Monthly Archives: October 2013

Peace Like a River

river2

Long quote, I know, but I just couldn’t cut it short—it’s so great.

So here is my life. I usually don’t like sharing things like this, but I think I’ve found some ideas about peace and forgiveness so here it goes.

Lately I’ve been feeling like a huge disappointment to everyone around me—teachers, friends, family and myself. I don’t know if it’s just a sense of being completely overwhelmed and stressed with a teensy bit of lack of motivation, or what, but whatever it is, it’s a huge buzz kill and I hate feeling like this.

Anyway, I was at mass a couple Sunday’s ago and Fr. Brendan gave an awesome homily. I don’t know how he does it, but Fr. B (I call him that sometimes to myself) reads my mind—he almost always gives homilies that relate directly to something in my life—it’s awesome and he is great. But his homily was about how everyone is fighting their own secret wars throughout their life, and these secret wars are the best way for the devil to sneak into your mind and corrupt you—so you need to fight it—because it’s hard to be awesome and the devil does not want you to be awesome.

So how does he try to make you lame?

Fr. Brendan pointed out that he does not go up against our strengths but he goes against our weaknesses, because he is a sneaky little chump and he will not go against something he thinks can defeat him.

So this is why I keep feeling like a failure and disappointment to everyone. The devil knows I hate failing and he knows I’m always trying to make people proud of me, so he takes that a twists it and tells me I’m not good enough for their love and all I am is a burden to those I love most.

These thoughts really stress me out. It’s not like I can just wish them away and they actually leave—they are like a lurking smog in my brain that creeps in whenever it finds an opening. They not only give me a sense of uncertainty, but they also leave me feeling very lonely because I don’t feel good enough for anyone.

This is why when I heard the song “Reckless Forgiver” by Jars of Clay, I felt so so happy because they talk about this feeling. (Side note: I had no idea Jars of Clay were still a thing, but they are, how cool is that?!—they just came out with a new CD called “Inland” and it’s pretty awesome)

“All I want is peace like a river, long life of sanity, love that won’t leave too soon.” –this is what I want and what I am desperately searching for—the sad thing is that nothing on earth will EVER fulfill this want/need which makes it extremely difficult to obtain.

I do think that there are things in this world that can give us peace and sanity, but the part that makes this quote bigger than humanity is the “love that won’t leave too soon.” The reason this is difficult is because there is not a time frame that explains when “too soon” actually is. How can you put a time on wanting to feel love from someone? You can’t because you don’t want it to end. If the love is a real, true love you would want it to last forever, and so if it ever left you that would be considered “too soon.”

I consider my dad’s death as being something that came too soon, I was not ready for his death and neither was anyone else who loved him, but it’s not like one more day, month, year, etc. would be enough to satisfy my longing to have him around—I want him here forever, you can’t put a timeline on that—that’s the same with love.

Therefore, unless we find someone who can love us for all of eternity (mental high five to anyone who read that in the voice of the old lady from Holes) we will always think of our loves as leaving too soon—it’s just a sad part of being human.

That is where our Reckless Forgiver comes in—what up, Jesus!

I really like the idea of God being a reckless forgiver. It makes sense because we continually do the same stupid sins over and over again, and He just keeps forgiving us—if he was a human, we would say he was reckless and we would tell him he should probably find new friends, ones who don’t keep breaking their promises.

This is reassuring because as humans we are going to give into the devil’s temptations and we are going to fail, but since God isn’t human he has the capacity to keep forgiving us and giving us love and so you could literally be the poorest excuse for a human (which none of you are, obviously) and as long as you come back and apologize, God will always forgive you—which is just one of the things that makes him so cool.

So whenever I feel like I’m disappointing people, I just have to remember that God has my back, no matter what dumb mistakes I do and he will never stop loving me—all I have to do is just trust in Him, he will help me out—it’s that simple. It’s ok to make mistakes, it’s ok to fail—just keep coming back and let him pull out the splinters and it will be O.K. and you will get that peace.

It’s like C.S. Lewis said “He loved us not because we are lovable, but because He is love.”

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Still there is much that is fair

there is much that is fair

Tonight I went to a talk on J.R.R. Tolkien and why his books made such an impact on the world.

Professor Michael D.C. Drout, is a Medieval and English professor at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts (that’s where my mom graduated from!) and has studied Tolkien’s work for many years.

Professor Drout made me want to do three things:

1. Read Lord of the Rings again.

2. Go to Grad-school for Medieval studies and English (probs. won’t ever happen, but a girl can dream right?)

3. Write novels that will help people escape—(I’ve actually started a children’s novel, but I fear Tolkien would laugh, or maybe cry, if he read it.)

Professor Drout focused mainly on the point that The Lord of the Rings, and the rest of his writings, bring about a sense or feeling of being old, and therefore making the readers feel they are experiencing an actual history instead of reading a story that may or may not have happened.

I won’t go into all the ways Tolkien achieves this, according to Drout, because I would not do it justice, but he is coming out with a book soon titled The Tower and the Ruin—and I recommend everyone to check it out, because this guy was good. I do, however, want to touch on one of the points he made about what Tolkien does, which is that he connects with our sense of nostalgia.

My family, mostly Kilty and my Mom, always tell me I have a deep/strong nostalgic side, which dominates most of my emotions—and I have to say they are mostly right. I usually hold on tight to anything that is old, reminds me of the past or has any sort of sentimental value—I just like old things, okay.

I rely on the guidance of the past every day. I know there are many quotes/sayings/proverbs about forgetting about the past and living in the present, or not letting the past define you, etc. but I think those quotes are stupid.

The past reminds me of all the beauty and joy I have had and it gives me hope that beauty and joy will always be restored. –Obviously you shouldn’t dwell in the past, but it should not be forgotten.

“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places, but still there is much that is fair.”

The past helps me look past the peril and dark places and find the fairness that our world has.

Prof. Drout talked of nostalgia as a way to connect with all of humanity and have the ability to feel the same feelings they have, even if you are not involved in the same situations—this is how Tolkien captures us.

For example, when Tolkien writes “one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green,” he speaks to every single one of us. We start to long for that time (or at least I do, I guess I can’t speak for everyone)—we want a time when everything was a little bit simpler and carefree.

Another awesome point of Prof. Drout’s talk was when he spoke of despair and hope. He said that in the novels, almost all the characters who failed, aside from those who died in battle, did so because they fell into despair, and the ones who succeeded were the ones who never gave up hope—even when they could barely go on, or the challenge seemed too great to overcome.

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”

He said that most of the characters, especially Frodo, knew they did not have what it took to complete the mission, but they had hope that they could take one more step, and eventually they made it.

This is why, no matter what happens, despair cannot have a place in our lives. It is such an easy trap to fall into. There are many times the road seems too dark and long to continue, but hope always must remain, because without it, it is impossible to continue.

Tolkien did not only create a book—he created a world, a history. He did this because he knew how important the past is for humanity. We cannot just shove it behind us and pretend like it isn’t there, because it is. It’s not always pretty, but it is a part of us, and it has formed us to be who we are today—only with the help of the past can we create a better future.

One final thought to leave you with is one of my personal favorites from the late J.R.R. Tolkien—

“If most of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”