Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Encounter in New York


I spent three days in New York City without leaving the block of 33rd (or was it 34th St.?) and 8th Ave (or was it 7th?).  I didn't wave furiously behind any talk show windows.  I didn't even see Times Square, Central Park, the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty.  Yet, I can say, I didn't miss a thing.

Not that those "tourist attractions" aren't fine and dandy, but for me, my reality led me elsewhere: to the New Yorker Hotel and Manhattan Center (both on the same city block) for three days of lessons, exhibits and cultural performances.  I saw folk dancing from five unique countries, heard a presentation on the American painter, William Congdon, toured exhibits on the White Rose and John Henry Newman, and attended an awesome concert that toured through the roots of American music: blues, jazz, and rock and roll.

My weekend was explicitly a challenge to embrace reality with the positive hypothesis that it was PERFECT FOR ME.  And I fought that a lot--I had to be at meetings when my friends could sleep in...I had to volunteer when others could chat, etc.  But when I really obeyed, I saw with super-clarity that in this place with these people--the co-ordinators of the event are from the Movement Communion and Liberation--the infinite needs of my heart are taken seriously.

So, I could have gone to tour around New York City by myself, but, instead, I stayed to test this hypothesis of reality being positive.  Is reality positive?  How do you know?  I heard this over and over and continue to keep that question alive while I'm here in Indianapolis?  Is reality against me?  Or is there Someone who knows my name and is so Present in my life I can't avoid Him for much longer?

I'm so unbelievably grateful for the witnesses in my life who show me the simplicity of following Christ--just allow yourself to be surprised and allow yourself to be moved.  It is here, that we discover, not only our truest humanity, but the Beloved!  I'm not perfect at this recognition, nor do I have all the answers, but I do know that I'm on the path.

Another blog post about the New York Encounter from Fr. Alex Zenthoefer of the Diocese of Evansville:  http://fralexz.blogspot.com/2012/01/true-encounter-in-big-apple.html

Click below to see a small sampling of Fr. Carron's address to us about Fr. Giussani's book, At the Origin of the Christian Claim.  If you look VERY closely, you will see me in the audience! :)

What is Christianity?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Acceptance of Adulthood

I woke up at 7am yesterday (a Saturday...yet another point in what I'm about to say) with a "food hangover." For those unfamiliar with the term, a food hangover is when you feel like crap because of all the crap you ate the day or night before.  Symptoms of food hangovers are grogginess, belly ache, other intestinal issues I would prefer to not mention here, dry mouth, and lack of appetite.

As I was cursing myself for eating McDonald's french fries at 1 am on Friday night, I got reflecting...

"This NEVER happened to me when I was younger..."

In my naive younger years, food hangovers didn't exist.  The only hangover I had was from drinking too much.  I'm finding that food hangovers are almost as bad as the "real" ones.

Here are some other things I found myself thinking this fateful Saturday morning at 7am:

"I can't drink caffeine late at night either..."

"I said to my students this week, 'You don't know what a cassette player is?' "

"That high school kid at Kroger called me 'Ma'am' this week..."

"My favorite Christmas presents weren't toys are even gadgets or electronics.  They were home decor and appliances!"

"I'd rather go home than go to Broad Ripple."

"A lot more of my sentences are starting....'When I was in college..." lately."

"Lowe's is becoming the new Claire's.  I can't get out of there with just one thing!"

"I have more Baptisms to attend this year than weddings!!"

"I have to actually think about how to manage my weight....argh."

I'm in a weird place in life because I'm not old---gray hair, wrinkles, and gastro-intestinal issues are still a bit on the horizon (let's hope!)  But I'm definitely moving out of that "YOUNG adult" spectrum and just into adult.  It's crazy to look from the outside at yourself and see just how much you are changing...

But life goes on...and things change.  Instead of lamenting what I DON'T have anymore, I celebrate what I do!  I instruct Zumba classes.  I host dinner parties.  I OWN MY OWN CAR!  I have a budget.  I manage my own classroom.  I'm kind of an adult that has been given much responsibility.  I just hope God knows what He's doing! :)

I'm going to butcher this Bible verse, but the one that says, "May Christ complete the good work He has started in us..." comes to mind.  During my adult years, may God continue to work the miracles in and around me that He's already done in my first 28 years of life!  It's definitely an exciting adventure!

So, even if I'm still getting zits, like Disney movies (just watched Enchanted last night), and call my mom when I'm sick, I'm definitely NOT a kid anymore.  So here's to buying my own acne medicine, making sure the movies I watch are over by 10:30 so I can go to bed, and calling the doctor myself when I need it.  Adulthood is here whether I think I'm ready or not.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rebel Pride on Christmas Break

I remember being 10 and praying with all my might that my mom wouldn't send me to Roncalli High School. I had been raised in the public school system and my parents were deciding on whether or not to transfer us to Catholic school.  It was scary.  It was new.  And those kids were weird.

Despite my prayers, God didn't listen and I found myself at St. Barnabas for sixth grade and Roncalli High School until my senior year.  In His infinite wisdom, I've been blessed with more great people from my high school days than I deserve and this Christmas break highlighted that fact yet again.

A few times a month, I eat dinner with seven or eight friends from high school who made a conscious decision to stay together about three years ago.  We rotate the cooking/hosting responsibilities and it's been a really great thing for me to do.  It says a lot if you can continue on friendships that have been around for 15 years--and 15 years of MAJOR life changes. 

Last Wednesday, I had lunch with the "Post Girls" four girls who shared the same position as me on the basketball team.  We grew into great friends and even after the season and into college, I continued to meet with Warner, Knoll, Weber and Frank (okay, those are last names: Kara, Jessica, Anna and Erin in the grown up world...haha) for dinners and conversation.  Ten years later, Kara is pregnant (YAY), Erin is engaged, and Anna and Jess are finishing up school.  (they were the young ones)  I'm so blessed to have had them as teammates and now life-long friends.

Friday was the last of my Rebel-filled surprises with coffee with the Trulocks!  Pat was a close friend from high school and someone who was always incredibly real with me.  He and his wife Megan are a beautiful married couple who really understand what it means to be happy and joyful with the simple things of life.  I could tell from just observing them that they are not only spouses, but best friends and that's something that I wish for myself one day!

I've learned through these high school friends that you aren't friends with someone because of what they have accomplished, what they do for you (or vice versa), or even interests or topics you hold in common. A friendship is possible with ANYone simply because it's a humanity that binds us.   Like I said, when you see 15 years of history with some of these people, you start to understand that there is something a lot more lasting that binds you besides some high school memories or dumb hobby.

I've so enjoyed seeing my high school friends grow into the young adults they are now and learning their new quirks, interests and dreams for the future.  Although I kind of hate to use the expression, "Proud to be a Rebel...." I AM proud of my friends, how they desire the good of one another, and how they stay loyal to those they've been given.