Saturday, November 21, 2009

An update, with gratitude

I've just finished my first week in a job that I have been planning for the greater part of this year, if not longer. I'm mentally exhausted, which I keep reminding myself is totally normal after the first week of a job. It was an interesting week and I just need to say that I am so deeply grateful that I have this Saturday morning to myself, to sit in my bed with a strong smooth cup of Starbucks Christmas Blend, listening to the wind and rain outside my window while I am sat snug in my bed, recording my thoughts.

When I think back to all of the obstacles that came in the way of me making it to where I am today, I am reminded that there have been so many people who have been instrumental in getting me here. My old boss, my new boss, my friends here, my mom and dad, my siblings (for the most part), and even all the faceless officials that kept me humble. I can't forget them at this time, and I'm going out of my way to send Christmas cards to them this year, something that I have always been a bit neglectful of doing.

I am grateful to be where I am and see that the work that I put into this year has evolved as good as expected, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to contribute.

I am grateful for the timing that brought me back here when I did, finding a house that feels like a home, with people that I sense I can trust.

I am grateful that the people that I work with have been so genuinely supportive and welcoming. Since I will be spending so much time with them, it makes all the difference in the world to feel comfortable in that setting.

Now, I just can't wait to see where this road leads. One of my roommates is an attractive young Englishman who happens to be on a trip at the moment, deciding the fate of his relationship with his long-time, long-distance girlfriend. This could have big implications for our relationship, as I sense at least a lusty attraction there, as well as mutual interests as far as activities go.

Then there is my boss, a strong, radiant woman, with a strong and impressive career who found the love of her life a bit later than expected. She's now taking a leave so that she can focus on having a baby through IVF. She has thus far been unsuccessful, but is now going to try and see if work stress has been a factor. I wish her the best and I do hope that she conceives!

That leaves me with my acting boss, who is somewhere in Africa for the next couple of weeks. My first impressions of him were very positive, with a natural chemistry. He also is very well-liked and respected for his wit, intelligence, approachability, and hard work ethic. I do believe we also share a similar ideology when it comes to the work we are doing.

All in all, I think this is a very good step in the right direction. I have to continue to rely on prayer to direct me and not let my exhaustion get the best of me. The first week was tough, but I'll step into it. It does take a few months sometimes, but I see this rolling out in a exciting direction.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And lead me not into temptation...

Last week I went to Confession for the first time in over a year. I have been meaning to go for awhile, literally months, but I've obviously not made it enough of an effort. I do take it very seriously, so part of me not going was due to the fact that preparing for it can be draining and exhausting if one truly does a thorough examination of conscience.

Regardless, last week I was led to the Confession booth following a dream in which I was preparing for death. It was a profound and deeply moving dream, one that I woke up thinking about, making a mental note not to forget it so that I could consider its meaning. In my dream, right before I awoke I was lying down, peacefully approaching death. I was mixed with strong mortal panic of crossing to the other side, balanced by a flood of peace and desire to go and meet with God. In short, I was strongly experiencing both the love and fear of God throughout my soul.

So I decided that meant I should go confess my sins and get right with God. And I did.

As part of my statement of contrition, the priest said to ask God to help me not to sin anymore. And he said that I should repeat that every night. (Of course, I can't remember the exact prayer line now but...that's not an excuse). And it dawned on me - of course! I knew that I have sinned and had been repeating the same sins. So how simple is it to ask God to simply help me not to do (X) anymore?!

It makes sense, when you think of the perfectly constructed 'Our Father' prayer. "And lead me not into temptation". Duh! I tended to always focus on the "Thy will be done" part, thinking that made me humble because I truly wanted to experience God's great plan for my life rather than my own. But I conveniently neglected to consider that maybe all of these times when I led myself into situations where I might be tempted to break God's commandments, I might have had help walking away if I had taken those words to heart, and simply asked God not to let it happen.

Sure enough, that very day I remembered a "white lie" I had told that had just slipped out, and I really didn't want to retract it at this point. I knew that I was wrong, I wasn't sure why I had said it in the first place because it was so irrelevant and superficial, but still, I didn't want the person to whom I had told it to think that I was a liar. So, I asked God not to put me in a situation where I would have to confront this lie, and knowing me, probably tell another, and another, in order to weasel my way out. Well, that was a week ago, and it appears that that little incident is in the past. How good and gracious of God to protect His little sinner like that!

But it truly is a lovely new focus for me: asking God not to lead me into temptation. I am weak. Really, truly weak, and I know that sinful behaviour easily becomes a habit.