4:00am and I’m scrolling through Facebook like I sometimes do when I wake up too early. Occasionally I will stop to read people’s comments to various posts and I’m reminded how hateful many people are with each other.
It’s not good enough to just disagree anymore. Now it’s all about who can comeback with the most vile retort. Even when one truly feels that they are correct and have this conviction deep within, a simple “I disagree” is not good enough and they proceed to belittle the other individual because of their view on a topic.
All hope is not lost however. If you are that type of individual in the aforementioned paragraph, you too can change, but only if you realize and accept the fact that you want to change. I was that type of person for quite some time. Oh how I lived for the argument and an opportunity to put someone down for their thoughts, and for what? I didn’t like the person I was and realized that I needed change.
You’ve heard the cliche “a tiger can’t change its stripes”, but you are not a tiger, you are a human being with the capabilities of changing yourself. Sometimes change is hard but anything worth having comes with a little hardship.
How do you change? There are many ways but here are a few suggestions.
1. Steer away from posts or stories on social media that bring out anger.
2. Willpower is not your friend. Habit is the key. Do or say something kind for someone each day, everyday until it becomes a habit.
3. Remind yourself daily that you want to change and become a better, more positive person.
In a world that seems to be full of lies, deceit, and negativity, you can make that change and make a difference. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.
Every year around this time, people start to look inward and share what they are thankful for. Some do it in person and many do it through social media. It’s that time where the year is coming to an end and we look back on all the things that have taken place in the world, our country, and our lives.
This year has been a rough one to say the least. The majority of our country has been shut down since Early 2020 due to COVID-19 and that has impacted millions of Americans in one way or another. People have lost jobs, businesses, hope, and there are those who’ve died from the virus or underlying conditions with the virus added to them.
Add to that a presidential election that brought out the ugliness in many people on both sides of the aisle. Friendships ended and family feuds started or escalated all because people have forgotten how to disagree and move on.
What are your thoughts at this point of this year? Are you hopeful? Are you scared?
I think that 2020 gave us an opportunity to take a step back and be thankful for the smallest things in life, like waking up this morning. Sadly, many people have missed that message because they were too caught up in the election, or being told what to think from mainstream or social media.
Since the start of this virus, I’ve managed to keep a positive attitude, even in the face of losing our business, I remained optimistic. Months later with a new job and new challenges, I still remain optimistic. Why? For me, it’s keeping my eyes on Christ. I can’t do it all alone but as Paul says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”
What or who is it that strengthens you? Is it working? Are you content with the way your life is going?
This year, like every other year, I’m thankful for my beautiful bride, my wonderful children, family and friends. I’m also thankful for my new job and new opportunities but most of all, I’m thankful for having Jesus Christ at the center of my life because without him, none of this is possible.
May you be blessed, safe, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
For those of you who still follow this blog, I’m shocked; I’m also sorry for not being consistent with my posts. I’m hoping to change that going forward and try to post at least once a month at a minimum.
So why the hiatus? I guess you can say it’s been multiple reasons; some good, some bad, but still, there were enough to keep me distracted from my blog. 2019 like any other year, has been a year of ups and downs; mostly downs though.
Earlier in the year, I dropped out of the deacon formation program and that sent me off on a tailspin. I never wanted to drop out however, due to circumstances beyond my control, it was in my best interest and that of my family, to get out. The healing from that continues though. A few months later, one of our fellow diaconate brothers who left the program last summer took his own life. It didn’t make sense then, it still doesn’t make sense and it probably never will. The healing also continues from that event. A couple months after that, our business loses our biggest client. Another situation that was beyond my control but, it still impacts us. There have been a few other business-related matters that have risen in which we will have to wait and see what happens going forward.
Needless to say, I started therapy earlier in the year. As it has progressed and times have gotten tougher throughout the year, my therapist and doctors have been a blessing. I believe that my diagnosis is spot on and there is a plan that we’ve implemented to help me address my issues and move forward to a more normal life. Baby steps. Please, don’t ever make fun of people who are seeking help. I used to be that asshole that did that and look at me now. This world can be pretty messed up to put it lightly and there are many of us who have grown up in non-typical environments that have left us bruised, wounded and scarred. Instead of making fun of us, take the time to get to know us and listen to us, if we are willing to talk.
My faith means a lot to me. Let me rephrase that, my Catholic faith means a lot to me. Ever since coming back to the Church in 2012, my faith journey has been a roller coaster of a ride, to say the least. This year really tested that faith, especially during that first half of the year. But I trust in Jesus Christ, my God, to get me through all of this as he has done before. Even if the outcome is not how I wanted it to be, I trust that it was His will that was done and not mine and that it was for the best.
So was it all bad this year? Absolutely not. I started playing with a couple of men back in March of this year just for rest and relaxation and it turned into a group. The name of our band is Cast No Stones and if you get a chance, check us out on Facebook. We played our first show in October to a packed house at the Little Toad Creek Brewery in Silver City, NM and it was a fun night. Our next show will be a private party at the Elks Club on New Year’s Eve. Playing in the band has been a form of therapy for me as well.
I also went with a good friend of mine and saw Dream Theater for the first time in October and I was blown away. Definitely, the best show that I’ve ever been to.
I had lunch with that friend of mine that I went to the concert with and we’ve decided to launch another Catholic men’s group for our area. We have a few men who are interested in joining to see what it’s all about. We truly believe that there are many men out there in the world who are hungering for something. They are trying to fill that hunger with other things in life and finding out that they are still hungry at the end of the day. We want to lead these men and ourselves to the living bread, Jesus Christ. As scripture says, “As iron sharpens irons, so one man sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17
So I take the bad with the good and I thank God for the blessings and lessons that he has bestowed upon me this year. I had to take time to sit back and think about what I was going to say and then I remembered; mi viaje – my journey, that is what my blog is about, my life and my journey and how I wanted to share it with the world. Please keep me in your prayers and know that I’m praying for you. Until next time, buen camino.
Coming back to Jesus Christ and His Church was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I remember the tears of joy, the feeling of an enormous weight being lifted from my shoulders, the weight of sin and doubt; I finally felt free and felt loved
Over the years after coming back to my faith, I got myself involved in many ministries; I believe I was trying to find a way to make up for the lost time and for not doing what I felt that I should’ve been doing for Christ all along. I got to a point where I overdid it and got involved in too many ministries and became overburdened. Another thing that happened is that I started to notice the people involved in these ministries, and what I noticed was not good. Over pious, self-serving, self-righteous, holier than thou individuals who were in these ministries for all the wrong reasons. All of a sudden there was too much noise, far too many voices of who was right and what was right. I didn’t realize then that I couldn’t hear or see God because of the static and that my attention was elsewhere.
As I stated earlier, even I got involved for some wrong reasons, thinking that I owed Christ something for all of my wasted time. I’ve come to learn through time that I didn’t owe Christ anything. I’m sure that he was happy I, the lost black sheep, returned back to him. Remember, he also gave us the gift of free will to do what we want; to turn away from him or to turn back towards him. No matter what is going on in our lives, he is always there. “I will never forsake you or abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5
During this journey I’ve taken, I have met many people who are not the picture-perfect Catholic/Christian. Honestly, none of us are. What I’m talking about though are those individuals that I mentioned before, and then there are the supposed leaders, those who are supposed to be our shepherds, and currently, they are misleading the flock. Not all of them are bad but there are far too many who are noticeably wrong in their actions and words. When you are informing your parishioners that voting for someone who is pro-abortion is better than voting for an individual who has cheated on three of his wives, there is a serious problem there. When you admit to voting for someone who is openly pro-abortion, you have made yourself a part of their sin and are misleading your flock. When you are doing everything in your power to fast forward the agenda of the LGBTQ and use it to twist the words of Christ, you too are misleading your flock.
I’ve found myself being angry, disheartened, and depressed about my journey with Christ. Then like a rock falling on my head, (which is usually the way God has to get my attention), I realized that it is not Christ that I’m disappointed with, it is the men who are in leadership positions that are making me feel this way. I’m too focused on them and not focused enough on Christ. I’ve been focused far too much on what they are doing wrong instead of on what Christ has done right. When we place our trust in men, we will be let down for sure.
So, once again, I am at the crossroads. Which way will I go? Will I continue to fall for the foolishness of men or will I return to how I was when I first came back, like a child yearning to learn, wanting to serve Christ as best as I can? How will I do this? I really don’t know right now. Will I start another men’s group or will Christ lead me in another direction? Only God knows. One thing that I do know is that I’m tired of being angry, disheartened and depressed about my faith and I refuse to lose it! I will do my best to serve, I will do my best to let my actions speak louder than my words, and I will do my best to spread the joy of Christ with others as often as I can.
I saw this passage today which served as my inspiration for writing this. I hope that it moves you as much as it moved me. “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” 1 Corinthians 1:17.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
I don’t smile a lot or at least I never used to smile a lot. Lately though, I’ve been finding quite a few times when I just smile. When I smile, I feel happy, I feel like I’m at peace. Coming off of our last diaconate formation where we had a one day retreat, I was smiling and truly happy. I was at peace. I then went on to the Long Ride Home shoot and the smiling continued and the peace grew. And then, I returned home and started to notice the things that were stealing my peace.
John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Sometimes peace isn’t the easiest thing to find. Most of the time it is because we have to find that peace within ourselves. In such a fast paced world we tend to be stressed out with all of the things going on in our lives and what peace we have within us tends to dissipate without us even knowing. A lot of times, it is the things of the world that distract us from the true happiness and that true happiness is in Jesus Christ. For a person with depression, it’s even harder. I have bouts of depression just like most people but I’m talking about those who suffer with it daily. I know some of these people and I see the struggles that they go though. To those people I say this, “Jesus loves you! I may not know what you are feeling or understand completely but Jesus does and He loves you. Let him just hold you, embrace you and love you.”Know that I and many others are praying for you all.
In my business I get to see a lot of people daily. Some of them I see multiple times in a year because of my business. Most of them are really nice people but there are some that no matter what, they never smile. I have one in particular who I had recently and this person just doesn’t smile at all. I knew who this person even before I started my business and even then, no smile. I used to think, “man that must suck to have a life that bad that you can’t smile, say thank you, respond to have a nice day, etc, etc…..” but now I think, “how sad.” Maybe he has a good reason not to smile and be grouchy all the time but I really don’t understand how a person could go through life that way. To me, that’s no life at all.
Proverbs 15:13 A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
At some point in your life, I’m sure you too have discovered that “grumpy” person. Don’t allow that person to take away your peace or set your mood. You continue to smile and go about your day as nothing is wrong. If you are the person walking around always grumpy, then you need to make a self evaluation of why you are this way. I know because I had to do that and I still have to do it every once in a while. I’m in the middle of doing one of those self evaluations right now and I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will guide me in the right direction.
May God continue to bless you all and all that you do for His Kingdom! Viva Cristo Rey!