The funeral.

In a chapel at a Catholic parish on a Friday, I knelt at my seat a few feet in front of the altar, during adoration. I wanted to pray, but got distracted by a casket.

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Through the chapel’s glass wall, I saw a set of pallbearers in dress blues carry it into the commons.

I looked away and tried to pray, again. But I couldn’t, because an inexplicable urge had overcome me — the urge to attend the funeral.

I want to tell you what happened last week.

I am a journalist. Spent about a decade working for the Tampa Bay Times before I quit and moved to Virginia, where I freelance write full-time for Virginia’s largest paper.

Last week, I pursued four or five stories. Conducted interviews. Took pictures. Didn’t sleep enough.

Business as usual.

But multiple times in a few days, the subjects of stories I’d planned to write asked a question that grinds my gears: “Can I read what you write before it prints?”

HECK no.

How delighted the devil would be to see us do this.

In a recent blog post, Tommy McGrady wrote that “marriage isn’t just hard. It’s sneaky hard.” But a friend of mine read it, and then she responded.

“When you learn to communicate, love your spouse more than yourself, learn to compromise and accept that not everything in life is going to be the way you want, marriage is not hard at all,” she wrote.

So which is it?

Is marriage hard, or not hard? If it is hard, should it be? And what about dating? If that’s hard, should we call it quits?

When social media is social masturbation.

I vented to a friend today about my disdain for social media. (That’s right, folks — my disdain.)

I shared a couple of examples of the posts I have found in my social media feeds that frankly have disturbed me (think “newborn babies in costumes”). And then I asked what has weighed heavily on me lately:

“Why? Why do people think that this will enrich my life?”

But the more I thought about my own questions, the clearer an important truth became: people do not care if what they post enriches my life.

They do not care.

When dating is hard.

As a Catholic, I believe that dating is for discerning marriage — for discovering the truth about each other. For deciding whether to choose to love each other until death.

Sometimes, dating is fun. You can go to aquariums together and stuff. There are otters at aquariums. Need I say more? Dating is good. If you pay attention, you learn about God and each other and yourself. Sometimes dating is easy — when you’re laughing, or at Adoration, or noticing a new reason to appreciate him or her.

But sometimes, dating is hard, like when there is conflict. Miscommunication. Insecurity. Distance (all the kinds). Inconsiderate decisions. Resistance to vulnerability.