Saturday, September 17, 2011

Without Me You Can Do Nothing.

I had started out fairly calm but then we had one important family member wake up crabby.
“Our house looks like Hoarders”,
“We aren’t organized or disciplined enough for . . . “
"If we stop piano lessons, we'll have one less thing that we are late for . . . "

Repeated over and over.  I just started a new job this week, after being home with the kids this summer, who just returned to school last week, so we are still settling into our organization and routine and I thought the sweeping criticisms were a little premature.

I didn’t let it bother me at first but then when I came home, a little sad that my 15 year old had her last piano lesson (she started when she was 6), and I proceeded to make a pretty good lunch and only 3 of the 6 people ate it, and I was one of the 3, well it all got under my skin.

I remember the quote I got from 100th Lamb, which Elizabeth pulled from Rohrer and Sutherland in Facing Anger, "Anger represents a protestation against loss of self-esteem."  I let out a unintelligible grown when I first read it, and reflecting back at my angry outburst today, I will just say, "Bingo".

I was angry and sick of hearing sarcasm and the same questions and false accusations repeated over and over, so I went for a run.  It did help me get a grip on my emotions.

I’ve been on the verge of needing a really good cry since yesterday.  I can’t really put my finger on the source of it.  I was shopping in the grocery store, and to counter-act the sadness I began saying the Jesus Prayer over and over again, and I think it was obvious to some of the people that I passed that I was or had been crying.  The shopping ended well though.  There was an older gentleman who helped me out with the groceries. 

I mentioned I had a new job, and thus why I ran over into a second basket.  He told me about trying to get a job in property management within walking distance of his home, and that I was nice.  I told him I would pray for him to get the job he wanted, and he said, “Please do.” 

I prefer to think I don’t get depressed, but I’ll tell you if I hadn’t gone running today, I probably would have gone to a church and ended up crying.  It was a pretty good run, an hour plus.  I listened to some faster paced stuff for the home trip, so I would get whatever was bugging me out.

Initially I went upstairs, showered, and then put a call into my parents  They live in Florida.  I only see them every other year.  At one point my mom retold that she was once touched on the breasts by her step dad, but her mom didn’t believe her.  She has mentioned this to me before, but I usually don’t let it just sit there.  This time I just remained quiet.  It sounded on the other end like she was crying a little bit.  The silence was only for a minute, but it seemed longer.

Where is this ramble going other than somewhere with the lights out? 

Today shows me again that without Jesus I can do nothing.  I can’t control my own emotional health.  I can’t remain calm and peaceful when even one member of my family is complaining and in a bad mood.

The afterschool teacher for my kids was telling me that her preacher told her complaining is a sin.  I couldn’t believe it.  Here a Protestant is loading up a Catholic with a bunch of sins I didn’t want to own up to.

My first reaction, “That isn’t in the Ten Commandments.”

Her, “Don’t you remember how angry God was with the Israelites in the desert when they were complaining?”

The other afterschool teacher said she would check with her husband who was a preacher to see what he says.

That was kind of a challenge to me.

What?  Why should a Protestant Preacher have a corner on the market for telling a Catholic whether or not complaining is a sin.

So I came up with this, nothing original here, just pulling from what I remembered from my readings, mostly from The Better Part.  

“Well, I was reading about how disappointed Jesus was when the disciples were thinking they were going to perish in the storm.  He was disappointed that they didn’t have faith.  They had seen him work all kinds of miracles, visible in people’s bodies, and invisible in the way he healed their hearts, including their own.  They had seen him cast out demons.  Still they were fearful and desperate.  So I think complaining is probably at least a lack of faith.  As for not complaining it does say in John 15 that we can do nothing without Jesus.  I don’t think that could be more true when it comes to not complaining.  If we don’t remain in Jesus how would we avoid complaining?”

As I look back on my day, my knees hurting from my run in the chilly air, and the sadness cloud still hanging about, I am very aware of the truth of John 15:5

Without Me You Can Do Nothing.

So how or what do I need to change in my life that I can remain in Christ, remain aware of the indwelling of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in my soul?

I’m going to start by going to Confession tomorrow.  If there is anything that helps me have more strength in my faith, including peaceful and joyful awareness that God is always with me, it is receiving absolution and advice in the confessional.  Then I’ll receive the Real Presence of Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in Holy Communion. 

I know that will give me the healing and strength I need, and I need healing and strength, Lord!

I’ll also pray for my Mom, who needs healing.

The person who was complaining doesn’t go to church with us anymore, so what do I do about that?  I guess that is where I just let go and let God.  And continue to pray.

I am not sure what miracle God will need to work in me to bring me to a place of maintaining peace and trying to bring sunshine even when others are complaining.  Well forget the sunshine, I just want to not feel the loss of self-esteem that leads me to an angry outburst.

I have to leave this to him too.  I know I can’t do it! 


  1. Hi Colleen, now that a few days have passed, how are you doing? It does feel at times in life, we get slammed from various directions and it feels overwhelming. But those feelings do pass when we leave them at the foot of the cross. I'm with you on this because it's very hard when we're in the midst of them.

  2. Noreen, Thank you so much for checking up on me. I am better. I have learned much more about the Jesus Prayer from a book I've been reading the past 2 nights. I was praying out loud and I learned the prayer helps to bring internal silence especially when prayed mentally in tune with the breath.
    You are right it was the combination of the emotions that was hard.

  3. Also, Noreen thank you for the visual of laying it at the foot of the cross. I need to ponder that more. I've done that literally once when I was attending Notre Dame and there was an outdoor Stations of the cross withe life-size Crucifix. I literally laid at the foot one morning after a similar run meant to get the emotions out of me.

  4. Prayers for you Colleen! In all things, thank and praise God-especially in difficulties. That's hard to do, isn't it? If we start our days offering everything to God, all of the joys and difficulties, then our complaining is a gift to Him, and we need to trust that He will use it for good. But, how much better if we can thank Him for our difficulties, to try to see them as a gift for our benefit-then we find that we are complaining less and praising more! Not an easy task, it's my constant struggle! I will pray for you and ask you to pray for me as well!

  5. Thank you so much for your comment and prayers, Anne, and I will pray for you too. Thank you also for the hint to start the day by offering all to God, and then trust that he will use it for good!