The most important thing to do while you’re single.

A stack of save-the-dates and wedding invitations covers a corner of my desk at home. By March 2015, five more of my friends and their significant others will have wed, while I — now nearly 29 — will have not. That I might witness all their vows without a date doesn’t bother me at all as I write this. That doesn’t mean that how single I am has never bothered me.

“My wedding” sounds to me like the start of something so difficult but so good. In the sacrament of matrimony, we are given to each other by God, and we are given to each other by each other. It’s a miracle, because two people turn into a unit designed to result in the destruction of self-absorption. A marriage is supposed to be a space where we can work together to become holier, and guts are safe to spill, and virtue can blossom, in which love is absolute and unfailing, just like God’s love is for us.

I want that. When I am reminded that I want it, I sometimes start to ache. Continue reading “The most important thing to do while you’re single.”

What I learned about our lives from a lightning bolt.

As the sky darkened, lightning lined distant clouds while my dog — a red brindle longhaired dachshund — crossed the mulch in our back yard. The thunder’s rumble, too far from us to faze to him, warned of an impending storm, a norm for five at night in a Florida summer.

I watched from the porch while Rudy frolicked, and I wondered if we should hurry, ’cause there’s a reason we call where I live the “lightning capital.” He wagged his tail and sniffed the earth with curiosity and bliss and innocence — until the lightning struck. Continue reading “What I learned about our lives from a lightning bolt.”

[Repost] Thoughts on not getting what you want.

Have you ever felt like what you did or said changed your course so completely that you ruined your chances of achieving something?

That a decision you made created conditions that made it impossible for you to get what you want?

That a part of you had so turned somebody off — be it an acquaintance, a potential employer, a guy or a girl — that had you only spoken or behaved differently, the rupture that rendered your relationship over forever never would have existed.

That thanks to you, you lost what you should’ve, would’ve, could’ve had.

As if we have that kind of control.

The truth is we are in control of what we say and do. And sometimes, that thing we say or do does, in fact, change your course so completely that what you thought you had coming never comes. And sometimes, that decision you make does create conditions that aren’t favorable for getting what you want.

But an important and often neglected part of this truth is that because my course or conditions change or somebody walks away because of me does not mean I didn’t get what I should’ve gotten. It means I didn’t get what wasn’t meant to be — that I didn’t get what wasn’t designed for me.

And if it wasn’t for me, why would I even want it?

Once, Job said this to God (Job 42:2): “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.”


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A version of this post originally appeared in 2011.

Restless discomfort, holy anger, tears and foolishness.

I’ve shared it before, but what stirs in me tonight compels me to share it again:

A Fourfold Franciscan Blessing

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

And the blessing of God the Supreme Majesty and our Creator, Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word who is our brother and Saviour, and the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Guide, be with you and remain with you, this day and forevermore.


“Do not worry about your life.” -Jesus

For a year or so in college, I lived in a constant state of on-edge.

I was the journalism major who worried all the time, who suffered from anxiety.

My body held down the here and now, but my mind wouldn’t sit still. Thoughts raced, and I entertained “what-ifs” and concocted all kinds of scenarios.

Which is why I really needed it one night when I stumbled upon this quote:

“Anxiety is a temptation in itself and also the source from and by which other temptations come.
Sadness is that mental pain which is caused by the involuntary evils which affect us. These may be external – such as poverty, sickness, contempt of others – or they may be internal – such as ignorance, dryness in prayer, aversion, and temptation itself. 

When the soul is conscious of some evil, it is dissatisfied because of this, and sadness is produced. The soul wishes to be free from this sadness, and tries to find the means for this.
If the soul seeks deliverance for the love of God, it will seek with patience, gentleness, humility, and calmness, waiting on God’s providence rather than relying on its own initiative, exertion, and diligence. If it seeks from self-love, it is eager and excited and relying on self rather than God. 

Anxiety comes from an irregulated desire to be delivered from the evil we experience. Therefore, above all else, calm and compose your mind. Gently and quietly pursue your aim.”

The quote comes from St. Francis de Sales.

In it, I found hope.

And later the same week, I found another anxiety quote, by chance:

“Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow, and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering, or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then. Put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”

That quote, as it turns out, also comes from St. Francis de Sales.

Two in a week? This is too much, I thought. Who is this guy? So the journalist in me did a little digging. Which is how I discovered that Francis de Sales is the patron saint of journalists. Which is how I knew that my finding those quotes when I did wasn’t an accident.

That God knew I needed the reminders.

That I had forgotten what Jesus said, in what is probably now my most-read passage of scripture:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…” (Matt. 6:25)

May we remember today and always that He said it with sincerity.