WE ARE ONE
April 28, 2014
One is almost afraid to say the word out loud for fear of hexing it. Spring. One day, the weather forecaster is forecasting snow and complaining when his news buddies harass him when no flakes flutter down from the sky. A few days later, record highs are being celebrated. Oops.
Spoke too soon. The mercury is dropping, and we are back to ice-on-the-puddles again and snow in the forecast.
It's hard times right now. Energy bills are staggering. Potholes twist wheels. River watchers are warning of floods. The ravages of a too-long winter battered not only home and car but also one's attitude.
Dear ones too are being slammed by the reality that life is hard as they are hit by grief when they lose a loved one, a pet, a job.
While many struggle to meet their bills, stories of planned penthouse suites, breath-taking severance packages – all shelled out by taxpayers' dollars – fuel the feeling of "what's the point?"
Open a secular paper, click on the TV or computer and one is bombarded by stories of knifings, shootings in workplaces, schools, celebrity breakups and/or going into rehab.
Who invented this celebrity culture anyway? It's easy to think it is the governments, the profit-hungry businesses who promote this dance band on the Titanic manic obsession about "stars" – a diversion to keep us from caring and tackling the real things in life, like a livable minimum wage, pollution, the homeless, the mentally ill, creating a society where everyone matters and knows they are wanted.
But the calendar says "It is spring." We have just journeyed through Lent and celebrated Easter. Joy. Hope. Where are they?
A nudge during the silence of adoration came, and I realize it is up to me to find it. The angels took pity on me and brought a prayer card into my life that touched my heart and soul. It is called O Immaculate Lady Undoer of Knots. Pray for us.
Addressed to the Holy Mother, part of it reads as follows.
"Cast your eyes of compassion upon me, and see the snarl of knots that exists in my life. Mary, my mother, I entrust to your loving hands the entire ribbon of my life. In your hands there is not a knot that cannot be undone.
"Most holy Mother, pray for divine assistance to come to my aid. Take this knot (mention a need) into your maternal hands this day. I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once and for all, in the name of your divine son, Jesus Christ."
That is one powerful prayer. Saying the words, allowing the belief to flow through your whole being, is like having a heavy backpack slide off your shoulders and your heart – and lungs too – give a huge sigh.
Next on the agenda is gratitude. My goal is to feel just like Piglet felt in A. A. Milne's Winne the Pooh.
"Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude."
Pause to think and the realizations come tumbling. I am grateful for the kindness of others, the wisdom they share, witnessing their walking their talk. I was greatly moved when a group of lay Catholics had me sit around their communal apostolate dinner table and share their meal for my birthday.
News that two heart bypass operations went as smooth as silk produced silent cheers. And the list goes on. It's just a matter of adjusting one's attitude – and perhaps spiritual compass.
HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE
This search for joy is backed up by the seemingly growing undercurrent of magazine columnists, current bestsellers and CBC radio shows like Tapestry that, while discussing subjects like grief or depression, usually come around to the conclusion – happiness is a choice.
It is as simple as waking up and being glad you are alive, that you have another day to live. Many don't.
Joy means grabbing the moment, relishing it. Joy means picking one's battles. Our time and emotions are too precious to be squandered on closed minds.
But to do all of this, one must discover what really makes one happy and live life accordingly. Given the rat-race world, that can be a dickens of a chore.
Maybe it's watching a meteor shower. Winning a chess game. Growing vegetables for the dinner table. Learning a new language. Writing down a bucket list and get going on it. Saying a silent prayer before closing your eyes at night.
Whatever your prism of joy, first find it. Then enjoy it.
(Lasha Morningstar firstname.lastname@example.org)
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