Today, Bobby and I went on my kind of date. We saw The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on the big screen. And I mean BIG. The XD theater… and I loved it! I missed it when it first came to the theaters, because I was breastfeeding around the clock and taking care of three children four and under. Seeing it reminded me that I have a blog to which I haven’t posted anything since the last time I saw this movie. The photo above shows one of my favorite scenes when Sam (of my blog post title) says, “Come, Mr. Frodo! I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” I’ve got to read these books!
Speaking of books, this Lent I’ve been reading a couple. I’m daily plugging away with Consecration to St. Joseph and following along with videos by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC. And I’ve begun reading a book I got for free some time ago, and have always wanted to read, called Discernment of Spirits by Fr. Timothy Gallagher, OMV. The motivation to read it now, came from my signing up (and attending) a retreat on the Theology of the Body Institute led by the author, along with Christopher West. Also, my fascination with St. Ignatius was rekindled by reading Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus with the girls during school.
So here I am, filled with delight and enthusiasm for embarking on a literature study of The Lord of the Rings, or a methodical education in Theology of the Body. I’m committed to learning more about Christ’s Passion on Fridays, very curious about something called the Flame of Love devotion, and thinking that learning the practice of discernment of spirits would really come in handy. Add to this a feeling of obligation to finish searching for the perfect counter stools to complete our kitchen remodel, and to find blinds and hang up holders in my newly painted bathroom. But after spending three hours and twenty minutes with the virtuous heroes of Middle Earth, online shopping feels so lame and unimportant.
There are many things I can do with my time. I am willing and able to work and I have faith that God will give me the grace to persevere. But first, I’ll need to get my priorities straight. What is God asking me to do? Obviously, I don’t have the answer at this moment. Hopefully, he’ll let me know and ask me to blog about it soon.
It’s good to be reminded of the beauty of surrendering, and of the futility of hanging on to my own will.
Whaaat??!! What a difference a day makes. Why, only yesterday I was…
Let me start from the beginning.
I don’t know when it started, but I know was on a media binge. I had been reading loads of articles on my phone, and I spent a large part of Wednesday afternoon watching inauguration festivities. I don’t think I’ve ever watched one before, but for some reason I thought this one might be historically significant like 9/11 or 476 AD, so I watched it live. There were beautiful buildings. I love the architecture and hope I can see it in person someday. But the events were rather dull except for the commentary, which disturbed me more and more the longer I listened to it. I went out to adoration, prayed the rosary and talked with some friends which made me feel a little better.
Later that night, I continued to “feed” on news headlines, articles, and videos. So and so calls for such and such…
Yesterday morning, I woke up and “consumed” an article recalling the events of 2020. Then I indulged in a heaping plate of anger, with a side dish of self-pity. (I’m going all the way with this eating analogy.) I let my feelings pour out with God. I had a lot of questions, and a few requests. Maybe you could call them demands. “Why?” I was whining. “Explain this to me.” I was murmuring. (Like those crazy Israelites who forgot that God just parted the Red Sea.) I was emotional. And I’m grateful that I feel my feelings today. That wasn’t always the case. But I know from experience, that holding onto anger is no good for me or anyone around me. I went to morning Mass and began to look at my part in this situation.
Throughout the day, some truth came to mind but a sadness remained. I fluctuated from thinking of what behaviors I could change, to not accepting what I cannot change. Besides the obvious fact that a media binge is a bad idea, and the fact that I continue to support businesses that I don’t think I should be supporting, I also thought of Mary. I don’t know a lot about her apparitions, but I think she always says to pray the rosary daily. I’m really inconsistent with it. I have prayed it for years, then stopped for years. I’ll do a novena (even the 54 day ones) when I’m desperate, then stop again after she comes through to help me. I’m pretty sure when she appeared in Fatima that she said to pray it daily or Russia’s errors would spread. I’ve seen this happening. Why haven’t I been praying it? It’s only 15-20 minutes of my day.
Bobby and I have been doing our annual (in January) Lord of the Rings movie marathon. As I was vacuuming, I imagined that I felt like Sam in The Return of the King (SPOILER ALERT) when he knows Gollum is up to something, and he accuses Gollum of taking the bread. Then Gollum twists it around by accusing Sam of taking it, and with lies, tricks Frodo into believing him. Sam gets really angry, but when Frodo says, “No Sam, it’s you.” and “Go home.” Sam cries. So I guess I felt like that. Like crying.
While I was mopping the floor, I listened to some of this Taylor Marshall podcast. He talked a bit about God chastising us. He said that a good father does this to discipline his children. I’ll admit that I’ve thought of this idea before. I haven’t concluded that this is what is happening, but it’s a good possibility. It reminded me of Chapter 4 from Uniformity with God’s Will. I love the whole thing, but especially this chapter. (Audio here)
Here is the wording on chastisements:
Even chastisements come to us, not to crush us, but to make us mend our ways and save our souls: “Let us believe that these scourges of the Lord have happened for our amendment and not for our destruction.”
So that may have helped get me off the pity pot. “God wills our good” always helps. And I may have let a tear(s) fall (SPOILER ALERT) when Frodo said good-bye to Sam at the harbor.
Sam is a model of perseverence. I want to be like Sam. Frodo wouldn’t have gotten far without Sam. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) So last night I deleted my facebook account. And this morning, when the alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. I got out of bed. And I prayed, journaled, and did some spiritual reading. The girls and I attended morning Mass. And during my lunch break I read and journaled until I was at the place I was at the beginning of this post. I think it’s natural to feel angry or sad. But I don’t want to feel bad for myself. Having a temper tantrum will not do anyone any good. I want to be brave, like Sam, and to not give up when life seems scary or difficult. And I want to mend my ways. So I surrender. I know cannot do anything without God’s help. And I don’t want to think I know what’s best.