to another year

37.birthday 2016

After all the birthday wishes from yesterday washed off the shores of social media, my feed was full of depressing news again. Made me wonder why I was even there, apart from hearing from friends and reposting inspiring things I find.

I was feeling disheartened by it all. There are just so many things that stress me out lately. I’m not sure if it’s because I have two jobs now, but trauma-related concerns have been more of a problem lately. On top of that are the fastballs I keep getting clocked in the face at 90mph as I try to figure out life as an adult.

The past few days though…some things would come to mind. Positive things, like having the thought that while my body isn’t the slender Asian frame I (really, my mother) wanted, it’s built for strength, and can be graceful when I control it. While having two jobs isn’t easy, it changes the game a bit, and invites me to figure out what else I can add color to my schedule with, like swimming, or going back to the dojo. Even my weaknesses serve some small purpose that’s positive; the pain I’d suffered grants me a special compassion.

As I think on things this way, I feel a bit better about life.

There was this one video that “washed up” on me feed once, about the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. The Dead Sea lives up to its name by having the highest salt content than other bodies of water, making it a place where very little sea life can live. The Sea of Galilee, however, has plenty of life, “27 species of fish, some found nowhere else in the world” according to the video. The reason for this was because while both of Israel’s seas come from the Jordan River, the Dead Sea is a stagnant basin that only collects water, and the The Sea of Galilee has water flowing out as well as in. The message was to give as well as receive to have a vivacious life; sound advice.

I felt like the Dead Sea for a while: stagnant and salty. Part of me still does, but I feel like the current is starting to move, finding those few outlets. My confessor has often advised me to “be creative” and “find a way to receive the peace God wants to give [me].” I was taking it in, but none of it was being applied. I didn’t stop to think things like “what do I like?”, “what inspires me?”, “what am I good at?” It’s like algebra, staring at the answer trying to figure out the equation. Until I decided to make some subtractions and additions, it didn’t make any sense.

What kind of subtractions and additions? Well, I had a statue of Mary “visiting” my little studio for a week, a thing our Legion of Mary does. Since then, I had a renewed interest in saying the rosary again, sure, but also for changing up how I decorated the place, finally putting paint on that big canvas I was saving; in the process, I got closer to the aquatic, peaceful, healing vibe I wanted my home to have. In the process of rearranging things, I was going to give away my unused violin to charity with some other things I didn’t need, and out of the blue this retired violinist pressed it back into my arms. Her passionate plea that I not give it up reminding me how much I loved the violin, and how I wished I knew how to play it so I can make that beautiful sound. Then I just got a card offering free martial arts lessons for 30 days (plus a gi, uniform, and a discount if I wanted to continue), opening the possibility of finally getting my black belt.

Things like this, they just started happening, seemingly out of nowhere. The guy cutting my hair yesterday told me that as one gets older, things makes more sense, because there’s further to look back, and see how it all came together okay in the end. Even the worst things in my life has possibility for good now, like this blog (hopefully) is.

God was listening, He was answering my prayers, and only now I could see how just much He has done. I wanted direction, purpose, and understanding; He put those things in my path like stepping stones. I would go the wrong way, hurt myself and isolate, but I’d eventually find that more uplifting path, sometimes years later. Now, at this point in my journey, I see this most recent road, and from here, the view is beautiful.

I’m never too happy when I hear “everything happens for a reason” given my abusive past, but I guess, I believe a little better in the similar saying, “God can make good out of anything.” It doesn’t happen at once like I thought/wanted, nor would I understand it, or even want it. God’s a gentleman though; He waits until I want it, leaving the invitation for me to take it only when I was willing.

I had that experience again today; for whatever reason, maybe with the presence of someone who hurt me quite a bit in the past, I was not at all happy to be at Mass. I dissociated and daydreamed through most of it. Then someone quite dear to me came in, and then suddenly I felt like opening up to Jesus, telling Him how I didn’t want to be there. I don’t remember what was said, but He invited me to receive Communion. Coming back from the sanctuary, I found myself suddenly crying freely, those bad feelings I was holding onto and holding back just falling from my eyes like rain. I soon felt better, and more at peace, even with that first person still there.

I’m 28 now, and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. That’s okay though; for now, I finally have a bit of wind in my sails. I didn’t have cake yesterday, so I just took my little St. Maria Goretti candle, lit it, and made a birthday wish with a little chocolate-cappuccino cake a coworker gave me today with strawberry ice cream.

I wish to be like the Sea of Galilee, a place of life, beauty, and healing.

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