Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Serenity Now!!

A few weekends ago, I was have a really cruddy couple of days.  Nothing horrible happened.  Just nothing really to write home about.  I was just feeling down and in the dumps.  We went to Saturday evening mass and I happened to see a fellow parishioner who I knew had just suffered a tragic loss.  Seeing the grief and sadness on her face just ripped my heart out.  It sort of brought me back to reality and made me wonder why I was having such a pity party.

Looking over my life I think I'd be safe to say that it is filled with blessings.  I have a great family, a beautiful wife who I am madly in love with, good kids who are healthy, a job I enjoy going to, I'm well fed (obviously) and I have a roof over my head.  On the other hand, I know people who have been through hell.  I know a guy who grew up in a war torn country and tells the story of him and his family escaping from their house in the middle of the night (he had to crawl through his bedroom window--not knowing what was happening to the rest of his family)  I know people who are going through divorce.  I know people who have lost their spouses to death.  That doesn't even take into consideration the grief and torment I see people go through on the streets.

It sometimes makes me wonder what's wrong with me?  What am I complaining about? Who the heck am I to complain about the small little things that are going on in my life when other people's turmoils are much worse than mine.   Well, here is the thing.  I think it's good to acknowledge the lows in our life.  I think it's okay to say, "Today has sucked!"   Not only is it good to acknowledge it but it's good to let that frustration out.  Heck, sometimes just me telling someone that I'm in a bad mood and them acknowledging it is all I need.  When I do not have that release valve everything seems to pile up.

I also think it's good to acknowledge someone else's sufferings, no matter how trivial they may be.  Don't belittle them.   Yeah, you may want to whack someone upside the head because they are complaining about their favorite television show getting erased of the DVR when you are fighting to keep your head above water financially.  How much easier it to at least empathize with them.   You understanding that they really wanted to watch Jersey Shore may be just enough to pick them up and get them out of their funk.

The important thing is not wallow and bury our sufferings--even it is something trivial.  This doesn't mean you need to sit on the street corner wailing, "oh whoa is me!"   But maybe you just need to take time to relax.  Maybe you need to do some light reading.  Maybe you need to go to the gym and run or workout.  Maybe you need to call a friend and venting on them.   The worst thing you can do is hold it in though.  It will just make you feel even more miserable inside.

The best thing you can do is--of course--take it to God in prayer.  Talk to Him about your day and lay everything out there for Him.  "Lord, I was looking forward to A, B, and C happening today and instead I got X, Y,  and Z.  What's up with that?"   You may not find your answer as to why your day stunk in prayer.  It may just be that all you might be able to do is offering up your sufferings for those who are suffering more than you.  I do guarantee you this though.  You are not going to find true peace and serenity unless you do let Him take care of you though.  St. Augustine said, "my heart is restless, Oh Lord, until it rests in you."  No amount of relaxation, or exercise or carrying on will truly make us happy until God is in the picture.


  1. This is perfect and I need to hear it today. thanks! I haven't felt particularly down in the dumps...but I have been struggling with some of the trials put before me. And you're right, sometimes a simple, "I hear you...that really stinks" helps me to feel better.

    Have a good day, Jamie!

  2. I love this perspective. So often we get so wrapped up in thinking 'I have no reason to complain' that we minimize the things we actually go through. Learning about offering up suffering has really helped me in this area. It allows me to acknowledge that yes, I am suffering over something (no matter how small or big) and that I can recognize that others may be suffering (more or less) over the same thing without allowing myself to get bogged down in the 'who has it worse' game.

  3. Remember, too, Jamie, that God often works through people. In addition to sharing with Him in prayer, reach out to friends or family who can offer you support. And if it's happening all the time, think about seeing a doctor. Perhaps the brain's neurochemical balance has gotten out of whack.

    Peace, my friend.