Wednesday, March 20, 2013

For What It's Worth

One of my favorite legends of all time has been that of Robin Hood. What's not to love about a man who forgoes worldly comforts to take from the unjust excess of the rich to give to the poor? Throw in a love story and boom, I'm sold. Recently, the hubs and I watched the BBC's "Robin Hood" series on Netflix and, besides being very well-done, struck some unexpected chords with me. (Be forewarned of spoilers. So skip all the Robin Hood paragraphs if you care. But that would mean you'd pretty much have to skip my whole post. So, go watch the series first if you care about spoilers and then come back).

Over the past few months (few years) my faith has been shaken and stretched. My understanding of suffering and the militant nature of our journey on earth has been tested. I've doubted, I've cried, I've reconciled, I've fallen, I've been confused, and I've kept on believing. All of my issues seem to come from the same place: Is is all worth it?

In seasons 1-2 of "Robin Hood", Robin and Marian fight, steal, and save for the good of England. They uncover plots to cheat the people out of more money and livelihood and one to kill King Richard, who is away in the Holy Land. While their relationship goes through ups and downs, it is obvious to anyone who has ever heard the Robin Hood story before that they will end up together. Why? Because they are better together. Robin says as much when he proposes to Marian (quite possibly the best proposal I've ever heard. Yes, I know it's scripted but still. Dude. Check it out here. And men, take notes). At the end of the season, once they have saved the King, they do marry. With her final breaths, Marian recounts that she is proud because she has given her life entirely for God, country, and love.

In season 3, Robin Hood returns to England and basically has a crisis of self. Throughout the (not as good by a long shot) season, Robin struggles, implicitly, with the question "Is it all worth it?". He has given his entire life for the good of country and in the service of the King and God and has lost everything he has loved and cherished-- his lands, his life, his love. But what has he gained?

For Robin Hood, as for me, this question was not fully answered (though we see him die peacefully, with Marian meeting him to take him into heaven). Maybe this question isn't meant to be fully answered in this lifetime, maybe it's proving the point that our home isn't here on earth. Any good Christian will answer the question for you: "Of course it's worth it! Christ died for you. He clearly thought it was worth it, so you should, too." And while I know this is the Truth, I can't help but struggle with it. A priest friend and spiritual director of sorts once told me, "Not all of your questions have answers...yet."

As she was dying, Marian said to Robin Hood that they will have all the time they need in heaven because they certainly didn't get enough in this lifetime. How I long for her certainty! And that is the purity and certainty that she conducted her whole life with. If the situation had been reversed and it had been Robin dying, I am positive that Marian would still have continued on with the same certainty until her own life came to an end. I don't have that certainty, that grace. It is said that St. Francis of Assisi was so remorseful for his sins and so worried that he would not be granted heaven because of them that God gave him the grace of knowing that he would go to heaven, a grace usually reserved for those in purgatory. Certainty is a consolation I am not afforded.

"The route on which I am has no consolation for me, and nevertheless it brings me all consolations since Jesus is the one who chose it, and I want to console Him alone, alone!" - St. Therese of Lisieux

I'm often drawn to Mary, especially as Our Lady of Sorrows, in my questioning and in my fear and sorrow. But one aspect I have just not gotten over or made sense of was that she was without sin and only had to wait three days to be with her love, Jesus, again. I am far from sinless and have to wait much longer. I turn most often to my patroness, the Little Flower, as her simplicity always gives me comfort and direction: "Sanctity does not consist in saying beautiful things, it does not even consist in thinking them, feeling them! It consists in suffering and suffering everything." Sanctity is suffering. Gold tested in fire is not purified until it has come through the fire. This is the fire. This earthly life is the fire testing me, purifying me. But I will not be purified until I have passed through this life and I will not know the answer to my question until then, either.

Until that time when I am afforded the answers to my questions, I must merely walk on, must merely struggle and suffer. In the recess of my mind, in the farthest corner of my heart I know that it must all be worth it or it wouldn't be so elaborate. If it wasn't worth it, I would not find hope in the time spent with my husband, looking at my little girl, in receiving the Eucharist. The specifics, though, are still a mystery. "Without complaint, everything shall I suffer for, in the love of God, nothing have I to fear." -St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart. Before I really started questioning and doubting, before so much was taken from me, I lived by this exclamation, and I must live by it again. However, it says nothing of not doubting or not struggling or not questioning, but it says to live without fear. Though it doesn't quite seem to make sense, the answer to "Is it worth it?", on earth, is "Live without fear".

For what it's worth, live without fear.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Check Out My Store!

Just a quick little post today to let you know that I have new items up in my jewelry and accessories shop Ruby & Zoe. Like this great piece to help celebrate St. Patrick's Day:

Also, the hubs said that if I come up with enough money, we can take a family trip to Walt Disney World. I am in love with that place. It's definitely my happy place and nothing could make me happier than being able to share it with Ruby for the first time (even though she'll be like a year old. Whatever. The trip would definitely be more about me but there's nothing wrong with that! Indulge the mommy!). So buying my jewelry and scarves will help us get there. Or, if you don't want to posses any of my lovely items (I don't know why you wouldn't...) then you can just donate to help us get there at our Go Fund Me page.

Not that I'm trying to solicit you awesome readers for money, but remember that charity is a virtue!

In other news, there is nothing going on and I am a lazy blogger. Nothing has changed. I have a few ideas for some posts, so maybe I'll get around to making a real post later this week. Time will tell.

Monday, January 14, 2013

What I Wore Sunday: The Non-Post

So I was going to start participating in another link-up this week called "What I Wore Sunday" hosted by the lovely gals at Fine Linen and Purple. It's all about posting pictures and descriptions of what you wore to mass on Sunday to encourage each other in dressing our best for the Lord. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to mass yesterday--hubs came down with a horrendous cold/fever after having been on extra overnight duty, Ruby wasn't feeling well, and I was tired from taking care of them (plus, I was a little under the weather, too). So what I wore Sunday was my oversized Dodgers t-shirt, a tan PA State Police hoodie, hot pink Disneyland sweatpants, and my black and white plaid Roxy slippers. Super comfy, but not mass attire. So, I will be participating in this link-up next Sunday. Happy Monday to you all and may you be happy, healthy, and blessed!

Friday, January 11, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday 1/11/13

This is my first ever 7 Quick Takes and the first time ever I am participating in a blog link-up! So exciting! I like this because it is giving me a solid reason and subject to blog about so that I can start blogging more regularly. Blogging more regularly was my "resolution" (I don't really make New Years resolutions) last year and I kinda bombed. Not so this year! 

One of my first thoughts this morning was, "Is it time to potty train yet?" I found a onesie in a shopping bag that she had pooped through a few days ago which I had forgotten about. Crap. Literally. Nothing worse than dried baby poop. I'm starting to get really tired of cleaning baby poop off of clothes...and Ruby is only 3 months old! Sigh. Thank goodness she's cute.

Speaking of cute...
I finally caught her smiling! Even though the picture is blurry. Also of note, she is stinkin' standing! 3 months old and standing unassisted. Can you spell trouble? I can...R-U-B-Y

This week I've been applying for jobs that I can do from home so that I can continue to stay at home with Ruby. I actually love being a homemaker. So we'll see. I've applied to be an online tutor and to a number of freelance writing gigs. Here's hoping!

In case you didn't know, I own a crafting business and mainly make jewelry and scarves (I also make baby blankets, beer coozies, and hats). If you'd like to check it out and maybe help me out, you can do so here. Ruby & Zoe-- where every handcrafted piece tells a unique story! You can also become a fan on facebook.

We still have our Christmas decorations up. Partially because we didn't put them up (well, we had the Nativity scene up) until we came back from PA/OH on Dec. 26th but mostly because we like them, the Christmas season isn't over yet, and we like them :) Ruby loves looking at the Christmas tree; I swear she could stare at it for hours

I joined a moms' group at my parish this week. I'm not sure exactly if I love it or not yet, but I think I'll keep going for a while. I sometimes have a hard time feeling like I fit in places, but this one more so because I'm the youngest in the group and I also have the youngest child. I feel like maybe I am in just a different place than the other moms. We shall see. I am going to go to their "Moms' Night Out" at the end of the month and that should be a great way to get to know everyone better.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Be Ye Not Discouraged

Oh masturbation, will you ever leave me alone?

Probably not. Because I am a sexual person made for sexual interaction and relations (of course I'm not, nor are you, exclusively this). Since I am thus, I will probably always be tempted by masturbation, at least a little bit.

There's a notion that marriage cures masturbation. This is true only to a small extent. It is true in that marriage satisfies what masturbation itself cannot, making it irrelevant. But marriage is not salvation, marriage is not a fix-all cure. It is the answer. But what about the times when he's too tired or you've had an extremely stressful day, or you've had a fight, or he's away? Lots of things come up in marriage and it's not always a smooth, I-can-always-see-the-rainbow-and-want-to-eat-chocolates-and-cuddle-with-my-love-all-day-long ride. It's bumpy. Those moments are when the temptation sneak in. When I'm lonely, when I'm sad, when I'm frustrated, when I'm overly excited (not that way, just the normal way) are when I am tempted.

I understand what St. Paul meant now by begging the Lord to remove the thorn from his side. The thorn isn't masturbation, it was the temptation. The Lord doesn't remove our temptations, He helps us deal with and overcome them but He doesn't just take them away. It's not that He wants us to sin, it's that we need Him to not. St. Paul was begging for the temptation to be taken away because it is the temptations that can often weigh us down and drag us into depression. Sinning on top of that just feels like an anchor tied to the chains. But God gave the answer to letting temptation weigh us down: "My power is made perfect in weakness". Being tempted means we are weak, means I need a savior. That means that God desires to be my Savior and pull me out of the temptations when I find myself surrounded. Once again, He pulls me out of the lion's den.

I used to get very discouraged when I'd be tempted to masturbation or even masturbate after I became engaged and especially after I was married. People had always said, "Love is the answer! Marriage is the cure!" They are the answer to masturbation, not to temptation, and the only cure for temptation is a God willing to face the lion and drag me out of its den.

A great thanks to Distracted Catholic for reminding me that I am doing a worthwhile thing by engaging in this conversation!

A little note: starting next week I will begin involvement in some blog link-ups. Very exciting. I think it's a good way to help me make sure to blog more often. The link-ups will occur on Fridays and Sundays. Why am I not starting this week? Because this week is the end of me "getting my shit together" and next week begins me "putting my shit to work". Can't wait!