Here is an awesome article about overcoming sins of the tongue. Even us introverts can be very guilty about this. I love and crave silence, but that doesn't mean I don't have inner noise. At the same time, that doesn't mean I don't sin in my words also. Lord, have mercy.
Speaking of loving silence and being introverted, Susan Cain, author of Quiet, wrote an interesting article here about our personalities as we age. Do you ever feel more introverted or extroverted with age? It turns out that in our younger years, most of us are more extroverted overall because of the biological tendency to be seeking a mate and "putting ourselves out there." As we age, we settle in more to our natural personalities and tendencies, become more emotionally stable, and sometimes more pronounced in our introversion/extroversion.
While I love people, I am an introvert at heart, although it oddly took me years to figure that out. My growing up family did not exactly value introversion. On the one hand, if my parents hadn't pushed me, I might be afraid to speak to people. On the other hand, it was not "okay" in their eyes to not be a "people person." As a pastor's kid and also with some narcissism in our household, there was this mindset that we had to appear one way to the outside world and put forth a certain image. Part of it was also an attempt to convert people to Christianity. In college, I constantly put myself in very extroverted situations - performing music, giving campus tours, being a freshman orientation leader. Later in my twenties I worked as a college recruiter/admissions counselor. I met with strangers constantly on campus as well as in travel. While it was draining on some level, I also enjoyed it. That interaction is one thing I miss in my current job...even though I'm an introvert.
I moved to one of the largest cities in the US a few years ago (where I currently live). The constant flux of people in traffic, work, every store you visit, every activity you do outside the home, whether it's grocery shopping or church attendance, is quite draining to me as an introvert. Even if I don't interact directly with all these people on the bus or in the store, I find the hustle and bustle of the big city to have its own quirky effects on my introverted personality.
What do you think? Have you gotten more introverted or extroverted over time? Are you married to someone who is opposite of you? Do you find big cities taxing on your introverted soul? Did you, like me, miss a call to the life of a hermit?
Here is an awesome article about not giving into despair. With our world the way it seems lately, it's easy to despair. I recently heard a podcast on the Catholic Commute about the three cardinal virtues: faith, hope, and love. His point was that most of us struggle primarily with one of those three, while to some degree, we all struggle with all three. I'm pretty sure that I struggle with hope the most, as I am prone to despair. I didn't even know it was a sin for a long time! Growing up Calvinist, despair and the wringing of hands were commonplace when we evaluated our world. I somehow internalized the message that despair and self-hatred were holy. Now I know that hope is a virtue, one I seek to cultivate.
I have to say, after the Orlando shootings, not only was the event itself devastating, but the reaction in the culture was equally devastating to me. This article by Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble was one of the best responses I have seen.
"I pray for anyone who uses the media to promote violence, including any kind of petty division and animosity toward those we perceive to be our ideological opponents."
"Will this tragedy move us to become more like Omar Mateen or more like Christ?"
As a classically trained musician, it was heartwarming to see this article about a priest who uses his piano skills to relate to people, much like others would use sports. I wax nostalgic for the days in which everyone had a basic music education, could read music (such as a hymn), and in which a piano was in most middle-class homes.
It seems the Pope has made yet another controversial statement by saying that most Catholic marriages are likely null. I have to say, if our marriage preparation was any indication of the typical Catholic marriage preparation across the US, then he is probably right. It was abysmal.
We took a personality test, which had wildly inaccurate results for us, and reviewed it with a non-therapist over several weeks. We attended a one day-long workshop with a minimal discussion on issues such as finances, sex, extended family/in-laws, religion, etc. with input from a non-therapist facilitator, a married couple, and a priest.
If it weren't for the fact that I had dated my husband off and on for seven years before we married, and for the fact that we had been going through a reputable couple's relationship book and workbook on our own (at the recommendation of a licensed therapist), and the fact that I was seeing a therapist due to my family's rejection of our marriage and my Catholicism, and the fact that my husband came from a very stable, loving home, and the fact that we (on our own) sought out and attended sessions about NFP, Theology of the Body, and Natural Law all before getting marriage...then, I fear we would have no tools going into our marriage and be another statistic.
I remember looking around the room during the one-day workshop and wondering which of us would make it, and which of us would not. I feel too young to already know people who have been divorced and remarried. And yet, with the lack of Catholic marriage preparation we received and the way our culture is, I understand why many marriages fail, or why they are deemed "null" in the first place. Maybe there are more annulments now because more people really do not know what they are getting into and how to fulfill their vows.
If the marriage of a man and a woman is a profound mystery, a union that mirrors the love of Christ for the Church, it is no wonder that it is so messed up. It's a prime target for the enemy, and we have few examples of long, loving, healthy relationships.
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.
This mystery is profound,
but I am speaking about Christ and the church."
~ Ephesians 5:31-32 ~
I'm doing a novena to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. So powerful! I'd never seen this image before.
Pray for us!