Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What has become of Easter?

Wow, it's been a week since I've posted.  I think I have a good excuse, though, since all of my writing energy has, sadly, been sucked into academic writing.

Anyhoo, Happy Easter everybody!  He is Risen! ♫Alleluia♫

I had an interesting Holy Week this year.  Last year my entire Holy Week was spent working on my toothpick bridge.  I had hoped and planned initially to get it done by the Triduum so I could devote time to religious stuff.  Soon after I realized that was impossible, so I made my goal to finish it by The Easter Vigil.  That didn't happen either.  My bridge was finished at 9pm on Easter Monday.  I felt horrible the whole time because my mind was constantly brooding over my bridge (which, on Easter Day, was still refusing to stand up) when I should have been celebrating with Jesus.  When I went to Mass I kept catching myself turning over bridge-building strategies in my head when I should have been praying.  At least on Good Friday I suffered with Jesus.

So I had very much hoped to have a more prayerful Triduum this year.  Sadly, my time was again monopolized.  First of all, I was not able to go to Holy Thursday Mass because I had to work, which was sad because it is such a beautiful Eucharistic liturgy.  Then I spent basically the entire weekend reading homework, writing papers, studying, or working.  Luckily, I got to go to Good Friday service and the Easter vigil, and I still got to spent time with my family and watch a couple of movies.

What has our world come to that teachers see the long Easter weekend as simply an opportunity to pound us with homework?  Well, actually, the bridge I understand.  I had all of Lent to work on it and my teacher even dubbed the bridge "our Lenten sacrifice."  Still, I feel guilty about how focused on that bridge I was when I should have given it all to God.  And then this year I had a professor that deliberately loaded on the homework.  He even sent us an e-mail with some rubrics that said something to the effect of, "Have a safe Easter weekend, make it productive."  Is that all that Easter has become in the academic world?   A long weekend for projects?  What about the poor resident students who went home but didn't have time to spend with their families?  For just this one class, I had to read a book, write a report, prepare a group project, write a mid-term essay, and study for a midterm IDs test.  And during this week, the Easter octave, there is only one day that I do not have to do something extra-curricular for this class.  And all of this was on top of rewrites and other homework I have to do for other classes.  Where has the respect for religious holidays gone?

However, thank God, with prayer I was able to pull through and still have some time to enjoy the season.  I'm curious, has anyone else had similar experiences?  Do you all agree with me or am I taking this overboard? I'd love to hear some opinions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thoughts on the Chrism Mass

My whole trip to the Chrism Mass was very on the spur of the moment.  Yesterday, Father mentioned that there would not be Mass on campus today because of the Chrism Mass.  At the time I thought it would be neat to go but since I had class I put the idea out of my mind.

Well, I got home from work last night and my mom mentioned Chrism Mass.  It got me thinking.  I realized that I would only have to miss Economics to go and well, lets just say I won't be laying awake tonight in sadness because I missed it.  So I e-mailed my teacher, dropped off my homework in her office in the morning, and headed out to the Cathedral.

Since I had class up until 15 minutes before Mass, I arrived just as Mass was starting.  I was fully expecting to be standing in the back.  However, an usher led some of us people standing in the back up to the front where there was an empty row of seats in front of some priests, so I ended up sitting by the cantor and lectors.  So, I arrived late and got a top notch seat.  Catholics are so cool.

The Mass itself was awesome.  It was packed with representatives from all the different parishes and with priests, there was great music, the blessing of the oils was cool, and it was at the Cathedral, which by itself is always great.  As I had never been to one of these before, I never realized what a big deal for priests the Chrism Mass is.  They were all there and they renewed their ordination promises.

After it was over, I ran into my cousin who was representing the Newman Center from his college campus and we went over to the "light luncheon."  I like the diocese's definition of light luncheon: roast beef, sausage, potatoes, corn, steamed veggies, fruit salad, rolls, cookies.  Okay, I guess this technically doesn't have anything to do with the Chrism Mass, but I just had to mention the new definition of "light luncheon" for all my fellow food junkies out there.

All in all, Chrism Mass was an awesome experience and it was definitely worth missing Economics for.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


My apologies for not having posted in a while.  Life has been very busy and I have been feeling utterly uninspired.
At the end of the day, when I look back on all of the things that have happened, some of the most prominent situations that stick out in my mind seem to be the times when I am sincere.  I am not talking about the moments when I am sincerely tired or sincerely happy about something.  I am talking about the moments when I am honestly and frankly myself around people, showing the way that I really feel in a genuine way without exaggerating.

At least for me, being earnest is always much harder than it originally appears.  It seems that I have made different masking personalities to wear around different people, and I am sure most people do the same.  While the masks do often serve a good purpose, they often serve as an excuse for stability so that I don't have to expose how I really feel about this, that or the other. I have lately found that things go much better when I am more transparent, when I filter my personality instead of faking it completely.

Of late I have really recognized how important being sincere is.  I noticed that when I wait tables, things go so much better when I say the (positive) things that are on my mind, when I drop my guard and actually converse with people.  I discovered that people love it so much more when you are more than "Would you like to add a side salad?" or even "So how about that weather?"  Surprisingly to me, a lot of people just want to see some life come out of my brain.  I guess to many people this may be common sense, but to me this is cool and surprising.

(Seems like I'm always bringing up waiting tables.  Is it that waiting tables is full of life lessons, or do I just need a life?)

And lately I have been applying this to friendships and I am stunned by how much easier it is to make friends and strengthen existing friendships when you really mean what you say and say what you mean.  When I want to say hi to someone, I go up and say hi like I mean it, something which I never would have done in the past.  For me, it's a matter of convincing my shy self that if something goes wrong the world won't end.  Being sincere is a lot of fun!  When I want to know some little thing about someone, I ask.  People love knowing that you want to know more about them.  To be honest, I hate formalities. They are so devoid of meaning.  So, in place, I have made up my own or made funny little twists on a lot of them.  Why? To snap it out of being simply a formality and make it meaningful.  I can't begin to describe how much infinitely easier my social life has been since I have made the effort to loosen up and let sincerity show though.

So, there are the disjointed naive young thoughts on sincerity from someone who it doesn't come naturally to.  In all sincerity, it's quite fun.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Video: Catholic Pick-up Line Song

I found this video last night.  Who says you can't be Catholic and classy at the same time?  Guys: take a hint...just kidding.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Converse...nuff said

Today I am celebrating the arrival of my new non-slip shoes.  They are entirely black Shoes for Crews that look like high top Converse.  I am totally stoked, even though I have to wear crew socks to keep them from digging into my ankles.

So now I will be spending most of my time in Converse look-alikes.  Sadly, I do not own a real pair of Chucks. I have some classic black canvas with white rubber Levi's (which, I might add, were $20 cheaper than what the same thing in Converse would have been) and I wear them to school pretty much every day.  And now I have these awesome new things that I will be sporting at to work.

The thing that attracts me to this kind of shoe so much is their character.  They are so bold and they are so much fun.  They come in every color and many different patterns.  They are just as functional as any other shoe, even if the high top can be restricting at times.  They go with anything...I've seen people wear them to formal dances on many occasions.  They transcend group.  You are about as likely to see a jock wearing them as a geek or a prep.

But, possibly the best thing about them is that they never go out of style.  I remember watching Andy Griffith and being shocked that Opie had the same shoes on as I did.  I remember having pink Chucks with a Tweety applique when I was a little kid.  I love them, love them.  So practical, so classy, and so awesome.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

True Love Waits...tables

So, like many other trendy Catholic young women, I wear a purity ring on my left ring finger.  It's just a simple band made of stainless steel with the words "True Love Waits" lightly inscribed in cursive and surrounded by a very simple foliage pattern (here's a picture).  It's nothing flashy or even necessarily pretty, but I like it that way.

There it sits, on my finger all day.  It fits snugly so I never have to worry about it falling off.  When I'm bored I toy with it.  I take it off and roll it around in my fingers like Frodo, whispering "My preciousssss" to myself the whole time (not really).  Every once in a while I will look down and read "True Love Waits" and my mind always adds "waits on what?"  I love the phrase, but the open ended nature of it often twists my brain.

The obvious answer is that True Love waits to have sex until marriage, and of course that is the point of the ring, but that seems a bit narrow for a statement so broad and so full of potential.  Often times, when work is on my mind, I think to myself "True Love Waits tables."  And, to a degree, waiting tables does take a certain amount of charity, especially on a Friday night when half of the people that come in are worn out and grouchy from a hard week at work.  For me, waiting tables is a chance to practice true love, even if this true love is not romantic.

And there are so many other little situations like this where I think up ways to end the phrase on my ring.  I have in some ways come to redefine True Love more broadly than some handsome knight in shining armor.  True Love is accepting whatever God sends my way with patience, waiting on His will to be done.  "True Love Waits for them to text back" or "True Love Waits until my major becomes clear."  It goes back to that whole thing "Love is Patient, Love is Kind."  My ring is such a comfort to me in ways that have nothing to do with waiting for sex until marriage.  Whenever I am feeling impatient or lost, I look and remember that True Love of God Waits patiently for him to reveal the way.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Magic of Ordinary Days

What a beautiful and simple thought, the idea that everyday is full of magical little moments.  They may not be big or flashy.  Often they are beautiful because they are not big or flashy.  For me these little moments often just consist of a conversation with a friend or a song coming on the radio at the perfect time.  They are the diamonds in the rough, pearls of great price.

The weird thing is that at times these moments aren't even pleasant.  Maybe I did something embarrassing, maybe I ignored someone when I should have said something, maybe I am confused by the way someone treated me.  These are the moments when I turn to God in prayer.  They are opportunities for God to give me solace.  They are opportunities for introspection.

What I really love about these moments is that they cause me to feel something stronger than "I'm tired" or "I'm hungry."  These little moments, whether positive or negative, serve to snap me out of the everyday and remind me that there are bigger and better things out there.  These little moments are magical because they are when I can see God in the infrastructure of my life.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Whistle While You Wait

After much thought and much procrastination, I introduce to you *drumroll* Whistle While You Wait!

For a long time I have been meaning to make a blog.  The only reason it took so long to get around to it was that I didn't have a good name.  I wanted it to be creative and I wanted it to say a bit about my life.

Well, over the past few days I have really been feeling the pressure to create a blog.  A few of my friends introduced their blogs on Facebook and there was an article in the newspaper about creating your personal brand.  So, I finally got fed up with putting it off and this morning I got down to the grind trying to come up with a name.

Well, I started out with a fervent prayer (they always help) and then started looking through quotes by some of my favorite authors for inspiration.  First, of course, was Tolkien.  Next was Chesterton, then came C.S. Lewis. After I found that quotes don't make good blog names, I read some articles about starting a blog.  One said that your blog should be about something that you could write on everyday, something that is very close to your heart.  That article is what led to the name.

I have always planned that one of my first blog posts would be about how my life right now is waiting.  It seems that almost everything I do is in anticipation of something else.  I realized that this running theme in my life would make an excellent blog topic.  The actual name "Whistle While You Wait" came out of the blue, definitely an inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

This is how I recognized the theme of waiting in my life.  A few weeks after I started college, I noticed something.  I was feeling a bit listless in a way I don't remember feeling in high school.  After some thought, I realized that it was because in high school I had a definite goal-to get good grades and good scholarships and get into college.  In college, I had not (and still have not) found a definite point that I am headed for.  I am waiting.  And I am not just waiting for the right major.  I am waiting for a career idea.  I am eagerly waiting for four (or six, or heaven forbid, eight) years to be up so I can start my life.  I am waiting until the right time to move out.  I am waiting for my call to a vocation.  I wear a "True Love Waits" ring on my left ring finger.  Heck, my job is waiting tables.  In so many ways, I am waiting for God to point me in the right direction.

And the name "Whistle While You Wait" is not just meant as a catchy phrase to point to this theme.  Lately I have noticed that I do a good amount of idle whistling.  Usually it is not even a specific tune, it's just whatever notes emerge from my head.  For a while I wondered why I had taken up the habit.  Then I realized that I usually do it while I wait.  Sometimes I do it because I am in an uncomfortable situation and I want it to be over.  Sometimes I do it because I am in a good mood and I am feeling musical.  Sometimes I do it just because.

But Whistle While You Wait goes even deeper than that.  It means that while I may not enjoy the wait, I will take it in stride anyway.  Snow White never said that whistling makes the chores any easier.  She whistles while she works because it makes her cheerful and it passes the time.  I realize that right now in my life God is calling me to wait, to spend this down time in my life to grow closer to Him and to get ready for my future while I am still unhitched and career-free.  And while I do not enjoy the waiting, I am going to make the best of it.

I am going to Whistle While I Wait.