Thursday, June 15, 2017

Living in the Present aint Easy

A year ago a good priest recommended reading Kiersey on understanding my temperament $1.99 here.  If you've ever taken a personality test before, you may know the akward feeling you experience after discovering your psychological profile with unexpected results.  Turns out my profile is "INFJ" which is code for "Idealist-Counselor."  In a nutshell, I am so driven by idealism to better society and others around me, that I am almost exclusively oriented from the past towards the future.  My psychological DNA programs me to think of everything along a timeline of to-do lists and goals.

The INFJ wakes up driven by what will happen later that day.  What transpires over breakfast means very little compared to the grand goals of the day.

Going off to work or school is all about progress in the future.  Projects are about reaching future mile stones more than simply achieving a good in the present tense.  That's how I'm wired anyway.

The wife on the other hand is the complete opposite.  Her habit is not To-do-lists or exacting punctuality, but living in the needs of the present.  This is why she'll never forget to turn off the oven, and I will as my aloof mind ponders the future in reference to the past.

And it is this quality that is presently extremely challenging for me right now as work and educational pursuits were completely haulted recently by my medical deprivation from the normal world of work and leisure.   

The future hangs in a silent state of limbo. My life continuum has been temporarily dislodged from my psyche.  The past seems like a distant past life, with just recent memories of emergency rooms, specialists, and evolving symptoms.  The future looks like a foggy haze of uncertainties mixed with visualizations of renewed goals and hopes.

For an INFJ, living like this feels like being stuck in a limbo-like present surrounded by the once familiar mystical clouds of past and future.  The last time I was in this "place" was probably early childhood before that Ericksonian stage of development kicks in called "industry."

But so be it.  God has His reasons and I'm sure one intention He has is for me to spend more time in the Present, contemplating the Eternal Now, as St. Augustine calls it.

I'm learning lessons that have eluded me.  To not base my happiness on success in this life, or the esteem of others (except in spiritual and moral stsndards).  To no longer expect my life will or must follow my own plans in order for my life to be fulfilled.  To detach from hard to break bad habits that have kept me too many times from living a blameless life.

Today was not a great day, health wise.  I do not know what tomorrow will hold.  Perhaps I will experience more shifts back to restored health.  Perhaps not.  I don't know when I'll be back to my old self and reattached to the linear traintrack of my life moving familiarly forward towards future goals.

I am forced to go above my temperament for a while, to follow the good example of my wife, and many of the contemplative saints, and to just take one day at a time.  But still be goal driven to accomplish the life priorities just for that 24 hour day.

Time for my bath and moonlight rosary.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Daily challenges and blessings

I'll get the challenges over with.  My TMJ syndrome pain flared up unusually high today, I figure meriting some higher glory in heaven God willing I make it through the Pearly gates.  Offered it up for a certain someone out there.

That was actually the one challenge.

The blessings were just that.  Spent hours of quality time with the wife and mom, savored a Braums cheeseburger (eaten in small bites) and had a couple hours of so little pain I actually felt like my normal self and relaxed enough for us to visit my aunt.  Tonight enjoying the A.C.

Thank God for today.  A day closer to restored health in Gods time and our eternal reward.

How was your day?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Another thing to add to my summer bucket list: dinner at the Amish

Well I'm waiting on God and Mother Nature to decide when I recover from my health situation.  In the meantime, I ponder the pleasant things we might partake in during this summer season which at present I'm limited to be able to do.  A few posts ago I mentioned going to Blue Hole Springs, Eureka Springs, among other local outings.  And I forgot to mention one of my most favorite daytrips that perhaps the Divine Physician in His good humor will make soon come true.  And that is dinner at a local Amish farm.

You gaze across the table at roast beef and fried chicken, the creamiest mashed potatoes, green beans, German noodles, huge yeast bread rolls, real butter, and a pitcher of ice tea.  Later each table gets their choice of two pies.  We usually pick the coconut cream and pecan pies, plus of course served with coffee.  Mind you the mother of the house woke up at 5am to prepare everything from scratch with the best ingredients.

Its the Earl Miller family about five miles southwest of Chouteau an hour east of Tulsa on 412.  You see how they live and dress.  You'll probably pass by horse and buggy on the way there, and maybe even their K-8 one room school house.

They host several dinners a week.  Bring a church group, or if there's already people there, a family can have their own private table.

Despite their Anabaptist rigorism, their traditional way of life is something I'd bet would intrigue many a traditional Catholic.

Just call the Dutch Pantry restaurant in Chouteau and ask for Earl and Lisa Miller's cell # to make reservations.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Peanut butter and jelly

It was Friday, so being a traditional Catholic I followed the old custom of abstaining from meat today.  Some penance united to the Good Friday cross, we are taught.

So what would it be?  Well I ended up not settling on something all that penitential.  Turns out I made a childhood favorite made popular probably back in the 60s or 70s, and that is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with good old fashion white Wonder bread, Peter pan, and Welch's, slid onto a paper plate accompanied by, what else, Frito corn chips.  

I needed to eat after all.  Plus I did abstain from meat.  The ingredients just jumped out at me as an easy meal.  But truth be told there was really no penance in the meal, unless you count the paper plate--which I actually find makes for a more classic, eye-appealing presentation that indirectly somehow affects the palate.

But you've got to love a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich...but next time polished off with a glass of ice cold milk.

Can I make you one?

TGIF fellow Catholics and my Okie trad patriots.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ruminating and Reflecting on Peace

Just polished off a plate of comfort food--tender roast beef, creamy mashed potatoes, and green beans with bacon, all smothered with a thick dark gravy.   It was medicinal and just what my body needed right now.

And so I lean back in my Okie armchair, take a good, deep breath, and ruminate and reflect on life.

Last night I wrote about suffering. Tonight I think I'll muse about peace, because I read recently that while the souls in purgatory suffer more than they did in this life, they are somehow actually simultaneously in an actual bona fide state of happiness.

Turns out that "somehow" is that they're in a state of perfect peace.  There is absolutely no disharmony or conflicts among the Holy Souls or with God.

I confess for years I've lacked a level of peace that should be becoming of a practicing Catholic.  I could lay out the series of conflicts and misfortunes years ago that tilted my soul away from the abiding peacefulness and easy-to-forgive attitude God singularly blessed me with in my youth--instead towards an attitude of tension, irritations, and even anger foreign to me in childhood.  But such corruptions of heart I think are common even among some of the most admirable men.

The young man emerges from the garden into the jungle.   The colors of the rainbow and warmth of the Sun give way to grey shadows and cold valleys.  Petty neighborhood childhood disputes are replaced by betrayal, malice, egoism, and cold wars.  Amidst all our shopping malls and ubiquitous sea of restaurants, in the middle of all the pleasure and prosperity is a constant battle between husbands and wives, siblings, friends, and coworkers.

If an abiding, spiritual, Christian peace is a prerequisite for happiness, even in the midst of the worst sufferings, then Id reckon most of us, including yours truely, are not exactly happy.

Can a paraplegic in constant pain be happy?  Can a man wrongly sentenced to life in prison for a murder he didn't commit be happy?  Yes and Yes, but humanism cant explain how.

Peace.  Suffering.  Happiness.  These are pieces to the puzzle of life that cant be fit together using human reason.  Philosophy or science cant solve the mystery of the paradox of life.  It takes Revelation from God, i.e. the Catholic Faith.

Part of me thanks God for this Faith; without it Im not sure how I could have so far coped with the jungle of adulthood.  The other part of me is mystified how anyone without Christ, without a spiritual life united to Him, is getting through this valley of years.

I want to be like the souls in purgatory.  Wanting 100% to embrace my crosses to do penance for my sins, but at the same time in a state of peace with God, my neighbor, and myself, and therefore to be truely happy.

Well its time for the evening rosary.  That's where I can work all this out.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Suffering.  A personally relevant subject that has admittingly been compulsively occupying my mind as of late.  I've learned in new ways there are degrees of suffering that, if it weren't for faith in the Revelation of a divine, eternal reward vs. a black, eternal punishment, would lead one to despair.

I mean if a car swerved on the highway and hit someone's car, making it flip, severing their spinal cord, leaving them bedridden, paralyzed, and in constant spastic pain for the test of their life (btw this sort of thing happens all the time), and the victim was a secularist (ie your average American), from tpohe point of view of today's values, what would be the point of their life?

My wife sadly sees these kind of patients often in the hospital.   Miserable and lost.

Faith is a gift, much more than an intellectual achievment, and so few people have this gift.   Without it, people are sitting ducks.  In an instant, an act of nature can turn someone's life upside down.

There is a long member of Suscipe Domine traditional Catholic forum named Chestertonian whose illness and physical suffering makes that of the Elephant man look like a case of the flu.

Ches, as we call him, has mitochondrial disease.  He is bedridden, almost completely paralyzed, can't breath, cant speak, can't eat.  He has all sorts of tormenting kinds of pain.  He's in his 30s, sick like this for several years, and could still live another decade with ever worsening symptoms.  He is constantly in a state of struggle going back and forth between his home, hospital, and nursing home, having surgery after surgery, and procedure after procedure.

And Ches is a devoted traditional Catholic, husband, former teacher, and father of two young boys.

I confess I am too weak to simply accept these stark realities without questioning or rather becoming bewildered about God's ways.

Right now out there is someone who suffers very little.  God gave them excellent health, properity, success, and a rich family and social life.  They may even be close to God yet live a nice, long, healthy life devoid of tragedy.

Then there's someone out there whose one of the most suffering souls on Earth.  Imagine a blind, deaf, mute, retarded, quadriplegic little girl, who has never been taught about God or the hereafter, sold into a dark underworld of prostitution, to be raped over and over, day after day, for decades.  In some sick pagan corner of Asia, I could imagine a victim like this.

Suffering is a mystery.  All we know is suffering is in reparation for our sins, gains us merit for salvation and a higher reward in heaven, and to help convert sinners.

That's it.  That's all we know.  We suffer.  And by Gods grace we are saved.