By drawing closer to the poor, little by little we become their confidants and counselors in the worst moments of this earthly pilgrimage. We can give them the comforting words of faith and often we succeed, not by our own merit, in putting on the right road people who have strayed without meaning to.
I phoned into a radio program today, something I have always (secretly) wanted to do, but never did. I arrived 9 minutes late to a client’s home for his last session with me before being transferred to the next clinician (because I found a new career*) and clients tend to dislike the last final session. Well, since I was on the road earlier, I could call in.
Immaculate Heart Radio’s Joe Sikorra posed the question of learning from our pain and blues – mind you, not depression – clinical depression, PTSD, or suicidal ideation – but the blues. Psychiatric journals have published that a slightly negative mindset (i.e. skeptical) can support improved memory. I have been living with pain since November.
I was crying as I drove home about two weeks ago, talking out loud to myself trying to convince myself for reasons why I wanted to leave my current job. In my tears, I heard myself say “I’m leaving for my self-worth”.
The utterance surprised me.
I am worth more than working 40+ hour work days at odd hours: 10am-7:30pm with no lunch or restroom break, or late-night “on call” sessions on the phone; a salary for an LCSW that is below $60,000 including the bilingual bonus; an ever increasing demand for progress notes turned around within 24 hours with no accommodation for those of us who do NOT downgrade our personal computers to IE 8 or 9; use of our personal cell phone as a company phone to contact clients; &c.
I LOVE my adolescent clients. I frequently enjoy working with their parents. They are NOT why they are leaving. I cried after so many sessions this past week. My current supervisor has ignored these facts an chewed apart collateral sessions with parents that are more than a month old. She has made snide commentary about the fact that I have taken additional unplanned PTO days this past two weeks (An LCSW has to attend weekly 1 hour individual supervision?! An LCSW has to attend weekly 2-hour group supervision?!) She has chosen to ignore the fact that I spent more than $1.900.00 two weeks ago on fixing my car. She has ignored the fact that I had to replace a tire and the air valve system today at the cost of 4 hours.
Anyway, I called in. I spoke of how I learned that my bad mood since December taught me that I was burned out. I no longer had a case of the blues on Monday, but also Tuesday and Thursday. I took Fridays off for mental health days, and then started taking weeks off. When that didn’t work, I continued what I needed to do: pray, journal, draw, talk with friends, went to therapy.
I started interviewing and finally found a job. The day I was asked about an interview, I also had two other interviews. I realized that I needed to make a choice. Even Mary was offered a moment to not say “Fiat”. So, I just had to commit. Which one of the several offers was I going to commit to?
My mood taught me to learn how to walk away. What have the blues taught you?
*I will be working for a private, for-profit company providing therapy. I get an office, a private-practice atmosphere with someone else managing all the overhead; a 9-5. I can get a better apartment, a doggie, and find time for dating after work.
I’m in Tehachapi, CA for the following week. I know my absence on here has been long, but I haven’t had anything worthwhile typing. Please keep me in your prayers. I’ll be making my Consecration to Jesus Through Mary on the 25th, of course. Hopefully I will have more clarity if this is my home away from Home.
Lent is upon us. Enter the days of the Catholic “diet”: give up chocolate, soda, etc. As long as it’s not a REAL sacrifice to you. It definitely should not be REAL since Christ’s suffering and Passion wasn’t that. Right?
I was thinking of going partially Greek/Byzantine for Lent: no meat dairy, olive oil or wine. Yet, in thinking about it for the past few weeks, I realized that left me with lentils, beans, rice, fish, and nothing with which to cook all those items. Then I was thinking of doing a normal Latin Rite fast on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday; Greek/Byzantine from Wednesday through Friday midnight. I struggle to remain at 120lbs at 5’3″ currently, and on these dietary restrictions… Erm, that just wouldn’t do. I’ve settled upon simply no meat for all of Lent minus the Sundays. You may be wondering why I desired to do a more intense fast: I’ll be on retreat in late March for discernment for a week with the nuns. Lent is my favorite (liturgical) season, why not see what life is like during my utmost favorite time of all? Additionally, I’m be making my Consecration to Jesus through Mary, using St. Louis de Montfort’s book. An intense Lent calls for an intense fast, but it’s supposed to be a fast, not a starvation.
However, Lent, as I mentioned earlier is not meant to be easy going. You don’t give up chocolate if it’s only something you eat at the office when someone offers it to you, you give it up when it’s in your milk at breakfast, you enjoy a piece of cake or candy at lunch/dinner, you have syrup on your ice cream at dinner each day, everyday. That is when you give up chocolate. You give up something you’re ATTACHED to: a favorite color, clothing item, food, music, television program, television itself (yes, even via Roku, Hulu, Netflix, etc), websites (i.e. fanfiction.net), etc. I love meat. I love bacon. I try to cook fresh meals every evening when I get home, even if that’s 8:30pm. I love the smell of cooked
animal flesh. During Lent, especially the first week, I hallucinate the taste of meat in all of my food; I’ve done so in vegan guacamole! If I enter the monastery, officially, the nuns fast from meat year-round. Oh boy, I’ll be dreaming of bacon, chicken, liver & onions.
Lent is to remind you of life on the OTHER SIDE, without actually dying.
I went hiking this past weekend for 2 hours (hiked 4 miles). I like to hike the hard way in and the easy way out, that way I get my exercise in, my rest period with a snack, and some creating (i.e. photography, drawing, thinking), and lastly my cool-down period. On the way back to the parking lot along the deteriorating fire-road, just past the ruins of the Keller cabin, the wind died down. The woodpeckers stopped jostling their brains. I stopped and then I heard it, the rustling of the leaves like a ball was rolling in the brush. I looked closely, and saw this guy ^ gliding on by. He/She’s a rattlesnake, about 3 feet long but not very thick, and the rattler didn’t look very well formed.
The imagery and experience of watching a snake in the grass seems to be a good metaphor of how the month of August has been for me: I was on a monastic visit and I don’t know what to make of my experience; my Spiritual Director quit; gossip at work encouraging/pressuring me to date a male colleague; slanderous gossip at work on a different matter which is abhorrent in nature, & more. As it is late in the month, I’m getting to the point of just watching the snake in the grass. I take a step closer because I’m curious, but I use my zoom lens to get a better look. I stand around to make sure it goes into it’s hole in the ground, and I go on my way. I’m just watching all this “danger” come at me and I’m TRYING to let it pass.
My thoughts since learning of the slanderous gossip at work are as follow:
- if you have the luxury of enough time to conjure such abysmal stories about me, perhaps you need more clients.
- I only speak negatively of the people who’ve done me wrong (i.e. my direct supervisor calling me a lesbian).
- I’ve been honest about my family, why make up more horrific stories – the truth isn’t enough?
(verbal & physical abuse)
- Do you actually desire that kind of trauma to be upon me?
- Is this a reaction to the fact that I’ve made statements that I’m Catholic and therefore will not have strange unmarried men spend the night in my apartment?
- Is this a reaction to the fact I’ve stated numerous times that I do not date people at work?
- Is this a reaction to the fact I’ve stated “I’m Catholic”?
- Driving into work today, I’m was still furious. I frequently talk to myself in the car at times like this. I explained to myself that my life does not exist to please you, to appease you. I am not standoffish about sex, but I will not engage in sex outside of marriage, I will not masturbate, I will not procure abortions or contracept. Not because I’m afraid of sex, but that these are the teachings of the Catholic Church. If I did not want to have to follow these teachings, I’d go find a religion that does fit my thoughts. For example, if I thought children should not be baptized prior to the age of reason, I’d be a Baptist, if I thought modernity were completely of the Devil, I’d be Mennonite. However, these are man-made constructs. I’m Catholic because that is the Church Christ established through Simon-called-Peter/Cephas. If I were to run around to find a religion that fit me, that wouldn’t be Faith, it’d be Pride. I’m Catholic, I follow what Mother Church teaches since She can only speak the truth of God. I don’t attend the Church of You wherein there’s practices of masturbation, abortion, contraception, fornication, emotional extra-marital affairs, loose associations, and Soul-selling for a few moments pleasure: Let’s see, maybe 20 minutes of sex in exchange for eternity in Hell, or I can forego sex outside of marriage between the ages of 13 to 30ish, and have better hopes of going to Heaven. I submit to God. My life is created for the glory of God. I’m made by & for God, so I’m Catholic. I follow what God teaches through His established Church. I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU.
- If you’ve never had the experience of seeing a real bonafide Catholic and that scares you to the point of committing slander and defamation, I don’t think I need to say which situation is more foolish.
- I don’t want to know who this person / whom these people are. Really, I don’t. I’ll lose so much respect for them. I’d loathe calling them colleagues. Their minds are pure filth. Additionally, knowing your name(s) opens you up to a lawsuit.