Thought Into Existence – The 100th

Here’s the second of previously started writings that I never got around to posting. This, I believe, came from early September of last year.  Why did I choose this one?  It’s a fair question.  I think it’s rather significant, and there’s a lot that goes into thoughts.  This of course becomes personal, and possibly egotistical, but ah, perhaps it’s time you met more of who I am.  As I’ve reached this kind of milestone, I think it’s due time for some memories and that oh so fun and lovely thing known as nostalgia.  With that, I begin.

~

“We’ve stumbled upon something.  Because God is unceasingly thinking about us, we continue to exist.”  Approximately what my best friend said, though with less of her finesse or characteristic speech patterns.  It’s highly likely that I just did both an injustice.

A while back, we were discussing superpowers, of all things, and the idea of being able to think someone to you.  However long you’re focused and thinking about them, they remain present, and it’s only when they leave your mind that they return to wherever they were.  Naturally, this power is something that should have a number of caveats, like some amount of control as to when it works, otherwise you might have dozens or even hundreds of people popping into existence next to you for the briefest of instances.
Though of course, my mind would definitely turn its attention to such individuals, and well, there goes my peace and quiet.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about… people… a lot.  I guess it’s just in our human nature, to have others on our minds.  My time at work is devoted to focus on people.  There’s that connection that every interaction needs to have, and it’s truly a life skill to have, being able to touch people with the most basic of things.

Well, what more basic and heartfelt way is there than a prayer for them? That’s often what happens at work. Whenever there’s a lull in the number of incoming guests and while I’m maybe cleaning or restocking something, I might ask that my mind be focused on who it needs to.

An odd feeling, instinctual in nature, was what struck me.  It was at 5pm today, and I had no idea what caused it.  There I was, having an immensely enjoyable time at work, when suddenly I felt it internally, like a shiver that lacked the icy surroundings.  It’s hard to be sure, but I knew in that moment that something wrong had happened somewhere.
I couldn’t be sure if someone I knew had been affected, and so I did the only thing I could: asked God to help… someone out there.

*The physicality of my power is of course, limited – but by the universality of the Church, I can go quite far indeed. This is perhaps part of the beauty of faith, that we can believe and hope in goodness, even if we might never see the results of that which we hold to.

It’s like… Legacy. You don’t get to see what remains in the aftermath of your leaving, in your wake. Lots of people are concerned with what sort of mark they’re leaving, what lives on beyond them.  I can only hope that I make a good impact, whether physical or spiritual.  I want to bring my loved ones home with me.  I don’t want to lose them.  That’s the mark I wish for, the mark of those I surround myself with, living evermore.

~

When I started writing this blog roughly four years ago, I never thought that I would end up where I am today.  If I try to think back and remember what I was concerned about at the time, it was probably the next fun Scouting activity I would attend, or perhaps the upcoming youth group meeting with 1×1 at Saint Maximilian Kolbe, or maybe not looking dumb in front of some girl I was trying to impress.

Back then, I was more girl crazy than in recent times – shocker, I know – and I do apologize to anyone who has seen me in such a state, at any stage of my young life.  In conjunction with that, I was a more violent, more boisterous, and more brash character, things which I must again apologize for, as they are traits not yet vanished from who I am.
Still, there were positives.  I was a more avid reader, a person who was keen on drawing and making art in various media forms; someone who was not easily distracted or dissuaded from any goal, no matter how preposterous.  I loved really getting outside and breathing life in; not taking the heavens down to me in my confinement, but instead shooting upward to place myself among them like the many skyward sparks from the fire that I built with my own two hands.

Over the years, with each piece of media absorbed, I began to take on different characteristics of the people I saw, both fictional and not.  I believe I’m a very “feely” person, a very empathetic fellow, and oftentimes, being that sort of character can get me into good and bad mindsets.  In time, I took on the fun childishness of the Doctor, the witty cynicism of Fish, the imagination of Rose, the determination of Will, the rage and guilt of Batman and Daredevil, the force of Kestin and Edict, and the foolish hope of… oh, that might actually be mine.

The point is, I’ve changed, and more than I could have expected.  When I began, all those years ago, I never expected that leaving Scouting would push me onward to new adventures in Trail Life and Saint Gertrude.  The funny thing is, when I worked at Camp Friedlander, during staff week, we took a trip to St. Gertrude’s for an early Sunday Mass, which was one of my first experiences with the church.  And again, St. Gertrude’s returned when my older sister was leading me and my peers through the Ad Altare Dei religious emblem program, when we went there for vespers with the brothers.  Again, a third time, when my family was exploring different parishes, it almost became our home parish.  Almost.  And I think there was a very good reason for it not being so.

The reason?  If we had taken to Saint Gertrude, everything that is now, College Kenosis, my membership in the UC Society of Saint Paul, my role as an Altar Server at Annunciation, all of that would be nonexistent.  Perhaps even Eagle Eye would have been lost.  I can look back on those moments now and understand why things went a certain way, I see where the Spirit led me on this long road.
Thus, with the present hardships I’m facing, I can hope for the day that I get to look back on those and say: “Yes, this led me to the great here and now, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

I’ve been fortunate in my life to have been a part of many great communities:  Tang Soo Do, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Sacred Heart of Jesus Homeschool Group, Kali, St. Max, The RPG Group, Trail Life, St. Gertrude, my year’s P&G Resident Scholar Program family, Chick-Fil-A, The SSP, Eagle Eye and my fellow Eaglets, the CState Crew, and others that I’ve forgotten.

They all had or currently have their turn in forming me, and the people I have met have been guides, friends, and companions all.  I’ve lost a lot of them over the years.  Some faded from memory, some through my own fault, some with a heartfelt farewell, and some with a promise of renewal in some future day.

My legacy, my very heart, has been in my friends and family.  That’s why I think of them often, why they still exist to me in all the greatness that I knew them as.  They have been and always will be my spirit, and my strength is in them, no matter how much they change and vanish into their own futures, their own separate paths, and no matter how weak I myself become.

The weight of life is heavy, and it is painful to carry alone, we all know this.  As I’ve changed, feeling a strange vulnerability that I hardly experienced in younger years, as my eyes were opened to this world I live in, others were my guardians, and they saw me through the most desperate of times.

That’s who I am.  I am many, yet one.  I am the amalgamation of my experiences, I am the countless lives I have dreamed, but most importantly, I am the son of the Most High.
I am… Migi.

To everyone in my life, thanks for being part of my journey.

Ever The Addict – Takes 2 and 3

I like to think I’m not a total cynic, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t prone to viewing the world in such negative terms quite often.  Well, here I am, on two sides of a gap in worldview at once.

See, when I started this post, it was just kind a flood of all these thoughts I’d been having for a while.  Next thing I know, I’m going to a talk from a consecrated woman, and things start to get answered; some of the anger I experienced in the first half of this post, is now lessened, and now I know I’m being heard.  I’ll get to that though.  Just a warning, this’ll be an extra, extra long post in light of the fact that a lot has happened recently to cause this surge.  Plus, she suggested writing about the high and low points of life, so here’s mine.  Maybe I’ll include a TL;DR note.  Maybe.

~1: Storm~

Raw writing has never been my strength.  There’s a certain outpouring of unchecked passion thrust into it that blurs the meaning and detracts from the piece as a whole.  I’ve learned that with papers, I’ve learned that with speeches, I’ve learned that with people.  Or perhaps I haven’t.

You might call me a fool, and you’d be right of course, I never really learn.  I have this… infuriating habit of making resolutions to change things, and then… well, there it goes.  I said as much regarding coffee in the last post, but there’s always a deeper issue.  Perhaps I’m just going with the flow, not quite present.  I think that perhaps I am too stuck in my ways for a number of reasons.  An unfortunate repetition and lack of attentiveness, my environment, and my own mental blocks.

I love writing, watching my thoughts materialize on the page, the feeling of seeing me outside myself.  Perhaps that’s egotistical of me, I’m not sure.  It’s said that when we love others, we’re able to recognize that they are another “me”.  As we desire happiness, peace, safety, and security for ourselves, loving them requires wanting the best for them as well.  Why am I talking about love in a post about being addicted?  They stand opposed.  Love is free where addiction binds.  The latter warps something intrinsic, and makes the visible light fade.

My mind isn’t what it was when I was younger.  I felt like I was sharper then, more quick witted, ready with a punchline, a thought of considerable depth, or a brandished blade, all at the drop of a hat.  My prayer felt more sincere, and the work in my life became more apparent.  Now, that seems to be more concerned with staleness than anything, but I suppose it is an addiction.

I hate feeling, yet I also despise the idea of being apathetic.  I love to experience new things, but I hate the journey.  I am a contradiction in many terms, yet have some high ideals that I am sure.

Who am I?  I am the addict.  “Good men don’t need rules; today is not the day to find out why I have so many.”  Sometimes I wonder whether I truly believe that, but I suppose it makes sense.

Good men don’t need rules per say because they have already internalized them.  The words are as simple affirmations to what they already live.  I don’t live by the rules that free me.  Another form of contradiction, it seems, but then Eagle Eye knowledge jumps to the fore, to aid me in time of struggle.  As the river needs the banks to avoid stagnancy, so rules become the guiding force.  Then as they direct the flow, as they are internalized, true power rises forth, spilling toward their destination, an unstoppable tide.

Have I reached stagnancy, in my addiction to “feeling good”?  Yes, I think so, unfortunately.  A part of me gets frustrated when I don’t feel anything in church.  I feel a surge of powerlessness when I walk out of that confessional, and I don’t feel a “something” in my soul.  In the past, I used to exit feeling somehow lighter than when I walked in.  Now… well… I just am.

I suppose that quote is rather truer than I’d like: “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”  How relevant, how unbelievably discouraging to hear.  Because I can’t take myself lightly.  But I crave it terribly, that feeling.  Not emotional, I don’t think.  Just a clarity.  A sharpened sense, where I am aware that I am fully attuned upon receiving Communion.

And yet I know the reasons.  I’ve heard it before, probably said it once, and I’ll say it again.  God doesn’t want us to be addicted to Him, or addicted to the feelings He grants us.  That is not freedom, and no matter how much I might want to just have it easy and just sink into that feeling, that thing that makes it easy to just drop into that plane of reality normally unseen, I can’t.

My heart of hearts knows that if I can’t choose it freely, then I never actually wanted it to begin with.  Addiction is born of curiosity, not of any desire to possess the thing that one eventually becomes addicted to.  I know what addiction is, because three years ago, I was trapped in another kind, just as powerful, if not more.  From that, I know that freeing oneself from addiction is beyond me, myself, and I.  The lone wolf cannot hunt and survive on its own.

Nor can it create itself to aid.  There I go, sounding rather like I have a multiple personality disorder all over again.  I even had names for each of them, you know.  There was a real warrior type, taking my brightest aspects, then there was the assassin, everything dark and hated about me, stuck in one form.  I started a book.  It didn’t end well.
Those are my ghosts, the fantasy that I reject today, but I see where my younger self was coming from.  Coping with the tug of things is difficult, and that was my response then.  Now, it’s me.  I’m not going to invent more of me to fight my problems.  It doesn’t work.

So now you see where the dark danger comes into play, don’t you?  You get addicted to the idea of isolation, keen to hide yourself and everything that you are from what you see as prying eyes.  You bury yourself deep, and all the while, this stagnancy of spirit, this addiction to feeling plays against you.  I don’t like needing people.  Thing is, I’m still young, and I appear to have a foolhardy heart still.

You see where I am, I’m sure.  I seek escape in a dangerous way, tied to “feeling better”.  My transformation becomes external, rather than internal.  The surface you see changes to suit the newness of it all, but within, there lies a barely contained… something.

I feel it sometimes, boiling to the surface, blood pumping fast, eyes becoming steely, heart like it’s about to burst, a pain in the sides of my head, my breathing barely controlled.
It never gets far, as I slow down everything about me, shutting my eyes, sealing it as one does a vault, only it’s my mind.  A palace of madness.  And I have fears that one day it will be the thing that hurts not only me, but someone close to me.  A tenuous hold in the future shattered like glass.  A million pieces that cut.

Father Nathan was right.  I have been filled by the world, and I need another emptying.  I need Eagle Eye, or something just as life-changing.  Something more than just a week.  I need to change, radically.  I have to go, outside the bounds.  My land isn’t doing me any favors.  Nostalgia has a habit of killing things, and this isn’t my home anymore.

Maybe I’ve something gone undiagnosed, I don’t know.  Food related issues, possibly?  I know a favorite book character of mine struggled with that herself, but she at least had an innocent head on her shoulders.  Anger issues?  It would explain a lot.  Depression issues?  Maybe.  Also would explain.

I’m looking for a cure, which is problematic.  I don’t need some bloody doctor, I need other guidance.  I haven’t had the heart or the time to take on a spiritual director, but I feel as if that’s going to be the turning point.  Yet I second guess myself.  What if I don’t find one, and I’m just left with the same nagging sense of frustration?

I’m an agitated fellow, a real butterfly in the mind.  It’s leaping and flying all over the place, unable to stick to one solid path.  Still stuck in those dreams of my own concoction, torturing myself with the “what if I fail?” scenarios, or the “what if I can’t reach that?”, or better yet, “what if I can’t escape?”

A longing to leave.

Yet I can’t.  I have to sort things out here, before I go.  Just because one runs from something doesn’t mean they can avoid carrying it forward into everything that they do next.  And in my discernment of priesthood, I can’t be like this.  I cannot be a priest controlled by emotion.  Heck, I can’t be a father, I can’t be a good anything if I don’t get a handle on this.

 

~Nearing The Wall~

Raw.  Unchecked.  Me.  If you got through that, I applaud you.  Sort of.  Now you see where I stand.  Of course, maybe it’s good this way.  I make no pretense about what sort of person I am.  I might not say everything about me, but that’s probably deeper than I’d normally care to go.  Welcome to my world.  Still, I promised another part to this, didn’t I?

 

~2: The Eye~

When I talk about my own goodness, it’s usually not in relation to actually being good as a whole, it’s about my being good at doing… things.  I believe it’s alright to doubt that, doubt in my abilities.

My danger comes from this perfectionism that I’ve talked about before.  See, I place a lot of value on my capabilities.  Drawing a sketch “correctly”; being able to lift weights with the proper form, and okay, some decent amount of burden to them; being able to do the moves in any dance correctly; being able to put the right words in papers, etc.   I despise anything that I perceive as a weakness in those areas, and I find that when I “fail” per say, in those small areas, I begin to doubt myself on a much larger scale.

It’s like… like messing up a math problem.  You write out the numbers, plugging them into an equation, and miss one (this is something I actually did on a test), which inevitably throws the entire rest of it out of whack.  Worse still is if it’s one of the first calculations you make.  Thing is, life isn’t a math problem.  No amount of calculation and planning on my part is going to help the unplottable, and I’m certainly not going to be able to “plan out” perfection.

For a long time now, I’ve been plagued with this doubt that I’m a good man – goodness being in its truest sense.  It’s just the way it is, and I expect a way that the devil is going to attack me for a long time.  Just because I write something in a mad fit of passion doesn’t mean that thought just came to me then.  It might have been lurking in the shadows for some time.  Voices in my head, nagging at me.  I don’t get a moment’s silence.

Ms. Jackie, the speaker,  said something rather vital about those.  Satan has the title, “The Accuser”, which makes perfect sense, considering one of the voices in my head is constantly accusing me of my faults.  When I say accusing me, it’s constantly reminding me of how I’ve failed, even over things I thought long past.  Not only that, but the voice likes to point out how I can’t rise above such depths.

That’s key.  “Guilt can be a good thing.  The soul’s call to action.”  However, guilt that is constantly berating and putting us down is not from God.  God’s voice recognizes the fault, but it also encourages us to move forward, to rise.  How do we combat the other?  We literally send it away.  “Go to Hell where you belong.”  Just writing out those words already has my blood pumping, it’s kind of funny.
Remember that difference:  God lifts us up, like a hand clasp between brothers, pulling us to our feet.  The devil sees our failure, and stands over us, telling us we’ll never make it back to the surface.

I could go on to talk about the main personas the devil takes on, but I think there’s one in particular that was important for me to know.

“The secretive one”, in the context of a relationship.  Let’s say you had a friend who was dating someone who didn’t want anyone to know that there was a relationship present: Not family, not friends, no one.  That would be quite fishy wouldn’t it?  I hope you’d tell them to get out of that.  It’s quite unhealthy and dangerous.

Still, same thing here in essentials.  You’re faced with a situation, attached, in the thick of it, and here comes the voice.  It’s telling you that you don’t need anyone, trusting others is a weakness, and you need to hide what’s happening.

It’s a lie.  A lie that I myself keep believing.  Maybe I’m just stubborn, but I recognize and ignore that inner plea for help too often.  I like to shut myself in, because I tell myself I’ve gotten tired.  Tired of the struggle.  Tired of trusting, and feeling like I’ve been let down too many times.  I like to say that it’s just a weakness, needing others.  But we do, however much I might despise it at times, we do.  I won’t make it far otherwise.  I suppose it all comes under that desire to know and be known, doesn’t it?

And while there’s pain, I suppose it makes the best parts of relationships really stand out, doesn’t it?  I wish I could accept the pain for what it is, and use it to act, like I do sometimes with anger.  I channel it, I push myself further than I thought I could, I use it to better myself.  Pain on the psychological and emotional level is another battle entirely, and I’m not quite sure how to combat it yet.

So on the subject of whether I’m a good man or not, the question that keeps filtering through everything I think and write, can I just say that I don’t know?
Well, then that would be a lie, I suppose.  Listen very carefully to this next part, as it pertains not just to me, but you as well:  God made us good, and that will not change.

Say it three times, making it personal, believing it.  The consecrated woman said it to us, letting the words wash over us like cleansing water, as energy for the soul.  I can’t say I’m totally convinced myself, but I have hope that my heart will soon catch up with head, overcoming that disparity.

I’ve been so afraid for a long time of my actions, where I’m going, how I’m going to get there.  I suppose that’s what’s really holding me back from asking for a Director, as well as visiting with those at the seminary I hope to attend in the near future:  Fear, and attachments here still.  Do I settle said attachments before I go, or just leave, and hope that the environmental shift will have a much needed, profound effect on me?  It’s not apparent yet.

However, the last thing she left us with was one message, the most needed message for me, the one that she knows was given to her by God to pass on to us.  It was this: “I trust you.

Yeah we’re unworthy, sure we think we’re pretty unlovable when we fail, yes I oftentimes think I’m failing Him by my choice of path, and yes, I’m definitely afraid of that trust being placed in me, but He did.  He does.  He loves us as we are, and He believes in us.

And that is enough reason to stand tall – or as tall as you can when you’re as short as I am – and live on.  He saved me from getting killed or seriously injured in a wreck for a reason; saved me from a lot of stupid decisions I could have made in a lot of different areas, and will again in future, because I have a purpose.

My work isn’t done, and if I still believe in what He put in my heart at Eagle Eye and Abide, then my path is one of greatness.  I would be a fool to set that aside.

So here I am, off on another Eagle Eye adventure, ‘ere the sun rises.  I’m sticking with it, my life, because it’s what I’ve been given.  Do the same, because He made you good.  And that will never change.

-M

Heart Unbound

Closure.  That’s the word.
As hard as some things are, it’s always more difficult without closure.

If one reaches an end and receives closure, it’s quite the gift.  Some would rather do without it, but in many cases in life,  I think it’s worth it.  It’s the lightening of the heart from a weight you never really realized was there to begin with.  That’s what the gift affords you.

I’ve lived nearly two decades, and I’ve made many mistakes, some of which I will forever wonder about, but just this once, I’m not left without a clear finish line.  A clean break on the path, as it were; another marker to reference and be sure of as the next move is made.

Oh, there is or was pain involved, most of which I made myself, but it is outweighed somehow.

How?

Here’s the thing:  I’m not someone who thinks of happenings relating to one’s life as coincidences;  I take it as the Spirit reaching out to me.  Well, as far as noticing the signs, I believe it’s the Father pointing them out and teaching me; when I actually move and take action, I reckon it’s the Spirit working.

Before I saw all these… promptings… I felt overwhelmed, filled with a storm of anger thoroughly unwarranted by the situation.  My mind was more of a mess of emotion, fueled by a sort of buried madness.  Anyone else’s brains ever start to go into overdrive, becoming a blur, at which point hardly any coherent thought comes through?  That’s where I was, often.  I’d lost my sense of focus, and it became apparent throughout the days as I tried to work on a number of projects.

~

Maybe it was an experience at Mass… no, it was.  I remember it.  The first sign.

Father’s homily was quite the kick in the face, but it didn’t start there.  That Sunday, I felt more attentive to praying the Mass than I had in quite a while.  Reminds me of a quote from St. Irenaeus, actually (though there is some debate on whether he said it exactly or not).

“The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God.” and that’s what I felt.  As if all my senses, hampered by worry – not just over this one failure on my part, but also a number of matters related to my schoolwork – were kicked up several notches and suddenly unburdened.  I was able to see and pay attention to everything, but not be distracted by it (which is how I normally am at Mass, unfortunately).  This time, I felt right at home, truly in communion.
So when it came time for the homily, a time when I tend to zone out because of how hard it is to hear Father from the altar (shh, don’t tell, I do try), I was so there.  Amazing how God speaks if you actually listen to/for His word *coughs*.

Father’s homily spoke of finding three things, well, finding two things and doing the last for both of them:
-A companion
-A teacher
-Giving them a break

For this, I’ll focus on the things that really hit me in relation to what was happening, which were the first and last items on that list (the second – I’m pretty sure – is a push to continue my hunt for spiritual direction).
I’d heard it before, but he made note of the fact that John the Baptist sent his disciples to Christ.  Good companions lead one another on a journey of growth, with Heaven as the high goal.  Further still, he noted how Christ gives us specific companions, and… because they were given to us by Him… we shouldn’t easily turn our backs on them.
In a finishing blow, Father turned to the subject of expectations of others, how they won’t always meet ours, and sweet glory, how we’ll never meet theirs, so for Heaven’s sake… Don’t.  Give up.  Based on that.

Now, I must confess, I ignored this push for a bit, and as another day or so passed, well… it was St. Mother Teresa’s turn to smack me across the face, as I scrolled the endless Instagram feed:
“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person…”
Because that’s what I’d been waiting for.  Initiative from someone else, anyone else, so I wouldn’t have to move on my own.  Did I mention I’m a prideful person?  It was pride that was keeping me back from admitting my failure, unwilling to admit that I remained restless in guilt.  And so… in response to that, God made me see the caption underneath the St. Teresa photo, from Mother Angelica: “… start looking into your own life and attacking your pride in all of its many forms.”

So that’s two mothers smacking me upside the head.  A trinity of smacks to the cranium, if we add Father’s words.

~

Suffice it to say, I did what I felt was right, this time with surety that I don’t normally have.  And when it turned out the way it did, when it was over, I ran.  Not away, but to.
I ended up in adoration, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.  The chapel was mercifully empty, and there I stood before the tabernacle.

Those moments will forever remain locked within me, like a calm fire; not deadly or destructive in its ways, but comforting and warm.  It was my turn to make a promise.

And so with clarity, and to quote Venerable Fulton Sheen, I say: “Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them.”

There, I admit it.  I have a heart, and it’s broken.  Don’t look at me all funny, I’m not made of stone.  However, the gaps are closing, and faster than I expected, to be honest.  Because right there, in the immediate aftermath, I can look back on what took place and see why God drew me back one last time: to right the wrongs, to fix what I had brought to ruin.  To leave this artwork at peace with it and move on.  Because it isn’t terrible, it isn’t faulty, it is… a beautiful ending.  And oftentimes, you’ll find that the most beautiful endings are the ones that cause the greatest pain.

So I’m beginning.  I am… me.  I do have an idea about where to go, placed in me during what I now consider another era altogether.  Who by?  The voice, the whisper that follows me beyond the bounds, guiding me forward.

Am I a good man?  Let’s find out.

-M