The majority of my life, I have lived it in the northern Hemisphere in the great state of Louisiana on the central west side. Thanksgiving Day always holds a very special place in my heart because it normally fell close to my mom’s birthday. I love my mom to bits. She was an amazing cook! Thanksgiving is a special time to be with family and friends. Any North American can identify with this wonderful holiday. It doesn’t matter if you are from Canada or the USA, you know what Thanksgiving is all about. The only difference is if you are Canadian you celebrate in October and if you are a native of America (USA), you celebrate it the 4th Thursday in November. Another special thing about Thanksgiving is that the two sisters I grew up with both married fellas whose birthdays also fall around this special day. Glenn was on the 25th of November and Eric is on the 28th which means this year is the actual day he shares it with the holiday.
When I first moved to Australia, I would still celebrate this holiday inviting friends over who didn’t quite get the special day. They didn’t really like the way I did the sweet potatoes with marshmallows but they ate politely. This year, I didn’t do a big Thanksgiving meal. I didn’t invite anyone over but I often think of my family across the world. As I type this blog, they are getting ready to get together and celebrate. They will watch the parades, eat turkey and football (not soccer or rugby but gridiron as the Aussie’s term American football). I will be with them in spirit and try to call.
It’s sort of strange trying to explain something that I grew up with to friends here. Adam gets it but we always seem to get each other. I always say I was made for him and vice versa. It is like trying to explain mate-ship or Anzac Day to Americans who would just have to experience it for themselves. Some people still might not get it which is what I found when I try explaining Thanksgivings Day to Australians. They get it but not quite.
Also, when I first started celebrating Thanksgiving in Australia, I would do it on Thanksgiving day Australia time but then I thought maybe I should do it on the actual day that Americans do because I would have the dinner on the same day as my family. I know this might seem strange to some that I was so wish-washy about it. It was also easy for people that I invited over to come over on the Friday instead of the Thursday. It just made sense to me.
I am not feeling the best which is another excuse but I don’t see a point in doing a huge meal when it’s just me and Adam. We took our dogs to the beach and enjoyed our companionship. I feel like I had an epiphany yesterday, which was my mom’s birthday (27th). I had been struggling with something for the longest time inside of me. I thought I had given it up long ago but I had a dream.
In this dream, I came to realize that I don’t need anyone’s approval to proclaim the Good News. I had felt the Lord had draw me towards Evanglisation when I was living in St. Marys. I went to classes to learn more and wanted to contribute more. I was well on my way to do this because I had finished a course on St Paul and it was as if the scales on my own eyes on my feeling of unworthiness fell away and I could see the greatest potential God wanted for me. I just got side tracked is all. Someone asked me a question about something and I was honest with my answer. This person was the one who I looked up to and felt mentored by. It was after my honest answer, that I was instructed that I could not teach for the School of Evangelisation because I needed to do something which I felt was unnecessary. She let me do more menial things. I could lead songs and write a piece for the newsletter but actually talk in front of people…. it just wasn’t allowed. I wasn’t worthy enough in her eyes. My dream though had a mixture of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in it and my own mother and they told me that if I felt the need to speak the truth about Him there was nothing to stop me. I didn’t need a sanction from the church to do God’s work. I just had to be lead by the Holy Spirit.
God has a way if you are open to Him. It may not be the way you may have ever imagined but if He wants you to do something, you will do it with His guidance on His time table not yours.
I am thankful for the opportunities the Lord has put my way. I know I am not perfect but I strive to love like He does, with acceptance and compassion. Lots of forgiveness and openhearted, with anticipation of what He has in store for me. He has given me a unique family and some very wonderful friends (Shauny G and Bishop Eddie Tatro, and Rachie from WordPress a huge hug too from me). I will try and give thanks not just because it’s Thanksgivings Day but because He has given me another day to simply BE!
If you don’t believe in God, that’s ok. He still believes in you. I know how silly it may seem to an unbeliever. I am not writing this to chastise the unbeliever but to maybe give them a clue about why I so fervently believe in God. I can thank Kozo Hattori for this blog because his post on 15 September started me on this train of thought. He posed a question about first memories of God and wanted comments but what I have to say will eventuate into a blog all on it’s own.
I was raised Roman Catholic. My very first memories were of going to church with my family. I am closest to my sisters Judy and Margaret because we were raised together. Michele, Aggie, Roberta, and Chuck were out of the house by the time we moved to Louisiana. Kevin left us when I was about 5 years old. He got married I think when I was 11. I know the month was June of 1978. I feel closest to him brother wise even though it’s been almost 30 years since I have seen him face to face. I feel as if I am digressing but I also feel this is sort of pertinent to understanding me.
We three girls were more than sisters. We still are close friends and confidants. We feel quite comfortable having discussions about God and spirituality. We could also thank our mom for this too because God was always the center of her world, followed by us and dad.
One of my first memories of God I was outside on Vernon Lake Road in our front yard playing with Judy. I am not sure about my age. I could have been three or five. We were just talking about all sorts of things. I know it was before I ever went to kindergarten. We were looking at a caterpillar. Judy was saying that it was going to turn into a butterfly one day. I looked up at the sun closing my eyes feeling the warmth of it. Seeing the images of Judy’s face and the caterpillar in all the different colours I had an aha moment. I thought about the creator, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit because that is what I was taught. It’s hard to put these sensations into words because it is hard to remember exactly but the residual is He is real. He created everything.
As the years go by and I get older, sometimes doubt creeps in. It’s at these moments when the doubt seems to stifle the feelings of wonder of God, I get little reminders of how special this world is and everything that is in it. We take things for granted. I hold on to the inner child I have and try to let her out a lot. I love those aha moments when they come. I share them a lot on WordPress.
Throughout my spiritual journey, I have often gone to courses where I have had these aha moments. I know I am being called to being a really big work that I have already shared on my blog about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. One day, I hope to have started one or help start one. I am struggling with self-doubt but I know one day I will make it happen. I do believe that we are lucky to start out as little children full of wonder and awe because compared to God we are just little children. He is always there with us even when we think we are all alone. He sends special people to us in our most dire times to help us on our journey of life. We might think things will turn out one way. The reality of the situation may be even beyond what we ever expected.
Little children are wise. They are believers in magic. We all have magic inside ourselves. Children seem to see more than us so called adults. We can learn lots of things by being with little children. They can make us see more aha moments than we ever thought we could see for ourselves.
Thank you Kozo, and Jett for sharing your thoughts on God. It was a true pleasure listening to your wisdom! To listen to the pearls of wisdom given by the Hattori family please use this link: http://everydaygurus.com/2013/09/15/god-is-in-your-poop-and-pee/
This morning I came to a huge realization about myself. It seems to me that in this life, we often find ourselves in roles. Some people are natural-born leaders. Others are great followers but what happens to those who fall in between the cracks.
I think that I am the filler. I have always fallen into this role. It’s a role that I do pretty well. I know in high school, I always wanted to sing first soprano but my choir teacher noticed how blendable my voice was. I had tried out for the special choir and got placed in it but my role there was not to be first soprano but to be second soprano, or first alto whenever there was a need for the voice. When I expressed my disappointment about not being first soprano, my teacher explained to me that there are a lot of people who have voices that stick out but it is very rare to have a voice that blends so well.
My very first job that I went for in the states was at a resort. I applied to become a waitress but I was selected to do housekeeping. I hate housekeeping but I actually began to excel at that job. By the time I had finished, I was able to clean and restock 4 condos for the resort and filled in one day at the hotel where I was working. It was really interesting to see the inner workings of a resort.
When I moved to Florida with my ex, I ended up becoming a checkout chick at a grocery store. I then worked my way helping the front end with supervising the other cashiers when the front end manager went to lunch which granted me another opportunity to fill in as an office clerk which was something I thought would really like to do. It was a challenging role. I loved being able to interact with the customers at the service desk, as well as check out and in tills for the cashiers. I normally did the closing shift but I also knew how to open the store as well. It was bittersweet when I left the job. I had been toying with the idea of applying for front end manager but we moved back to Louisiana so I could be closer to my mom.
The next job I had been as a teacher’s aide/driver for my brother-in-law at the time who needed a substitute since his teacher’s aide was ill. I hoped I would get the job if she retired. He didn’t promise me the role but I prayed about it a lot. I ended up learning how to read Grade 2 braille but I have lost the skill because I haven’t been using it. The old adage if you don’t use it you lose it strikes a chord with me. I am pretty sure though, if I wanted or practiced with it, I could do it relearn it over again. When his teacher’s aide retired, I took the teacher’s aide test, passed, and was asked if I would like the position which I jumped at. I loved working with the students, driving, and it was never a boring day.
When I moved to Australia, I ended up volunteering at RBS now known as Vision Australia with Adam who was working in the Art Union Office. I worked in different areas so when I was offered a pay position at the Equipment Resource Centre, I couldn’t believe my luck. I had been applying for different paid positions at times but never got selected. I was pretty happy with that role too. It was only casual but it was fun. I learned how to use another finance program, had lots of variety, and helped with inventory. The other person who was working there retired. There was a restructure, change in the person managing the area, and I applied for the job when it was made available hoping I would get it. Everybody that I knew thought I was a shoe in. I went in to the interview, was nervous but I thought for sure that I would still get the job because I already knew the way the Centre worked but I didn’t get the job. The manager said I couldn’t demonstrate equipment correctly. For some reason, I was not selected and I suppose I should have fought the decision. There was a part of me that was crushed. We were going overseas to visit my family. I didn’t apply for work again for 10 years.
Now with Adam’s perseverance and prodding I am out back in the workforce. I am now doing temp work which I like a lot. I am meeting new people. I am learning new things and honing skills that I have. I find that I am enjoying being out and about. I can’t believe I sold myself short for so bloody long. I have lots to offer. I like being able to fill roles for my employers. I would love to find a permanent job but these temp jobs that I am doing are helping me regain confidence that I had forgotten I should have. Maybe one day, I will find a role and when I fill it, they won’t want me to go.
I enjoy being the filler. I like the challenges that I come across. I am finding another voice that I haven’t used in a time. I sort of feel like I have been in a cocoon of sorts. I am emerging feeling brand new. So what I am not the outer part of the sandwich. I am in an important role. I am the filler. I hope you are filled with love, peace, and hope.
Life is a journey. Where it takes you depends all on your outlook and adaptability. Let me take you on a little journey that I am struggling with and that is doubt. I believe in God but that doesn’t mean that I don’t doubt at times. I believe that there is such a thing as free will. God loves us so much that He wants us to love Him back but He wants us to do it willingly. He loves us unconditionally and wants us to love Him back the same way.
I was raised Roman Catholic. I try to do the right thing. I strive to do better but I fail more often than succeed. I have gone to bible studies. I have attended spiritual conferences and formation seminars. I strive to let the light of God shine through me but lately I have felt like a failure. I feel unworthy yet I want to do something that I feel so strongly about which I think God is calling me to do but I keep backsliding.
There is nothing wrong with doubt. When I was doing training for my certificate three in scripture teaching for the Diocese of Parramatta I learned that it is only natural.
If we fail to question, [then] our faith cannot leaven our everyday life and we do not meet God in the ordinary events. Gerard Hughes God Where Are You?p. 73.
There was a lot of soul-searching in that course but I have to confess, everyday I do soul-searching. I don’t mind at all because I like to think if I am not searching, trying to change and be open to the person I am suppose to be; I am not evolving into the person God wants me to be.
Then I wonder if I am rushing things trying to do things as I want and not as God wants. I keep telling myself that I have to do things and remember that if it’s meant to be, it will be in God’s time. It’s this see-saw that keeps me in the back slide.
I need to persevere and remember that adage I made up in that course when I had to fill in the line which said Faith is like…
Faith is like an ocean tide with its highs and lows but it is always there.
Where there is faith; there is also doubt. It is with hope that I also walk by.
By the end of the course I came to this conclusion. God is love. Where there is love, there is God. The calling that God has for me is still growing inside me. I just need to find others who hear this calling to help me along this journey.