ASH #9: A bet with God

God, a deity, who is supposed to be bigger, badder and better than me, or you. I suppose because I’ve never seen him. Although I have a tome of 73 books that I read at breakfast & dinner that tells me so. Yet (most) of these authors don’t see Him either. I’m hopelessly falling into the David vs. Goliath cliche with this, but I’ve got enough vinegar to not care. Oh, you don’t care for vinegar….some vodka then? Dern not vodka, fine yo-yo, I’ll give you single malt scotch whiskey. So yeah, this quiet social worker with her scotch takes on God. Lemme back up for a minute, I wasn’t always a social worker or a scotch imbiber, those come with time. But a bet with God, the one and only Deity in my life, shot that’s just tomfoolery. Yet, I made it. I was fresh out of life (like that feeling you have when you’re out of tp and you gotta go?). How in tarnation I was standing, breathing or moving…must’ve been God’s Will ‘cuz it sure as heck not mine. Nosiree in 2005, living took too much effort. My mind & craw were jammed full of other thoughts like pills, death, funerals and what color roses would cover a fresh mound of dirt. God would have it that I practically wander into the funeral Mass for someone I once knew, and make a bet – more like a threat:

I’m giving you one last chance. It better be good, because I can’t live like this. If it’s not good, I’m gone. I’ll leave you for good.

Er, what? Some chick blackmailed God. If He wanted/wants me, He’ll have to come and get me. Otherwise I’d crossover to the not-so Catholic side of things. It’s hard to tell who’s winning, but I’ll let Him claim it.

Advertisements

Flickering shadows

image

Some weeks I drag my feet toward my late afternoon/early evening clients for several reasons (i.e. diagnosis, family negating course of treatment, complexity), and yesterday I was actually looking forward to my afternoon cases for these same reasons. I can understand trauma, depression and anxiety. I’ve got cool things to do with kids in session to help them express fears and emotions; provide information that they aren’t alone. Something sticks with each session and they slowly grow, slowly improve.

I entered a school campus today, signed in at the front desk, and the principal addressed me about “our little friend” who has gotten into trouble yet again (at least 3x/week) for disrupting other classes by playing “ding-dong ditch”. If this little guy isn’t pranking, he’s tripping, pushing, or shoving others; he’s got some fire-setting incidents under his belt, too; violating physical boundaries (examples omitted) of classmates, legal guardians, and family members. This morning was the whipped cream and cherry. It was only 10:20am.

Let’s back up to yesterday (Monday) afternoon I listen as the child’s legal guardians recount how the kid grabbed one of them by their wrists and shoved into him/her; tore at his/her clothes. All because they were out in the community and the child would have to wait until they returned home to have access to a new toy. He would have to wait at least 30 minutes, and that is what makes him angry, and dangerous.

Thank goodness we have upcoming auxiliary services being implemented because impulsivity on this level makes for more shadows and worry than I’d like. And the sprinkles on top of it all was a comment from a higher-up in management told me to consider why the child does this, when I need to address the emergent issues of caregiver safety.

There’s Something About the Sisters of Mary

Why do you want to enter the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist?

I want to enter the SMMEs for a few reasons. The first year of my discernment from 2006 through 2007 was spent in prayer and I did not have a spiritual director at that time. I was in contact with a few different religious orders: Mission San Jose Dominicans, Daughters of Charity and School Sisters of Notre Dame. I liked different things about each one, but I soon recognized an undercurrent of apprehension: were those convents the right place? What did they think of me? Would I fit in? Why don’t they practice their traditional charism? why the denuded chapels? why do they have to schedule in community time or prayer time together? why this and why that?

When I stepped foot into the SMME motherhouse that Friday evening none of those previously ever-present questions arose in my mind. I was completely focused on God and on just enjoying myself during the retreat. I felt this sense of peace within myself; I no longer had to search and question and research; no more comparison and contrast with my beliefs and practices with that of the religious community. I felt that it was over – which is why I so readily asked for papers Saturday morning before that evening’s Eucharistic Adoration – I had already asked Jesus Friday night where He wanted me. He gave me the answers one after the other. The whole weekend God was saying “Yes, this is the place” in all those special ways He does in our own understanding of Scripture, prayer, music, people, etc. Lastly, as I was leaving Sunday to go home, I tried to see myself at the SMMEs just as I had tried with the MSJ Dominicans, the DCs, and SNDs; never had I pictured myself that way before, so fully.

What is it about this Community and our way of life that most appeals to you?

I’m very attracted to the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist way of life and community for reasons that echo the above. In the years since my Confirmation I have had to re-teach myself the mechanisms of the Catholic Church. I’ve had to learn about charisms, evangelical counsels, virtues of the flesh and theology. Few religious orders and communities actually practice a vow of obedience and poverty as I have seen in the SMMEs. There is a true sense of community: in the Eucharist and prayer life, in your daily life, and your interaction with each other. The vows and community life are faithfully lived out – sacrifice is not questioned, it’s expected. I’ll never forget the visit I made to convent here in Los Angeles and I was asked “Why should you have to sacrifice XYZ?” I don’t have to sacrifice. I could enter a religious community that would permit me to own things – but then I’m not really, fully loving God, am I? Isn’t that Who this is all about? God invites us, we say “yes,” and I’m only supposed to give up what I think I can manage? No. I’m reminded of the verse in Revelations that describes what type of service and love God enjoys — either be hot or cold, but not lukewarm. The Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are definitely filled with Love and Passion for God and interested in doing His service and His will. Oh, and you’re faithful to the Magisterium, which is important as I’ve seen it affect faith and salvation first hand in those who decide to add “New Age” or east Asian practices to the Catholic faith and liturgy; I don’t like the spiritual “funny” business.