Posts Tagged ‘Life’

I recently read an article on the National Catholic Register website about what Fr. Dwight Longnecker calls “wood-chopping therapy.” After visiting a parishioner who he felt was over-worried and anxious about life, his brother suggested that the parishioner needed a good dose of wood-chopping therapy. He, the brother, had recently come home feeling angry and frustrated about something, but after chopping wood for awhile in the back yard, he felt restored of mind and spirit.

Fr. Longnecker interprets his brother’s suggestion as a case study in St. Benedict’s rule to combine prayer and work, ora et labora, to lead a contented, balanced life. St. Benedict mandated that his religious brothers engage in chores throughout the day and that these chores be, whenever possible, physical chores. He too knew of the restorative power of physical labor.

After reading that article, I was craving some wood-chopping therapy. My school day ended somewhat lousily today, and nothing I told myself in my head made any difference. Nothing stuck. I knew that the problem wasn’t in my mind, but rather in my body.

Seeing as how I live in an apartment in a large metropolitan area, however, chopping wood is easier said than done. I went for a walk, hoping to take care of some of the edginess. I was unrelieved. I prayed, simply, for some wood-chopping before the day was through.

Earlier this week, I had arranged to pick up a used sofa from a friend and co-worker. It was a large, heavy sofa with a mattress inside. “Will we be able to carry this?” I asked, referring more to myself than my friend.

After some vein-popping fun, the couch finally made it into the apartment. But before it even got out of the door of his, I knew this was God’s answer to my prayers for a chance to chop wood this evening. The job done, I felt restored to a degree of mental clarity. My lousy day wasn’t so confusing anymore, and I could see things a bit more clearly.

If you need any wood chopped, let me know.


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This weekend I was reading a reflection from Praying with St. Paul at breakfast.  The author, Fr. James Martin, S.J., remarked that “God takes delight in you!” and that in little ways, God shows us that he likes us, that he takes delight in us.

When I showed up to run the 5K at St. Richard’s this weekend, I stopped in quickly to get my registration materials, number, and t-shirt.  This is what I found inside:

scan0002Yes, that’s right, I had been given the number one as my race number.  I felt pretty special.

Then, later that day, I received this card from my eight-year-old brother in the mail.  It was perfect.

scan0003Well, that pretty much sums it up.  Thanks, God.

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Thoughts on Survival

I recently discovered this article on CNN.  I think it was part of their lead-up to the 9/11 coverage.  I found it very interesting what they said about the research done on those who survive a traumatic event or disaster.  no doubt some of this this research can even be apploied to our daily struggles.

Researchers who studied survivors found that they:

They survive because they’re humble, Gonzales says. They know when to rest, when they shouldn’t try something beyond their capabilities, when it’s wise to be afraid.
“Humility can keep you out of trouble,” Gonzales says. “If you go busting into the wilderness with the attitude that you know what’s going on, you’re liable to miss important cues.”
So, surivors tend to take small steps.  They are prudent, wise and cautious.  This wisdom is certainly seconded throughout the Christianity.  Survivors also:
“These are people who tend to have a view of the world that does not paint them as a victim,” he says. “They’re not whiners who are always complaining about the bad things that are happening to them and expecting to get rescued.”
Survivors take charge of their situation.  Their not stupid about it, but they make decisions for themselves and act on them.  I have been pondering this second point in light of Christianity.  I think it especially makes sense when you think of taking charge in terms of courage.  These decisions are usually not easy ones.  Finally, survivors:
Survivors also pay attention to their intuition, Gonzales says. If something tells them that the mountain isn’t safe to climb that day, they’ll back out even if they’ve planned the trip for months, he says.
Survivors also shared another trait — strong family bonds. Many reported they were motivated to endure hardships by a desire to see a loved one, Gonzales says.
The first is mere human instinct, but I think it pays to pay attention to your gut.  The second is certainly human; but ratified throughout Chrisitian thought
Sometimes, we have to survive the minute strugles of our own lives.

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