spiritual experiences in my lifetime, which I hold close to my heart, I would have to say that the first time I realized I could find God outside of a church was the moment when my faith and my prayer life truly was brought to a new life.
It was a youth retreat I was accompanying, while beginning working with a youth group. We drove hours outside the big city to a rather popular hiking trail, while at the same time walking it could be as if you were the single person out there that day.
The readings and questions given to us were focused on the Emmaus Journey, a favorite story of mine. We walked alone, read, prayed and then asked ourselves the questions. The beauty lied in walking alone, yet I wasn’t completely alone. I was walking with Jesus having a conversation about these great mysteries and answers, challenging my faith and prayer right then and there. I prayed, paused, reflected and embraced my faith in a way I had never done before. It was such an intimate and powerful experience it is hard to bring another person into that day and moment. But I will tell you with all honesty, Jesus was most certainly walking with me guiding me back to the Church at a time when I was so skeptical of it all in my early young adulthood. My emotions ran strong at the time of betrayal, anger, disbelief and loneliness. I had been closed off from the formal Church wondering if I would ever find my way back. This day was the beginning.
As I continued this beautiful hike surrounded by glorious trees so tall you felt like you were walking in a painting, in time an opening appeared and before I knew it I was standing on a cliff with the roaring ocean in front of me. God was welcoming me home in that moment. As I write I can picture each step, hear the birds rustling in the leaves, the crashing waves of the ocean and Jesus’ voice, ‘Come home, Andrea.’ And that I did…
I went on to pray often on hikes, the ocean being such a spiritual definition in all its beauty and later would discover the desert mountain tops that would bring it all together.
God is in all things, truly. Mother Earth is our greatest prayer. Go to her, go to Him and find peace in the creation.
How good are we to our children if we are only ‘living for them?’
I hear this often, ‘my kids are my everything’ or ‘life just doesn’t exist without my kids.’ I believe we are doing them an injustice with this mentality. I came before my children and I came to them with quite a journey! A journey that deserves to be honored not just for me, but for my children as well.
The journey we walk in life prepares us for each step of the way forward, the journey allows us to take on each challenge with wisdom, faith and more perspective.
Don’t get me wrong, my children come first and into play for all my life decisions. My love for them is indescribable. I just understand that by taking care of myself I am honoring that love to the fullest. I am teaching them invaluable lessons on self-care, honoring one’s stories, and believing in their dreams alongside the journey. We can simultaneously take care of ourselves and those in our lives by living and trusting in an authentic life.
Imagine if you will a life where your child watches you grow, thrive, learn and be in an world where anyone and everyone is constantly trying to shoot you down? Imagine them going to school daily and watching other students fighting for the grades everyone strives to achieve and yet chooses a different just as courageous but unique direction. They choose a different path for they saw you, their parent, walk the path less taken!
Today and every day I walk the path that everyone says I shouldn’t. People telling me I have no right to take my kids along from move to move, dream to dream and yet….at the end of the day my children are the ones in awe and striving to go forward in their dreams.
‘I can’t wait for the next adventure, mama!’ says my beautiful almost nine year old daughter.
Honor the road that was meant for you, honor the path that calls you, honor the voice within and you can’t go wrong for them or for you.
All Souls Day, Día de Muertos, Day of the Dead…celebrating those loved one’s who have passed from this life; some too soon and others well lived to the fullest. Reminding us through dance, song, prayer and community that death is not to be feared rather respected. There is a circle of life to be acknowledged, to be free to appreciate each moment we are gifted breath.
Grief is an uneasy conversation for most, but one we must keep our hearts and minds open. Healing comes within the sharing and celebrating of lives past. While a depressed and dark cloud can cover a grieving person, on this day originally in Mexico it is a reminder to be a time of celebration! Whether too soon or their time, a life touched this beautiful earth and we must find the gratitude within to heal, love and celebrate their honor.
There are no directions, definitions or maps to healing. Each journey lies in the hands of the person grieving. But, we can be there in the silence, within the pain and encourage the celebration. Listen to the stories of those lives gone, for they are our teachers as we continue onward. You can give meaning to their days on this earth, by taking the relationship through your everyday bringing their wisdom to all whom you encounter.
Grief is a journey. It has no time limit. But, without a doubt it is a life to be celebrated.
One of my most favorite Catholic songs is often played at funerals, ‘On Eagles Wings.’ The comforting image of leaving this world on eagles wings into the heavens soothes; to be gently placed in the palm of His hand as if to be born into life again, always a child of God. It is comforting. It takes away any fear I may have had of dying, but more so it gives me peace for those loved one’s I have lost who finally found peace in His love at the end of long illness’.
And for those left behind in times of such trial or question, we are challenged to remember He is always carrying us in the palm of His hand. He is always by our side quietly guiding, gently helping us up when we fall harder than we could take alone and holding our hand along the way.
This day go and celebrate, remember, laugh, love, cry and dance…but always know He carries us in the palm of His hand now and forever. You are never alone.
A Single Mom's Good Friday
Celebrating Women in my Tribe
Ecumenism, Unity in Faith
In the Palm of His Hand
Living an Authentic Life
Mother Earth's Prayer
Pope Francis’ Joy of Love Wins
Poverty and a Party
Repentance, Unworthiness and the Quest for Good
Seeing One's Soul
The Beauty of Tears
What is your Lamentation?