Sunday, January 30, 2011

The perfect fusion.

"Kakarrot. How do you know this fusion will be enough to stop him?"

I recently finished Dragon Ball Z, both in its manga and anime form (comic book and cartoon, respectively). I think my favorite part is definitely where the long-standing rivals (spoiler alerts galore from here on out) Vegeta and Goku finally set aside their differences to permanently fuse and stop the maniacal villain Majin Buu.

"Those two have the power...Two of the greatest masters in the worlds of the living and the dead. And it doesn't hurt that they live to outdo each other..." Epic.

At this point Majin Buu has quite literally killed or absorbed every living thing on earth except three lucky people and a dog. Those who were absorbed have the horrible fate of living forever inside Majin Buu's body, giving him unimaginable power. They are not truly alive but cannot die! However, through a series of fortunate events, Goku is restored to life and sent back to earth, and his greatest rival/enemy Vegeta is given his body back and returned to earth on the condition that he fight Buu again, after which he would be allowed to go to heaven instead of sent back to hell. Goku, after witnessing his son get absorbed by Majin Buu, finds Vegeta and begs him to put on a pair of magical earrings that will make them become one person. It was previously explained to Goku by the character Old Kai that a fusion through the earrings would make the resulting person many times stronger than the sum of their strength. After Goku explains that everyone Vegeta knows is gone, Vegeta begrudgingly agrees to fuse with him, becoming the ultimate warrior, Vegito.

To make the decision to sacrifice your very identity and become one with the one person you hate the most to avenge the ones you love...How heroic! How admirable! *sigh*

Of course, I do have a theological point behind telling you all this. As Christians we undergo a sort of fusion ourselves when we accept Christ into our hearts. Alone we are weak but in Christ we undergo an incredible transformation, gaining strength from heaven to overcome our faults and become perfect in Him, in essence, becoming a new person. Sound familiar? Those united with Christ's church do this in an even more complete way when we receive the Eucharist, undergoing a more visible transformation by literally accepting Christ's body inside of our own and becoming one with Him. Sound even MORE familiar? :)

Even more telling is the very nature of God Himself. God is infinitely just and infinitely merciful. Though seemingly opposites (like Goku and Vegeta) the two come together to form God's perfect love through the redemption of Christ's sacrifice. God's mercy works to forgive us because Christ paid the just penalty for our sins. It's a perfect fusion!

The way we deal with people needs to be a fusion as well. We need to love sinners and hate their sins. Goku and Vegeta work together in a similar way. Goku is a combat genius, while Vegeta is a brilliant tactician. Goku knows how to fight battles but Vegeta is better at planning ahead to win them. Together, it's an unstoppable combination.

This is what happens when you read a blog by a Catholic nerd.

There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was for perfect fusion with the Lord.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I see me through you.

I don't often say nice things about myself.

I had an unusually cheerful day yesterday. I saw a friend in the morning who really put me in good spirits. I've had a lot of problems with this friend in the past, which is a true tragedy because of how alike we are and what we've both done on behalf of the other out of friendship love. But in our conversation I think we reached many moments of catharsis which made sense out of many of the hurts and misunderstandings of the past year. It made my whole day bright.

A highlight of the afternoon was giving blood. I felt so good; I went in with a big smile on my face. The nurse who examined me was complimenting the quality of my health/blood and it made me giggle. The whole time I was there, talking to people, I felt like I spread happiness like a contagion. I had too much - it overflowed. The nurses were even compelled to take a picture of me: because I was giving double red (which makes you very cold) I put my gloves and hat on, and a coat and blanket to stay warm. Apparently that's not common. One of the nurses commented on my smile when she took the picture. It was the best experience I ever had giving blood.

Later that day my girlfriend took me out to dinner. No real special occasion, other than being another day with her. She gave me a present and a card, and made me open the present first. It was a book I let her borrow - I found that hilarious! The card was very sweet. It made me tear up a little bit. All in all, she was very good to me. She always is.

It's hard now to imagine a time in my life where people did not think well of me, and I tended to agree that I wasn't worth much. I read a blog by a friend where she describes being bullied when she was younger. It reminded me of long ago when I was in much the same situation. I was not well-liked when I was younger. I only ever had one or two friends and my family and I were never really close. My friend writes about how she dealt with these problems, and I find that we dealt with it all in much the same way - by taking our minds somewhere far away. It's a really good thing we're friends. I don't have a lot of people who know what being bullied is like.

I don't need to repeat how I've made bad decisions in life. It's written all over elsewhere in my blog. But because of those things I find it easy to see myself not as I am but as a person who is just a rehabilitated version of the old self. I believe something changed when I finally surpassed my limitations caused by my emotional dependencies and my spiritual ineptitude. It took a while but I think I am beginning to see the good that others see in me. That's what happened yesterday. I saw my own smile through other's eyes. I listened to myself speak with other's ears. I enjoyed being who I really was, the joyful and friendly person that I am. It's hard to even type this paragraph. It feels arrogant and forced. But it's true and it would only be false humility if I were to hide it.

I will try to see myself through your eyes, Lord. My friends help.

There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was for the eyes of love for all to see.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Conversations with infinity.

Conversations with God are certainly nothing like a conversation with a human being.

At first this sounds like an absurdly obvious statement, but sometimes I think that God should make himself more easily available. It takes me a great deal of concentration and determination that I don't often have, especially with my huge attention deficit, to have good prayer.

I have long held the belief now that the reason God speaks to me when he does is because I'm ready to hear what he has to say, and not because he doesn't want to talk sometimes. My prayer only became good after I truly wanted to talk to God and would actually understand what he wanted to say. But as I have said to some extent in my last post, prayer lately has been difficult.

Though, now I believe I know why. Whereas for a while, I have had many incredible experiences of prayer with God that have led me not only to enjoy prayer, love God more, and make some important decisions regarding my love life, suddenly this all vanished. Every time I pray, though my approach to prayer is unchanged, I feel and hear nothing.

Saint Ignatius says that it is a normal part of anyone's spiritual lives to have periods of spiritual consolation and desolation. Consolation is the time where one feels God's presence, feels joy in their faith and grows easily spiritually, which is how I would describe my spiritual life in November and early December. I learned a lot very quickly in this time and entered a new stage of my life. Then after all those wonderful things, suddenly God felt a little farther away. I had no idea why.

At first I was worried I'd done something horribly wrong. Then I was worried I was starting to regress spiritually, that I was screwing up my prayer. Then I was worried about both. Now, I have a different opinion.

I have entered the opposite side of the coin of the spiritual life, that of desolation. Spiritual desolation happens often when someone slacks off in their spiritual life, but St. Ignatius, the expert on the topic, writes of two other reasons why it happens.

Sometimes it happens because God is testing how we will respond when the result is desolation and not an expected reward. "God may try us to test our worth, and the progress that we have made in His service and praise when we are without such generous rewards," says Ignatius. This makes perfect sense. Prayer felt so good, it was so wonderful and helpful and miraculous. I had come to expect it, and now God knows I need to see how my faith works without it.

I needed to see how I would handle the changes in my life if suddenly God withdrew and left me alone for a while. If I would suddenly make my girlfriend my god instead...if I would suddenly decide I no longer believed in God because he was silent. God knew what I would do, but I would not if it never happened.

I'm still trying to figure out the full implications of the result of my time in this period of desolation, but it's still not even over yet.

I'll wait.

There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was for full communion with the Lord eternally.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Glasses of water.

"Oh they say you could see your future,
Inside a glass of water
With riddles and the rhymes
Will I see heaven in mine?
Oh Oh Oh..."

I could sure use a glass of water like that.

So, I worry about the future quite a bit. What am I going to do with the rest of my life? What is God calling me to? What are my options? Sometimes I don't like to think about it.

I must admit that sometimes I have a fantasy future. This future is full of fun things like children, a home in the country, adventures in the hills, laying out under the stars with my future wife. I even wrote a story as my future self months ago which I read to my girlfriend sometimes. It would be pretty embarrassing to relate in more explicit details, but it's good writing, at the very least.

But how am I going to bring this future about? Sometimes I read it just to remind myself what I want in life. Besides the most grand adventure of reaching heaven, I have grand adventures planned in this world as well, God willing.

What will I see in my glass of water? Is it half full or empty? Am I just waiting around to fail once again, or will the stars in heaven align to give me the chance I need again to make my life what I want it - need it - to be?


I can't bear the thought of ending up as nobody again. When I woke up and realized I was wasting my life a year ago, I said I had failed for the last time. But if I can't get a decent job and fulfill my dreams I will have done just that. It frustrates me that I don't even know where to start. Often when I pray nowadays I pray that God will show me the way, but then I start thinking about it more and more and I can't even pray right. I'm getting attacked spiritually, that's for sure, but I just don't know what to do about it. I can't pray.

It helps to pump myself up with music. My roommate and I laugh at a video of Piccolo, a character from Dragon Ball Z, yelling after being infused with power. "I can do it! I can win! I FEEL INCREDIBLE!" It's funny, but I find myself having to do the same thing sometimes. I have a lot of help around, and my girlfriend is of course a wonderful boost to my spirits, but sometimes I just need to blare motivational music as loud as I can and get excited to do what I need to do to succeed.

I have a big problem with laziness. I hate to admit it, I really do, but I hope maybe this confession will somehow help. I hate admitting it mostly because I talk so much about dreams and hopes. It makes me feel like a hypocrite...and maybe I am.

C.S. Lewis writes that some of the most delicious souls to the devils are those of hypocrites. If I am unable to overcome this vice of sloth someday I might make a tasty meal.

There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was that we would never cease to look to heaven for hope and motivation.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A fairy tale life.

I think there are some things you can regret for the rest of your life.

One of those things I think I narrowly avoided recently: the loss of a friend who changed my life forever. In talks with my girlfriend I realized that I was really sorry that I let a few petty misunderstandings get in the way of a good friendship. Sometimes I feel that I have a lot of regrets in life and sometimes none at all, but without a doubt I know what happened between this person and I was regrettable. After all this time this person ended up being right about a lot of things. Not everything, but the biggest things, and she never failed to tell me.

My girlfriend and I talk a lot about the skeletons in our closets, our "past lives" so to speak, and how much we've both changed over the years. I've told her many things that I regret, and a lot of things that happened that were bad but I don't necessarily regret. I realized during one of these conversations that I still missed my friend. I thought that when I made sure she was no longer in my life anymore that eventually I would get over it and have no regrets because we were both better off. But I thought about how I would feel years from now, when I don't even see her I would wonder how she ended up, and if she still thought about me. I realized that if she and I were not friends again, I would regret it forever, because whether or not she realized it or intended it, she changed my life. The small kindnesses she showed me a year ago are part of the reason why my girlfriend and I are together now. I know I want my friend to be happy and successful, and to do what I can as a friend to help her there.

I said to myself a long time ago, when I was starting to figure myself out, that I wanted a life that I could look back upon and have no doubt that I made it the best life I possibly could. It is a testament to this promise that I look to the future like I have in trying to repair this friendship.

I recently read something I wrote a few months back. It said that all of our lives are fairy tales, and we all deserve a fairy tale ending. Even with the ecstasy of heaven in store, is it still wrong for me to desire a happy ending to the (hopefully) long tale of my life?  In the end, I want to be able to smile knowing that everything really did turn out for the best, and not one loose thread remained for me to tie off.

If there's anything I can ever do to achieve this goal, I know I am sure to do it. I will never give up.

There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was for a fairy tale ending.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

From where I came.

For whatever reason, I'm feeling very sentimental about the past lately.

Actually, I know why. I've been reading old notes and poems to my girlfriend lately, notes and poems I wrote long ago. I've been copying them from Facebook into my (very private) notebook of writing entitled "The Dream That I Dreamed" ...Sound familiar?

Anyway, it's interesting to relive, through my old writing, the thoughts and views I held at earlier points during the past year or so of my "Great Growing Up" as I will call it for the sake of convenience. To tell you the truth, reader, if my girlfriend wasn't such an amazing person I would be awfully worried about what she would think of me in relation to some of the writing I did from late 2009 to early 2010.

It's really apparent from the beginning that all along I knew, in a hazy manner, what I was looking for. I had some ideas right about love, about God, how the universe worked...but I was too immature and had too big of a monkey on my back (in the form of a heavily addictive video game) to take full advantage of it. When I finally got the slap in the face I needed in November, things changed. But first, I was bitter for a while. You don't have to be very clever to see it in the things I wrote. But yet, the words on the page had some ring of truth to them. Reading them again, I see now that many times I was only one step away from something really wise...but I was too hurt and too out of touch with God to know what it was.

As 2009 turned to 2010, I seemed to begin to heal. I wrote a lot of poetry about peace and nature...about who I am...occasionally a poem to vent frustration. As winter waned, my poetry started to take on a new tone. I was searching for God...truly searching, not just in a fake, half-hearted manner. I began to learn who I was and who God made me to be. The hazy, vague realizations in my writing from 2009 turned to full, honest truths about my relationship with God, my relationships with other people, the nature of love, and who I really am.

And from even this point, I know I had so much growing up to do. It makes me realize that as far as I've come now, I must still have so far to go. I'll never be perfect until I die and my maker makes me so.

There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was that we could all grow into who we were born to be.

Friday, January 7, 2011


"May all our voices...whisper to you, from the ageless stone."

So says the spartan warrior Dilios in the movie 300. I'm always pleasantly surprised when a movie like 300, full of sex and violence, can still move me with a bit of pretty writing.

Dilios' words always come to mind when I think about my past. It always seems to surprise people when I say (not always in these words) that I consider most of my life a failure. It is only recently that I've become who I am now, and most of the people I see from day to day now never knew who I was. Sometimes if I let it, my past haunts me, not loudly, but in whispers from long ago. I hope that you, the reader, can understand that I am not trying to be dramatic, but I am trying to describe what I think in the best way that I know how.

One of the only good things about dwelling on the past is that it makes me more determined than ever to never waste my life again. I don't think that I was ever a wholly rotten person, it is only that I constantly wasted my time to the point that I may as well have been, because I wasn't becoming an especially good or accomplished person. Now, I'd much rather die before I failed at being a good Catholic, a good student, a good boyfriend.

When I said in one of my other blog posts that I did not have any regrets, maybe I spoke too soon. Sometimes I think about people that I really, truly cared for, who I no longer speak to for various reasons. I wonder how their lives are, if they're still interested in mine, if we could still be friends. I'm not sure why, but often I truly believe that I no longer care, and prove myself wrong when I think about contacting them again. But what is there to say? The truth? "I miss you"? That if we are not friends again, I will regret it forever?

Or maybe, they will become a shadow of a memory once more.

There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was for a quiet past.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Full sail ahead.

I'm not in a relationship, I'm in a relation ship.

Dating is like a sailboat. Your ultimate destination is marriage, and if you decide you're not meant to be together, you simply jump ship. Otherwise, you sail ahead - sometimes your sails are full of wind, and sometimes you have little, or you're stuck in the doldrums. Sometimes you hit rough waters, or even stormy weather. Sometimes your ship gets sunk...and when (if?) you finally reach the harbors of marriage, there are still more adventures, happy times, and hardships beyond.

I'd like to say right now my relationship has full sails ahead. We're in what some people call a "honeymoon phase"...for whatever reason I dislike the term but can't think of a better. We get along so well, and we're happy together. But I refuse to be naive - there will be hard times. But that's good. If we can get through them together, then we'll have a deeper relationship afterward, a deeper bond, and a deeper understanding of one another.

I'm beginning to get used to not being single. For a while, this kind of sharing of life with my girlfriend was such a new adventure, something foreign. Now I feel like I'm getting settled. And I like it! I feel I am settling into my well-worn captain's chair. In my last relationship, which was my first "real" relationship, I suppose, the idea of running my life in line with someone else's was scary to me. I think there were two reasons for this: One, I was not ready for a relationship. Two, I was in a relationship with someone I was just simply not meant to be with. I had good intentions and I thought I discerned well, but I was wrong. God was not calling me to that...but He brought good out of it, in the form of some valuable lessons.

But this is different.

My girlfriend and I can talk forever. I can name a couple times where we lost track of time and were talking for hours and hours into the early morning. The only other person I can do this with is my best friend...but HE has known me since I was six. How remarkable.

The way I feel around my girlfriend, I feel like I can always be myself. It seems like I automatically show certain sides of myself around certain people, which I believe is natural for anyone to do, but with her I only feel like me. I am just me, without shame. She loves who I am.

I love her too.

There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was for safe passage for all our ships.

On small town life.

I'm disappointed I haven't posted in a while. As Gandalf would say, "I was delayed."

I have come back from spending six days in a wonderful little town with my girlfriend. We had a great time eating, talking, praying, meeting people, etc. together and I can honestly say without hesitation it was the best six days of my life. I've noticed a big trend lately with best days of my life...I wonder if that says something about the quality of the days or the quality of the last 21 years of my life...probably both.

Regardless, my girlfriend grew up in a very small town. I came from a town with about 18,000 residents...her town has a thousand. I thought my town was small...

My girlfriend and I had quite a bit of time to talk about the place she grew up. I suppose you could say this is my reflection. I've always liked the small towns with large countrysides all around...I thought my hometown was one of those places, but it's not...not quite to the extent this place was. My hometown is small, but it is big enough that there are people moving in and out all the time, and although you will often have families that have lived there forever and it's possible for you to know a large amount of people in town, and see people you've known your whole life doesn't quite match up.

The place my girlfriend grew up is a land full of memory. Every place she and I went, there was something about it that made it important. A story, or some sentimental value. I really liked it. That's the sort of place I want to live. It was always so quiet, you could think better. The air was better, the trees were fuller, and the sky was always beautiful. What a place.

There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was that there were no lands without memory.