Tag Archives: choices

Mature Eyes Only

I have a confession to make.

A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law and I rented the movie Bridesmaids.

I know, I know.  What kind of role model am I for the young Catholics of the world if I can willingly subject myself to such a film?  And why even tell you this at all?

Well, besides the fact that I want to be straightforward with my readers about where and who I actually am, I tell you this because I have a sneaking suspicion that many of you have seen, or will at some point in the future see, a film on par with Bridesmaids.  And I’d like to share a little secret with you.

Actual running time of Bridesmaids: 125 minutes. 

Time my sister-in-law and I spent watching Bridesmaids: about 100 minutes (and no, we didn’t press the Stop button before the final credits rolled).

Friends, allow me to re-acquaint you with the beauty of the fast-forward button (yes, it’s for more than just skipping over commercials during your pre-recorded TV shows).

Remember when you were younger, and you happened to be in the room with your parents when an inappropriate part of a TV show or movie came on?  If your family was anything like mine, one of three things happened:

  1. Your parents told you to cover your eyes (or did it for you)
  2. Your parents fast-forwarded until the part was over
  3. Your parents changed the channel or turned off the TV altogether

They did this for the same reason they did most things: to protect us.  They loved us and wanted to safeguard the innocence of our minds and hearts.

And then we grew up.

Our parents may have loosened up the leash a little bit, not because they no longer cared, but because we were now old enough to know right from wrong, and they couldn’t oversee every decision we made throughout the day.  It became our own responsibility to protect our own innocence.

Unfortunately, a lot of us misunderstood this.  We noticed that the world often frames inappropriate content as being for “mature” eyes only.  Subtext being: If you can’t subject yourself to watch what can hardly be labeled as anything other than soft porn (or worse), then you’re an immature little kid who still needs to grow up.

Well, I’m 21.  When I’m in a movie theater and stuff starts happening on the screen that, frankly, should not be happening on a movie screen, my eyes shift sharply downward (and I’m also not above covering the eyes of those around me—just ask any of my guy friends who have ever seen a movie with me :-P ). If it gets really terrible, I walk out of the theater and ask for my money back (which, for the record, I’m certain I would have done if I saw Bridesmaids in theaters).  If I’m at home watching a movie, those parts get fast-forwarded over.

To a lot of the world, this may mean that I’m immature, awkward, or worse.  But I know myself.  I’m human.  And yes, I’m weak.  The things I allow myself to see, hear, or do have an impact on me whether I want them to or not.  And as far as I know, there’s no magical age that humans outgrow that completely.

I’m not saying that you should all go out and rent the worst movies you can find just as long as you fast-forward through the bad parts.  Just remember that if you ever find yourself in a situation where any kind of evil is placed in front of you, you always have the option to turn away from it.  I think that recognizing your weaknesses and guarding against them takes a lot more maturity than staring helplessly at whatever is put on the screen in front of you.

 

The Back-to-School Post

It’s officially September.  And as it seems the rest of the young adult world returns to classes or goes off to college for the first time, I find myself 9 days away from my college graduation.

As such, I thought this would be prime opportunity to impart a very important piece of wisdom for those of you continuing or just beginning your college years.  And that is, if your experience will be anything like mine was…

Very few things will go according to your plan…and I mean that in the best way possible.

Translation: Don’t stress :)

I know this is going to sound terrible (and odd, since it happened in three years)—but graduating from college was never really a high priority on my to-do list.  Like a lot of girls (girls that other women often scoff at for giving womankind a bad name), I was always kind of hoping I could get away with just a year or two of classes and an MRS. rather than a B.S.

But God clearly had other plans.  And, contrary to what I probably would’ve said had I seen the program schedule He had in mind from Day 1, I like His plans much better than mine…

So here’s to beginning college in one state and graduating in another…  And putting off declaring a major to the last second and then choosing the one that your school technically doesn’t even offer yet…  Here’s to taking an entire year to actually open up and talk to people (actually, please learn from my mistake on that one and begin to socialize… NOW :) )…

And to all the ups and downs you will experience in your walk with God during this time in college, and remembering that no matter how far you fall He will always take you back.

College will be great.  Work hard; but don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re the one in charge.  It’ll be more fun His way.  I promise.

The Reality of the “Real World”

Professors instructing you, grade books, and meal plans don’t exactly add up to life on your own.  The thought seems to be that true reality doesn’t really set in until you have to support yourself, make your own wages (and dinner), and even…yes…fold your own laundry.  The “real world” is not for the fainthearted.

Whether you find yourself in the “real world” of the workforce or the idealistic bubble of a college campus, it’s all too easy to forget about—or miss altogether— the reality that we ought to take most seriously as Catholics.  I’m talking about the reality of our faith, and it’s more than mass on Sundays or a private school education in Catholic theology.

The reality of our faith is that Heaven exists—which means that Hell also exists—And Satan will do everything in His power to keep us from reaching Heaven.

As Catholics, we are not free to dismiss the supernatural realm as merely movie magic. Spiritual warfare is real, which is certainly a terrifying reality, if God is not on your side.  Fortunately for us (as humans, not just Catholics), God is always on our side.  However: though God will never reject us, we can choose to reject God (read: choose Satan).  We do this every time we choose to sin.  God wins the battle every time.  The question is: are we letting Him fight for us?

We are in the midst of a battle for our very souls.  Are we acting like it?

The reality of our faith grants ordinary men the supernatural power to forgive sins through priestly ordination. 

Ever been at the airport and seen a priest walking around?  You could be surrounded by hundreds of other people, but, as a Catholic, that priest is the only one in the terminal who has the power to literally take your sins away from you and give you forgiveness.  Because of a priest, in a matter of minutes we can be reconciled to our God whom we have offended through our sins.

Do we even stop to think of what this means?

The reality of our faith as Catholics is that at every mass, our God comes to meet us in the Eucharist. 

Literally.  He remains present in His body, blood, soul, and divinity in the tabernacle, 24/7, at our local Catholic parish (and He longs for us daily just to stop in at least for a quick visit).

Are we taking advantage of so great a gift?

 

It’s not that the “real world” isn’t real, nor am I saying that college can’t (or shouldn’t) be as awesome as you can make it.  The point is to keep things in perspective.  In the end, there is nothing so real as the reality of our faith.

Don’t Wake Me, I Plan On Sleeping In

I don’t know how many times I will have to keep learning this lesson before it sticks, but I have a bit of a problem.  I can’t seem to go longer than a week without hitting the snooze button in the morning.

In case you did not know, this is an alarm clock. And this is a woman hitting the snooze button in the morning (FYI: my shade of lipstick at 6am is much prettier)

I realize it may sound silly.  There are much bigger problems I could be worrying about.  But for me, this seems to be where everything else starts.  When I start sleeping in, I start to get a little lazier, prayer life begins to slip, and a whole can of worms is opened.  All for a measly 5 (ok, 30) extra minutes of sleep and a less productive day.

Despite the vast amounts of writings that warn against the dangers that sleeping in can pose to the spiritual life (not to mention past experiences and well-meaning resolutions), I always manage to reason with myself saying that sleeping in will be okay just this one morning.  After all, I say to myself, I’ve had a busy week and accomplished a lot.  I deserve this. 

As if that weren’t enough, the proverbial sirens should start blaring when the above thoughts are inevitably followed by my ever so confident, “I got this”.

One morning usually turns into two, and then into a week or so, and then I’m left, days later, wondering where my productive drive has gone.

[Maybe you can relate.  It seems at least that Bruno Mars can.  Today (and yesterday, or any other day you choose to listen to “The Lazy Song”), he doesn’t feel like doing anything. And what’s the harm, really? (…I have said it before and I will keep saying it.  Music is powerful.  Be cautious of what you listen to!)]

When am I going to realize that Jesus meant business when He said, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)?  Being a Christian means obedience to Christ; and that has to start when the alarm clock goes off in the morning—not 15 (ok, 45) minutes later.

Am I Happy?

“Am I happy?”

It’s a question that I don’t think we ask nearly enough. Notice that it’s not the same question as “Am I having fun?”—I think we ask ourselves that question all the time.

We go out drinking or take a lot of trips, or do all sorts of fun activities to keep us busy and having fun. Generally, there is nothing objectively wrong about doing any of these things. But thinking that they are what will make us happy can often lead to feelings of emptiness and confusion. The truth is that fun is not the same thing as happiness.

Now, that’s not to say that being happy can’t be fun—it certainly can, and often is. But it’s more than that. The question we asks ourselves should not be “Am I having fun?” but “Am I happy?” So how can you tell if you are happy?

1. Happiness is good. Someone who has something that is truly good will always want to share it with others.

If what you have is just “fun”, you may want more people around, but you’re not making it a purpose or goal to share your fun with other people. And often times what we do for “fun” is exclusive to a small group of people—we don’t really want anyone else to be a part of it for one reason or another. Maybe it’s a clique-y thing or maybe it’s something that is shameful that we don’t want other people to know about. The bottom line is that something that yields true happiness, you can’t help but want to share with everyone you meet.

2. Happiness is lasting, even when things aren’t “fun”.

Life isn’t all excitement all the time. Sometimes things are boring; and sometimes you have to do long, grueling work that you’d rather delegate to someone else. But a lack of excitement and a lack of fun does not have to mean unhappiness. If you are leading a life that you are truly happy with, you are going to be happy even in those less-than-exciting times.

To clarify: I’m not saying that boring times are good because they make you thankful for the fun times, and if you realize that, then you are happy. I’m saying that happy people find joy and peace even in the boring times.  They know that their life has meaning beyond what they are feeling in the moment.

So what do you think? Are you happy?