The Charity of Joy


This past weekend my significant other, dance partner, little sister and her friend went to the 2015 Denver Zombie Crawl. We put a lot of thought into our costumes this year  (Nightmare Before Christmas) and headed downtown to walk around and play some games. 

We ended up not getting to participate in almost any activities because people wanted pictures of our costumes. We almost lost our table for dinner because people kept wanting pictures. By the end of the day my whole face hurt from smiling, and my nerves were nearly shot from having so many people hug me or put their arm around me. Sounds like a wash of a day, right?

But it wasn’t, and for one simple reason: Joy. The joy on the face of the girl who threw her arms around my knees and told me how excited she was to see my character. On the faces of men and women my age revelling in a childhood favorite. A parents excitement in being able to bring their kid back a picture of characters from a favorite family movie. 

I was surprised how popular our costumes were, and the Crawl may not have been what I expected, but I was grateful for the opportunity to bring joy to as many Crawl goers as I could. We talk a lot about charity of money, or charity of time in soup kitchens or church functions, but I think that this too was important: donating time to bring joy to others, regardless of background or means or age, in what little way I am capable of. It was a moment of great grace- I can’t wait to do it again. 

What joy can you bring to others in a small way this week?

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Lent 2014: Reflection


It’s always interesting to make resolutions for yourself in the hope of making yourself just a little bit better this year than last year. I always find that my Lenten resolutions end up being better for me in the long-run. Whereas with New Years I have until December to deny what I’ve failed at, or celebrate what I’ve achieved, Lent is a solid, straightforward forty days. I think it also helps to see all those constant reminders that I’m not the only one on this journey. Instead of New Years, which lives on in every radio commercial for the first two weeks of January, I’ve got constant support moments from the beginning of Ash Wednesday to the silence of Holy Saturday. It can be as sacred as Mass every Sunday and as silly and consequential as the advertisements for fish specials every Friday. Either way, I am always reminded to be grateful for my faith during this time, especially the communal rituals that are constantly giving me the support and guided reflection that I need to make myself in to the woman God made me to be.

So how did I do this Lenten season? For starters, I’m really glad that I wrote my Lenten resolves down. I find it becomes so easy over the Lenten season to simply forget or reason away the things that I wanted to achieve or wanted to try. I wanted to make sure that I was more accountable than normal, and that has definitely helped.

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As for the resolutions themselves:

1) I resolved to make time to memorize the Guardian Angel prayer and prayers of St. Rose of Lima. That ended up being a massive failure. I prayed them every morning, that’s for sure, but I didn’t get any bit of either of them memorized. I didn’t spend enough time clearing my mind first before my prayer- which in and of itself has been an illuminating experience in that I’ve realized that I’ve been doing my morning prayers in a low gear. I hope that in this burgeoning Easter season I will be more mindful of working on that.

2) Continuously forgot to add a chaplet to St. Rose on Fridays, but was pretty adamant with my continuing to pray a rosary each Sunday.  I feel like this is due to my closer relationship to Momma Mary than St. Rose. During the Easter season I will take a trip down to my parish library and perhaps check out anything I can find on the life of St. Rose to help me relate more to her and forge a better relationship between us.

3) I resolved to wear a chapel veil to mass every Sunday. That was a total success. After the initial weirdness, which was entirely born out of my own ego, I was able to swallow my pride and focus more on the Mass and the people I was supposed to be in communion with than what I looked like or how my own prayer life was going. I was actually able to say hello to strangers at Mass first, invite families to sit next to me during the Mass, and enthusiastically offer the sign of peace to people I didn’t know. I think the most interesting and surprising thing that came from me wearing the chapel veil was this inexplicable feeling that I was somehow protected from many of the fears and ticks that keep me from enjoying and participating in the mass as fully as possible. I think I stumbled across a new, highly effective coping mechanism. As a result, I am getting a second, longer veil and have committed to wearing the veil every Lent and Advent season. I was also able to connect with the generations of Catholic women in my family who wore the veil before me, which was a humbling experience that was practically swollen with love.

So, all in all I would say that this Lent has been a fruitful one. Like with all attempts to make myself a better person, it’s been a struggle and I’m sure not at the point that I want to be yet. But I do have a better idea of what I need to work on now and where I want to go with it next.

Feel free to let me know in the comments how your own Lenten journey was this year.

And now, without further ado:

He is Risen, Hallelujah! Happy Easter, everybody. I hope you all have a wonderful day full of peace, love and joy!