Lord, teach me to laugh again, but don’t ever let me forget how I cried.

I’ve lived with that quote most of my life. I first encountered it when I was six years old. It was a favorite of my mother’s. Eventually it became one of mine. Where and how I encountered it really doesn’t matter. What matters is the truth encapsulated in it. This quote has truly saturated my being, who I am. In the last 5 years, I have had enough stressors to freak out the calmest of therapists. I have lost both my parents, left a controlling group, fell down in moral degradation, soaked in a mire of self-pity and hatred, fallen in love and married, only to be unceremoniously dropped like I was worth nothing, and more.

Hindsight truly is more clear than the sight of present and future. I remember going through RCIA very well. I remember our faith formation leader, Jon, holding up a bible and saying, “This book, is God’s plan of salvation for you, me and the whole world.” With that frame of mind I look and begin to see hints of God, Christ, His mother, and the Holy Spirit slowing working me.  The entire time, I’ve been malleable clay.  Even when I have thought I was in complete rebellion, and full flight from reality, God has been carrying me to a different place.  A place of trust, service, and holiness.  Even now, even understanding just a fraction, it is not easy or comfortable.

As always, people see the progress before I ever do.  I am grateful for that.  It helps keep me humble.  It keeps me grateful.  I truly believe that gratitude is an action.  I am grateful for the Sacrifice Christ has made for me.  Because of that, I honor His sacrifice frequently.  I am grateful for the Church, so I contribute to her regularly.  I am grateful for people in my life.  Therefore, I strive daily to serve, if only in a small way.  These little things have slowly amassed into something beautiful.  Me, an integrated human.  Who really would have thunk it?

For years, I craved discipline.  Now I have a little.  It gets me where I need to be, and keeps me focused on taking care of my body, mind, and spirit.  I am not perfect…not by a long shot.  I fall and fail miserably with regularity.  Thank you, Jesus, for the sacrament of reconciliation.  I can come broken and hurt, a sinner, and find comfort.

Some days I laugh, only because I don’t want to cry anymore.  Some days I laugh, because I don’t want either of us to cry anymore.  I do my best to remember where I have come from.  In so many ways, I do not want to go back to that in my life.  I like simple.  I like kindness.  I am even starting to really like boredom.

Somethings are hard to share.  Think about it.  How many times have we heard that, “A pain shared is a pain lessened.” Or, “Talk about it, it will take the power out of it.”  This is true not only of negative or painful things is our life.  This is true of every good thing as well.  I hesitate.  I don’t want what I have discovered to lose its power in my life. Jesus.  Thankfully, His power is as endless as His mercy.

That is my challenge to myself and others who read this blog.  Share those things you are most grateful for with somebody…anybody…everybody.  Whether it is a top ten list of things you are grateful for, or a simple special thing…share it.  Share it here, share it on Facebook.  Share it with friends and family.  Hell, share it with a complete stranger.  Don’t hesitate and don’t over think it, just share.  I will work on mine and post it here on the day before Thanksgiving.

Your friend in Christ,