Sometimes I forget that part of the "style" of blogging is informal and unstructured, and so on days like today, where my focus is in several different directions, I can just list some reflections. These may or may not be related. Here goes:
1. This Sunday, the priest at Mass talked about the Ascension (we celebrated it here in Nashville on the Sunday, instead of Thursday), and focused on how before the Ascension, Christ instructs his disciples to "teach them to observe all that I have commanded you." The priest connected this with the importance for parents to provide good catechises to their children. He talked about how a parent asked a bishop (or priest, I can't remember the exact details), "When does the catechises of a child begin?" and the bishop responded, "12 years before the child is born." In his homily, the priest continued to talk about how the foundations of faith are laid long before the child is born; to the extent that the future parents form themselves spiritually and live a life of virtue 12 years leading up to the birth of their child, this is preparation of how they will catechise their child.
I thought this was a really fascinating reflection. Obviously, within the spiritual life, one must take into account the reality of continual conversion, and even if a parent has only just become serious about their faith in the past few years, they can still provide invaluable catechises for their children. But it really spoke to me as a reminder that the way I am living my life right now, is not just what I am doing for myself in this moment, but is forming me for what I will be called to give and teach in the future, in whatever capacity God sees fit. It was a really encouraging realization, that by cultivating the gifts and virtues and spiritual life to which God is calling me now, He is equipping me for something that I could be doing 12 years down the road for which this period of formation was integral.
2. Ok, that was longer than random thought, huh? On the note of singleness, in the past week I have learned that 3 of my good friends, with whom I had lost touch, are now in serious relationships. I am thrilled that they dating, and it does offer some hope - if they have found good matches after this (seemingly long) time, maybe there is hope for the rest of us. But there was also the reaction after hearing there updates, that this "us" of single people is a smaller and smaller group of friends, and there is always the fear that I will be one of the last ones to pair off. The smaller the singles fraction gets, the harder it is some days to be ok with this state of life. But I guess one must trust that with great crosses comes great grace.
3. And on the note of dating, a different friend, one who lives in Tennessee, met her boyfriend randomly at Krogers. They seem to be a very well-suited couple. My 9pm runs to Publix grocery store confirm this hypothesis to be true: meeting a cute, single guy at the grocery store later on a weeknight evening might just be the best place to meet a beau. ;-)
4. I had a really wonderful birthday, thanks to some wonderful friends and relatives who showered me with birthday greetings and made me feel very spoiled on my birthday. Although I was not as excited to turn 26 as I was to turn 25 (I really did think 25 was a cool age), I was not as traumatized to turn 26 as I was to turn 24. Go figure.
5. About a week before my birthday, I began getting more reflective and nostalgic about life. This song was on the radio, and it really moved me. I had heard it before, but in this moment I just felt like it was a word from the Father, telling me that this should be the "theme song" for me as I begin this next year of life. When I look at my life, I have so much to be grateful for. Although those who know me know that I can get sidetracked by discouragement and pessimism, I know deep down that I have been abundantly blessed, and I am beginning to believe more in the blessings of even the deepest mysteries and crosses in my life. This year has especially been evident of the glory God has manifested in my life in the way He has provided for me so evidently and so tenderly. When I heard this song, the line that struck me the most was "You ain't seen nothing yet / you ain't seen nothing yet / you aint seen nothing yet / open your eyes", and the way that God was calling me to believe that line with my whole being. We are called to recognize His manifestations of glory in our lives, but not to stop there. We must believe that His glory will continue to penetrate our lives in even deeper and more profound ways; this is the foundation on which hope lies, and in which our heart finds peace.