I Grieve

Martin Hudáček’s sculpture entitled “Memorial for Unborn Children

Martin Hudáček’s sculpture entitled “Memorial for Unborn Children

SUNDAY, MAY 3:40PM

Before reading this post please listen to The Song “I Grieve” By Peter Gabriel. You can listen to it while you read my blog as it will open in a separate tab.  This song as it embodies the emotions that I am experiencing.  It captures the moment of my life that I am living, right now.  The lyrics are so perfect…  There is something beautiful and something so raw about embracing life even when it means that we embrace the intensity of suffering, sadness and grief.

I am working through my emotions as I experience this miscarriage by journaling here on my blog.  I have a hard time with allowing myself to cry, to feel.  It is easier to numb myself.  I have become quite good at.  When I wrote the last two posts the flood gates opened in a way that I realized I needed.  I only realized it after I opened to feeling the pain. It almost seems like I am not supposed to be grieving.  Some of the questions I get like “how far along are you” is just code for “your not far enough along to be so upset.”

I was almost ready to numb myself through this but then I realized that I really am hurting and if I don’t face into that hurt it is going to come out sideways.  It always does.   Rather than stay in denial, or turn to anger as a means to control my pain,  I am choosing to embrace the pain that comes from feeling everything, talking about it and processing it in the moment.  It hurts.  I still find I cannot stay in the moment with my feelings and allow myself the grief that is just below the surface because life does go on, and on and on and on.  My children need me, my house has chores and there is work to be done.  I keep having to push down the sadness and disappointment and grief.

I will keep updating this one post as I document the process of losing Kolbe.  If you are just happening upon this blog post then you can read the first two posts by clicking the links.  The first one, “I’m Having a Miscarriage” and “Deep Sorrow”  will get you up to speed and I will put headers of the day and or times of the new entries…

Where am I at right now? Well, this image helps to make that clear. Right now I am angry at my body and I feel very alone.

baby miscarriage

I am angry with my body for failing to protect this precious little person. I feel alone because not everyone sees a miscarriage as the loss of a child.  Instead it seems to be viewed as the way the body discards babies that were possibly genetically inferior and “for the best.”  I don’t know why I am miscarrying but I do know that the reality is that I am losing a baby.

So where am I at in the process today? I am still waiting. I have a terrible back-ache, I am cramping but as of right now I am still waiting for my body to complete this process it seems to have committed itself to.  There is light spotting of pinkish brown mucus. It  reminds me of when I would go into labor. The first stage was losing the mucus plug.   It was so exciting to see that process begin  because it meant the long wait to have a baby was finally going to be over.  It signaled that very soon, a baby would be placed into my arms.  It signaled that a process was starting.  It was a sign indicating that a process had begun in which the result would be my child leaving my body.

It means the same thing today but there is no joy in it for me.   There is only grief.  So I will walk into that.  I will grieve.

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Hell Is Proof That God Loves Us

sign heaven hellThe fact that hell exists is proof of God’s love.  Without a choice to go to hell there is no free will, there are no choices, there is no love.  If there was not a hell, then God could not honor our choice to reject Him.  Hell makes choosing God possible, without there is no choice.  If there were not a choice to go to hell we would be animals, without choice, relying on our instincts to dictate our lives.

Does God pre-destine a soul to go to hell? The short answer is no.   According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church Predestined means that we are selected for divine adoption by an eternal decree of God (Eph 1:4). “Predestination is a mystery revealed but not fully understood; what we know for certain is that God is free to act as he chooses (Ps 135:6) and man is free to accept or reject his blessings (Rom 2:6-8; Sir 15:11-13). No one is predestined by God for eternal damnation” (CCC 1037).

hell

Predestined and predetermined are two different things.  We are in fact predestined for heaven.  The old Baltimore Catechism says this about why God created us: “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.”  This goes against the argument that some protestants have used to say God predestines some people to go to hell and there is nothing they can do to change it.  They believe that some people are  chosen and brought into existence for this purpose, to go to hell.  This is false.  God does not desire it nor does He bring into being a person so he can then “send” them to hell.

It is a person’s free will that destines a person for hell.  God’s gift of free will allows each person to choose heaven or hell.  There are two choices really.  “I am a handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to they word” as Mary said or “Not my will but thine be done” as Jesus said.  The alternative is  “I will not serve” which was the response of Lucifer.

cartoon

So how is one to understand how a person is “predetermined” to go to hell? When we understand the immaculate conception we understand predetermined. Why is this? Because the Immaculate Conception reveals the very timelessness of God.  God is outside of time and space.  God applied the graces merited by Jesus Christ on the cross and applied it to Mary at the moment of her conception.

How could He do that? Because God knew Mary would say yes.  This did not mean she did not get to chose it, it just means that because He is God He exists outside of space and time.  He is past present and future.  God knows no boundaries.  He knew she would say yes it happened already outside of time and he preemptively applied the grace.  This is of course my laymen terms for such a complex theology that only a theologian (which I am not) could explain it concisely.

future past present

You could say that Mary was predetermined to say yes and be the mother of God.  Bl Anne Catherine Emerich talks about this in her 4 volumes that Mel Gibson used to write the screen play for “The Passion”.  She said in her writings that God desired to bring about the salvation of the world sooner but it was not until St. Anne and St. Joachim that two loved like the trinity into which Mary was brought and in which she would say yes to being the mother of God that God could then move forward with His divine plan.  That shows you how much God honors our free will.  He won’t even save us unless we allow Him to, that is how much He respects our free will.

It is hard to understand how the graces merited on the cross by Jesus Christ were given to His mother before she was even born.  Another way to wrap ones head around this mystery is to contemplate the Eucharist.   At mass we experience Calvary.  It is because the Holy Sacrifice of the mass is able to pass outside of space and time, literally making present the body of Jesus Christ, that this is possible.  We are not re-creating Christ’s death and crucifixion, nor are we re-sacrificing Him, rather we step through a mystical veil of time and space and Calvary is made present.  We are at the foot of the Cross.

This is why we pray for the dead or why we ask for the Communion of Saints to pray for us.  Our prayers can bestow graces to them before their deaths.  We can pray for those who died and our prayers can merit graces that outside of time can be given to them before they died to help perfect their nature.  It is this mystery of timelessness that many of us cannot understand because we are temporal beings. We are bound by space and time but God is not.  The spiritual is not.  Angels pass through this veil easily because they are not bound time space as we are.  Perhaps this is why some Saints could bi-locate.  They could pass through the veil because it is a reality created by God to govern the physical realm.  However, we are spiritual and physical beings.  Therefore, we too are able to pass through the veil in ways known only to God and in our Glorified bodies we will move as fast as our thoughts and will pass through walls much like Christ did when manifested into the upper room.  He passed through the veil, the dimension that separates us.

At the moment of conception God creates a holy immortal soul and infuses it into the body of that child.  At that moment God knows all of the choices that person will make before they make them, never diminishing their free will.

choices

It is the choices they will make that will determine their final destination.  All souls are destined for heaven.  This is the the truth of the trinity because every person is created in the image and likeness of God who is Love.  God is love poured out and overflowing and in that excess of love He creates Holy immortal souls.  This means we are all created to love and be loved.  If we do not chose enter into that love we reject God (who is Love) and chose the alternative.

The fact that hell exists is another proof of God’s love.  Without a choice to go to hell there is no free will, there are no choices, there is no love.  If there was not a hell, then God could not honor our choice to reject Him.  Hell makes choosing God possible, without there is no choice.  If there were not a choice to go to hell we would be animals, without choice, relying on our instincts to dictate our lives.

God does not force himself on us but rather allows us to decide if we will be with Him forever in Heaven or if we will reject Him and spend eternity in Hell.  We will exist for all eternity, where we do it is up to us.

So if we are not predestined to go to hell are we predetermined to go to hell? What does predetermined mean? In this context predetermined means that before it happens it is already known to happen.   Souls are predetermined for hell because their choice of hell is known by God before they live it out.

James 1:13-15, “Let know one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.”

c.s lewis

It is our choice to sin that determines whether or not we spend eternity in hell.  When a soul is pre-determined to go to hell it means that God knows that they would reject Him regardless of His invitations or intersessions.   He knows it because He sees their decisions, sees into their personhood, knows their hearts and understands all of their choices and gives them the freedom to choose.

Free will is a very powerful thing.  Even the devil has no real power other than what our free will gives him.  When we submit our will to evil and enflesh it, that is when the devil is able to oppress us.  Free will is something we should all contemplate more.  It transcends space and time and can condemn a person before they are born (because a birthday is a time and God is outside time).  On a positive note, it can also save the entire human race.  Jesus and Mary are proof of that.

Why I love “Survivor”

Why I love Survivor

 Survivor

Say what you will about reality television, for me I have loved watching “Survivor” on CBS from the day it first aired in May of 2000.   For those of you that don’t know what Survivor is, let me enlighten you.

survivor 16

The show takes 16 total strangers and maroons them on a remote tropical island for 33 days.

survivor_maps_world_map

The players are split into two “tribes”.   While living on the island each tribe lives off the land with limited supplies of beans and rice.  They must forage for food and start fires the way cavemen did.

tribes challenge

They live together in a shelter that they must build themselves and usually have only the clothes on their backs.

shelter

The tribes compete against each other in “challenges” which consist of puzzles, obstacle courses, relay races, memory games or eating disgusting local foods.

food

 

The challenges in which they compete are either for a reward, which is usually a luxury item (blankets, soap etc.) or immunity.   The immunity challenges protect a tribe from having to go to “tribal council” in which they must vote off one of their own members.

council

 

survivor

 

At the halfway point in the show, about day 11, the remaining persons on each tribe are merged together forming one new tribe.  At this point they begin competing as individuals.  The people who are voted off at this point become the “jury”.  The jury consists of the last players voted off (they are housed at a nearby resort).   Every other night the jury attends tribal council to see how everything plays out until the last 3 players are standing.

final three

 

When the tribe consists of “final three”, there is a final tribal council.  At this tribal council the last players plead their case to the jury as to why they believe they deserve to be voted as the winner of Survivor.  They must explain how they have outwitted, outplayed and outlasted everyone else.   They also face a group of persons who get to question them in turn.  Whoever gets the most jury votes wins a million dollars.

 

So now your probably thinking, “What a waste of time!” or perhaps “why in the world is this one of your favorite shows?” or “why are you using so many air quotes?”

 

The answer is relationships.  I don’t love this show because they eat grubs or swim relays or start fires with friction.  I love this show because of the people and their relationships.

moment

When the season begins I am introduced to 16 people that I don’t know and will never know as a personal experience, but I do get to know them.  Over the several months of the show I watch them form alliances, make friends, share personal stores about their lives as well as plot and strategize how to win “the game”.

top moment

I see how each person treats others or how they establish relationships (or don’t).  I listen to their individual commentaries as they are each taken (privately) throughout the show to discuss the game as it unfolds.  They tell the camera why they are doing what they are doing, how they feel about it and how it is affecting them.   This is a great way to understand more about who they are.  It’s like reading the inner dialogue of a character in a book.

 

What have I seen?

 

I have seen the good.  I have watched people give up food to give it to their tribe, sacrifice a visit with a family member to allow another person to receive that luxury and I have seen people give up immunity in attempts to save another.

immunity

I have seen the bad.  I have watched emotional meltdowns, manipulation, and lying, cheating, stealing and downright bad sportsmanship like throwing challenges just to vote someone out.

colton hateful

I have watched the ugly.  I have seen people burn others clothing to make them miserable, destroy a food supply to make their tribe starve and I have seen players orchestrate deceptions resulting in an entire tribe ganging up on one individual and verbally and emotional abusing them.

 

hantz rice

Everything I have seen has taught me a lot about how people hide from who they really are.  Some use rationalization saying, “it’s just a game”.  Many manipulate or use people all the while denying that their actions speak about who they are as persons, after all it is “just a game”.

 

These persons often despise those who are kind and honest.  They see those players as “weak” and untrustworthy.  After all, the players that are honest cannot be expected to lie and cheat and steal as they do so they are a “liability”.  It doesn’t always go like this.  It depends on the tribe.  Get one very wounded and unhealthy person on a tribe and they will either get voted off or they will take over the game.

heros

 

Regardless of how a person “plays the game”; we still see each person’s heart.  What I see is people hearts being poured out on screen as the games literally breaks them open.  All facades are stripped away, there is no hiding the true self, not on Survivor; everyone is broken open there.

crying

The lack of things to do, the harshness of daily life, the constant companionship, the exhaustion, the lack of food, all cracks open the shells used to protect themselves.  We see all of the wounds a person is carrying in their hearts as they are broken open and poured out on screen.  While it is true that we are seeing an edited version of reality, we are still able to see into the hearts of each person as we watch how they “play the game”.

 

What I don’t like is when the contestants begin to tell the camera that they are going to lie and cheat and steal and do whatever it takes to win because, after all, it’s only a game.  They go on and on about how this is not the kind of person they are, they are separating out who they are from how the game requires people to play.

 

This could not be farther from the truth.  The choices we make everyday and in every situation IS life.  Survivor is not a game, it is a competition in which people compete and the person they are factors into how they “play the game”.

 

I like watching this show because I learn about people.  I learn how to love people better.   When I watch Survivor I learn about all kinds of people dealing with all kinds of issues and I learn how to love them better. When I see how wounds that people carry in their hearts effects their capacity to love others, I am reminded to love them anyways.    I can love people when I can see how what they are doing to me might be more about something hurting in them and less about trying to hurt me.   This is when we truly begin to see one another.   It’s like our sin is a figurative fig leaf that helps us to hide ourselves from being truly seen.  The irony? We all desperately long to be seen.

pics

Survivor has taught me that what you see is NOT what you get.  Do not judge a book by its cover.   Every person has become who he or she is through the circumstances of their lives.   We can love them better when we learn to see the forest through the trees.  Meaning? We can love people better when we learn to truly see them.