Sunday, August 20, 2017

When you lose a friend...


Grief comes in waves, like the ocean slapping up on the shore.  It hits you when you don't expect it.


I look at the photo where we are together, and sometimes all I feel is a dull ache, and other times, sadness hits me with sudden, overwhelming pain.

I am not sure why our friendship is dead, just that it is, and that you seem to want it that way. I know our friendship centered around one particular activity that you have suddenly, without warning, given up, but for me, it was more than just that activity, we talked about so many other things as well.

I am still not sure how we went from being "a team that could be the bomb" (your words, not mine) and three short days later, you stopped talking to me.  We used to talk to each other almost every day, even if it was only a few short lines.  We had projects together, we saw each other frequently.  And suddenly, overnight, without warning, you disappeared.

It hurts, like someone took a big chunk of my soul and left it gaping with nothing to fill it up with, and no stitches to close the hole with.

Had you gradually faded out of my life, it would have been so much easier, but you ripped yourself out of my life and I am left wondering why, guessing that there is more than what you are telling me, unsure whether to wait it out or forget you completely.

I go through the days with a void in my soul, I keep busy, to try to forget.  I live happy moments, I laugh, I see people I love, but always, there is the void, that gaping hole that I struggle to close and heal.

I don't understand.

My soul lies in fetal position and cries with the pain.  Little by little, it hurts a bit less... I can breathe now, I can look at the photo without the hole ripping open again.  I can remember moments with you, with fondness and not feel the wound tear, but I cannot yet feel happiness at having had that friendship because the pain of losing it is still too strong.

I do not understand.

I must let you go...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Ask your kid a question

The following is a list of questions to be asked (without prompting) to each of my children, with the answers of each of my children, written EXACTLY as they said it.

Some of these are quite astute, and others are just... funny...

This was done December 24, 2016.  Jean-Alexandre was 22, Dominic was 18, Maryssa was 16, Raven was 15, Gabriel was 14 and Nicolas was 11.


1. What is something I say a lot?

Jean-Alexandre: "I don't know, shuliyan."
Dominic: "I don't know... LET GO OF ME!!"
Maryssa: "What?!"
Raven: "Vamonos"
Gabriel: "Let go of me"
Nicolas: "Go to bed"

2. What makes me happy?

Jean-Alexandre: "I don't know, books"
Dominic: "Uh... (thinking...) coffee..."
Maryssa: "Books"
Raven: "Soccer, a clean house, books"
Gabriel: "Nothing"
Nicolas: "Hugs!!" (hugs me)

3. What makes me sad?

Jean-Alexandre: "I don't know, bad soccer teams"
Dominic: "Gabriel"
Maryssa: (Gabriel pokes me) "That!! Exactly that!
Raven: "When the dogs pee inside"
Gabriel: "Everything"
Nicolas: "Someone in our family dying"

4. How tall am I?

Jean-Alexandre: "Kinda tall"
Dominic: "5'7"
Maryssa: "I'm 5'5, you're a little taller"
Raven: "Medium sized"
Gabriel: 'Tiny"
Nicolas: "I don't know!!"

5. What's my favourite thing to do?

Jean-Alexandre: "I was going to say read books, but actually, it's being on your cellphone"
Dominic: "Soccer"
Maryssa: "Read, drink pisco, travel"
Raven: "Watch soccer games, read books, make empanadas"
Gabriel: "Freaking soccer obviously"
Nicolas: "Go to mass"

6. What is my favourite food?

Jean-Alexandre: "Well, it's not your favourite food, but every time I think of someone's favourite food, I think of lasagna"
Dominic: "Ummm... (thinking...) I have no idea"
Maryssa: "Flan (with a smirk, because SHE wants me to make HER some)
Raven: "Seafood stirfry"
Gabriel: " You don't have one"
Nicolas: "French toast"

7. If I could go anywhere, where would it be?

Jean-Alexandre: "Mom, I'm not even thinking of you, but France was the first thing that popped into my mind, it's probably Chile or something, even though you already went."
Dominic: "Um, that one place... What was it? I don't even know what it's freakin' called. That one place... With your soccer team?" (Me: "Chile?") "Yup"
Maryssa: "Scotland"
Raven: "Argentina? Chile?"
Gabriel: "Anywhere"
Nicolas: "Scotland"

8. Do you think you could live without me?

Jean-Alexandre: "Yes, what kind of questions are these?"
Dominic: "Yes"
Maryssa: "No"
Raven: "No"
Gabriel: "Easily"
Nicolas: "NOOOOO!! (hugs me again)

9. How do I annoy you?

Jean-Alexandre: "Asking me stupid questions"
Dominic: "Talking too much"
Maryssa: (Thinking a looooooong time, then she asks what I wrote and says, "You should also put: One. Hour. Later.") "Okay, got it, when we ask you a question, and after you look at us and ask "What?!" for the fifth time. That's about when we walk away."
Raven: "You don't really annoy me"
Gabriel: "Talking to me"
Nicolas: "By getting all mad when I hug you"

10.  What is my favourite TV show?

Jean-Alexandre: "Uh... I don't know, Fraser... (laughs) Do you even watch Fraser?"
Dominic: "Soccer"
Maryssa: "Buffy"
Raven: "Soccer show"
Gabriel: "You don't watch TV"
Nicolas: "Friends"

11. How old am I?

Jean-Alexandre: "I don't even remember, maybe 44? How old are you?"
Dominic: "80"
Maryssa: "43"
Raven: "43"
Gabriel: "80"
Nicolas: "43"


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Smile

My daughter wrote this for an assignment she had for school:

“Smile at strangers and you just might change a life”  
-Steve Maraboli-

I always believed that if you smile at a stranger or to anyone, can lift happiness in them. I’m the type of person that loves to smile at someone just because. It feels good because I’m the one who made them smile even if it was just for a few seconds and it’s a really good feeling. This quote explains exactly that and that’s why I chose it. The part where it says “change a life” means to me that when someone is having a bad day just the slightest smile can make their day or even when they are having a good day it can make their day even better. I personally love to smile to random people because it makes my day better. I knew this quote because my grandma said it. She is Catholic so she thinks a smile was God’s gift to humans.
To some people it’s not a big deal but it is to me, it’s like a friendly sign. Some people don’t think that this quote is that good because they don’t think that a smile says a lot of words and they don’t think that it can change a life. It depends on the person, because the person might think the smile is special, nice, and sometimes weird depending on the smile.
My daughter, smiling

About the author is that he is a bestselling Author, and Behavior Scientist. He has travelled to about 30 countries to share his videos and quotes that he has done just to talk about them and say what they mean. He has also written books like the book “life the truth and being free”. That book is about how to save the world without losing ourselves as Steve would say. He inspired millions in the world because of his quotes and books and videos. Steve Maraboli specializes also in Motivational Psychology and Leadership Dynamics.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Against the Unweaving

If you have an e-reader, and enjoy fantasy/sci-fi check this trilogy out. (It's also available in paperback on amazon, but costs a bit more)
It was on a list of deals of the day, in an e-mail I received awhile back, and I'm not sure why, but I looked at it, thought, "Hey... fantasy/sci-fi, $0.99... what do I have to loose?"
I think this is one of those "nothing happens without a reason" moments. If you don't mind some crass details, (like, for instance, when someone sniffs, it's enough to know that they sniffed, I don't need to read the word snot as well... but whatever) once you get over how confusing it is to keep all the different countries straight and the different creatures... once you get into the book, it just takes you along for the ride.
And then you start to notice certain things that sound rather familiar... certain doctrines, certain teachings... talk of redemption... and by the time you hit the third book... you're reading stuff like this:
Gilbrum gestured for them to stop before a knotted wall of mangroves. "My point is that the Liche Lord and the Technocrat were both deceived by the Abyss, one way or the other. Deception is insidious. It takes root where its presence is not suspected. The dwarves of Arx Gravis learnt this to their horror, and this is why they are afraid to act: they lost faith in their scriptures, and now they no longer trust their own judgement."
"So what can be done?" Shader asked. How could the truth in the Liber be separated from the lies? Was the task even possible anymore? How could his own reasoning be trusted, if it was founded upon Nousian morality?
"I cannot say," Gilbrum said. "But if this Nous of yours is anything like the god once worshipped by the dwarves, then you must act as he would act."
"And how is that?" Shader said.
"With love."
and you're starting to wonder if the author isn't Catholic:
Could it be that it was about something else entirely, like good and evil. That's what Shader had always believed: do the former and avoid the latter. Maybe that's what he meant by being harder. Maybe it wasn't just about avoiding evil; maybe it was about rooting it out and excising it wherever he found it. Isn't that what surgeons did to gangrenous limbs? Cut away the bad so that the good might live on?
If only it were that easy. If only he could rip from the Liber all that Blightey had contaminated it with. The problem was, Blightey wasn't that crude. There were no obviously evil passages in the Liber. If there were, they'd have been removed centuries ago. What the Liche Lord had done was much more subtle. He'd woven together strands from various traditions and sown the seeds of confusion. The early Templum fathers had fallen for the wisdom he'd offered: the wisdom of popular appeal.
But when you hit the end of the third book and you are reading stuff like this:
His eyes were sore from poring over the text with only the flickering light of an overhead strip of crystal to read by, but at least he'd found something to go on: Causa Salutis, the inscription on the pendant, appeared in one of the more obscure passages in the Second Book of Unveilings, toward the end of the Liber.
That particular book had always struck him as a confusion of mythological images that had no authoritative interpretation. It was seldom, if ever, read at public worship, and yet Ludo had studied it assiduously, as if that's where he hoped to pick up the first strands of the golden thread. "The cause of our salvation will be," is how the passage translated from the Aeternam, "the Immaculata" - the immaculate one - "who crushes the deceiver beneath her heel.
You know... you just know... the guy HAS to be Catholic...
Turns out, he did a 6 month postulancy with the Carmelite Order in Melbourne, Australia.
What I liked about this book? There was no moralizing, no easy answers, no trite theology. And the story line was GOOD, and well-written. A Catholic author, writing from a Catholic perspective and DOING A GOOD JOB OF IT. There is too much crappy Christian lit out there, we need to be reading and sharing the good stuff...
Available from amazon.com in paperback.
Also available: The Nameless Dwarf

Thursday, May 29, 2014

It is what it is

Something someone said the other day kind of struck me.  My friend's husband left her, and among other nasty things he's said about her, he said this: she was lousy in bed.

I'm sorry, but that's not even possible.  That's a figment of modern society's imagination and too much porn.  It's the idea that sex is a sport, and that people are expected to perform somehow, to keep things interesting and if they don't, then they're lousy in bed.

As if switching it up, or switching partners was what made sex interesting.  As if just being with someone you find genuinely interesting wasn't enough to make sex interesting.  As if you could find sex boring with the one person you think is the most awesome, most interesting person you know.

There is no such thing as being lousy in bed. If you think, (and it IS all in your head) that a person is lousy in bed, it is because YOU are not genuinely interested in them.  The problem, my friend, is with YOU.  YOU are having sex with the wrong person.  YOU are having sex for the wrong reasons, and most importantly, YOU don't even know what sex is really all about.  YOU will never be satisfied, you will always be looking for something different, better, newer, because you think it's about performance, and novelty.  When the novelty wears off, you will be off again, looking for something newer.  The latest girlfriend will be demoted to "lousy in bed" status, along with all the others.  Sex is a competition, a conquest to you, and once you have won, once you have conquered, sex becomes anti-climactic.  The challenge is gone.  You will need to find a new challenge.  See?  You never cared about the person behind the bodies you "made love" to.  You were never genuinely interested in them, you only showed interest as long as it served your own purpose.

I cannot fathom how anyone can be in love with a person, genuinely find them interesting, think that they are the most amazing person on earth, want to know everything about them, discover that the more they get to know them, the better they like them, be physically attracted to them, and then find them lousy in bed.  There is no such thing.  It's impossible.

The real aphrodisiac isn't switching it up or switching partners.  The real aphrodisiac is having an intimate conversation, sharing something that you wouldn't share with just anyone:  Deep and profound moments; baring your naked soul moments; owning up to your faults and past hurts moments; light and breezy inside joke moments; getting into an argument, then talking it over and making up moments; discovering and discussing common interests moments; hurdling the obstacles life throws at you together moments.  Those are the real aphrodisiacs.

Sex is what it is.  It doesn't need to be improved on.  What needs to be improved on is the relationship with the person you having sex with.  There is no such thing as good sex or bad sex.  There are only people having sex for all the right reasons, and people having sex for all the wrong reasons.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Where is Jesus?


At Gabriel's last catechism class, the kids went around to each parent and asked this question:  "Where is Jesus?"

I thought about giving the obvious, (yet, perversely overlooked) answer which I think I gave when it was Maryssa's turn, previously; "In the Eucharist."  I decided against it.

Jesus can be found in many obvious places, such as prayer, meditation, or nature.  Most of the other parents mentioned these.  I thought about mentioning "in other people, when you really need them most." But I ended up going with prayer as well; "in the stillness of an empty chapel", meaning, in front of the tabernacle, in front of the host, the blessed sacrament, in the silence, alone, in the semi-dark. (I was thinking of this moment.)

Thinking about it later, I realized that where I see Jesus the most recently, is with a friend of mine.  I literally see his presence there.  Her husband left her, and their 7 children.  Without going into details, the relationship has never been an easy one, and the husband has been very nasty towards her.  She was the one with a job when he left, and she was also going to school when he left.  He was taking care of the kids, when she was gone/sleeping, but now she has to do everything.

I honestly do not know when she sleeps.  I know she has friends and family closer than I am to help out a bit, but I do not know how she still manages to function or even be alive.  Except I know this:  there is a huge group of people praying constantly for her.  Her family is around her. Her friends are as close as they can be.  I'm thinking it's the prayers keeping her going.  I don't see what else is.  Coffee can only keep you going for so long.  The husband left in late December, we're at the end of May.  I can almost see Jesus beside her, holding her up, keeping her walking straight.  Keeping her mentally stable on very little sleep, somehow, somehow, giving her the strength she needs to carry on.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Prayer

Was going through my Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church e-mails just now, and I thought I would share a couple of little bits about prayer.  Sometimes, it's good to be reminded of things we already know.

 Why is prayer sometimes a struggle?
The spiritual masters of all times have described growth in faith and in love for God as a spiritual, life-and-death combat. The battlefield is man's interior life. The Christian's weapon is prayer. We can allow ourselves be defeated by our selfishness and lose ourselves over worthless things or we can win God.
Often someone who wants to pray must first conquer his lack of will power. Even the Desert Fathers were acquainted with spiritual sluggishness ("acedia"). Reluctance to seek God is a big problem in the spiritual life. The spirit of the times sees no point in praying, and our full calendars leave no room for it. Then there is the battle against the tempter, who will try anything to keep a person from devoting himself to God. If God did not want us to find our way to him in prayer, we would not win the battle. (YOUCAT question 505)
Is it possible to pray always?
Prayer is always possible. Prayer is vitally necessary. Prayer and life cannot be separated.
You cannot keep God content with a few words in the morning or evening. Our life must become prayer, and our prayers must become life. Every Christian life story is also a story of prayer, one long attempt to achieve ever greater union with God. Because many Christians experience a heartfelt longing to be with God constantly, they turn to the so-called "Jesus prayer", which has been an age-old custom particularly in the Eastern Churches. The person who prays it tries to integrate a simple formula the most well-known formula is "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner" into his daily routine in such a way that it becomes a constant prayer. (YOUCAT question 510)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

So you want to be a saint?

Looking for a path to self-betterment?  Try getting married and having kids.

I can't imagine a better way to make it to sainthood.

Of course, this implies that you are the kind of person who will compromise, be patient and work hard at staying married and raising healthy kids.

Because your marriage and your kids will require constant patience, and compromise.  You will consistently be reminded of all your shortcomings, and you will be required to admit to them and work at overcoming them.  Your faults will consistently be brought up, if not directly, then at least indirectly, by the consequences of things done, left undone or done badly.  Every fail will be revisited.  Every shortcoming will haunt you. You will be forced to learn patience in the dead of night after one more sleepless night in a row of sleepless nights.  You will learn to bite your tongue instead of lashing out.  You will learn humility, you will learn that you are not perfect.  You will learn that you do NOT in fact know how to communicate and that you need to learn again how to communicate. And then just when you think everything is going well, your kids will suddenly turn into their own persons, and have different points of views, and you will have to deal with that as well.  And sometimes you will have to let them make their own mistakes, and you will have to learn to step back and stop trying to control everything, and then you will question everything you do, are you doing too much, are you doing too little?  Should you be be showing anger at the seemingly outrageous thing they just did, or should you be showing understanding, because maybe they're going through something really hard?

It will be one long learning process, one long rearranging of yourself, readjusting of yourself, re-committing to your engagement.  Some days you will want to scream.  Some days you will shake your fist at God and ask Him, could He stop it already with the potter's hand, turning you into the perfect vessel, and doesn't He think you're good enough yet?

Apparently He does not.  Because He will just keep at it, throwing you curve balls, opening trap doors and keeping you on your toes.  Because you haven't learned your lessons well enough yet.  Because you need to pray harder, and you need to let go and let God.  Because even top athletes still go through constant training, in order to achieve near perfect results.  Because if you don't stay on your toes, you lose your edge.

Signs

I came across this on Facebook just now, and... I kind of felt the need to put a little input into it, just from the perspective of a 41 year old woman.

First off, these aren't signs that you are falling in love.  These are signs that you are attracted to him.  Love comes after, and it has nothing to do with these things.  Love is a choice.  You found a guy you were attracted to.  Good.  He turned out to be an awesome guy.  Even better.  You think (mostly) alike on all the important issues, you complement each other, you argue, but you make compromises, and you try to understand where the other is coming from.  You don't need to compromise on the big stuff, because you agree on that.  You can talk to each other about pretty much anything.  You share the important things.  You care about the well-being of each other.  You respect each other.  The more you get to know him, the better you like him.  The more amazing he is.  You like him despite his faults.  He likes you despite yours.  You can easily see yourself living your whole life together.  NOW you're falling in love.  And when he's not the only thing you think about anymore, when just the sound of his voice isn't enough to make you smile, when you no longer re-read his texts over and over, when you aren't constantly smiling every time you think of him, it doesn't matter, because those things weren't love.  Love is a choice.  Love is choosing to stick by someone you really like, and respect and admire for the rest of your life.  Love is a gift.  And it keeps giving and giving and giving, and it doesn't stop; not when you are mad, not when you are upset, or hurt or just not feeling it.  You choose to care about his well-being.  You choose to do special things for him.  You choose to ask him how his day was.  That is love.

Love is caring for the other person, even when you're angry.
It's important to make this kind of distinction, because later on in life, once you're married, you will come across other people you are attracted to.  Attraction is a natural thing, and not bad in itself.  It's what you do with it that is either good or bad. Eventually, the feelings of attraction WILL die out and this is also normal.  On the one hand, it's good to know that this doesn't mean you're not in love with the guy (or girl) you chose to marry anymore.  On the other hand it's also good to know that feeling attracted to someone new will likely only be temporary, and it certainly doesn't mean you are in love with them instead now. You cannot let pure feelings direct your life.  They come and they go, and they can't always be relied upon.

Love ISN'T just a feeling.  You DON'T just fall in and out of it, you grow into it, and it gets stronger and stronger, because you choose to work at it.  Love is a mutual thing.  You both care for each other.  When one person does not care, and desires to harm the other, then love is absent.

Learning to show restraint towards feelings while still single is important.  If you throw yourself into a relationship without restraint, how will you see the warning bells and avoid ending up in a serious relationship, hard to get out of, or married to the wrong person?  Practicing restraint while still single allows you to more easily ignore feelings of attraction to other people once you are married.  And, eventually, the feelings disappear.  Because they are temporary.  You're not in love with that other person who's not your spouse, despite whatever you may be feeling, because you choose to not act on it.  Because you've already chosen to love the one you're with, even when you don't feel it.  THAT is love.  You find someone you like, and you stick by them.  Loyal like a dog.  And you ignore the rest.

And it is this sticking by them, this constant caring for them, that eventually develops a much deeper sentiment than pure attraction ever will.  That genuine affection, that deep knowing exactly how the other is going to react to this or that situation, that depending on each other for this or that thing, the automatic falling into roles, the inside jokes, the gentle teasing, the making up after a fight, the making it work even when it seems it can't work anymore, and making it over the next hill.  Nothing compares to that deep sentiment of sharing a life together and choosing each other over everything else, even when the feelings weren't always there.  THAT is love.  And when you get to that point, that is when you know that you are still only starting to fall in love with this person you've been with for years.