Forever a Clone

I'm just a clone, talking away while nobody listens

Archive for the tag “Catholic”

Faith and My Journey With It

Do you ever get those moments of wonderment and at the same time joyous clarity over things in your life?  I do from time to time.  One of those moments happened over this weekend for me.  I did something that I rarely do, which was take a day off from work.  I didn’t do it for just sitting on the couch nexflixing or anything, but I took it off for religious reasons.  During a homily sometime within the last couple of months, the district superior priest for FSSP was visiting our apostolate here in El Paso when he mentioned that when he was a parish priest, he’d tell his congregation to take Good Friday off and spend that day with God.  Sure, I had done it in the past at my old neighborhood Novus Ordo parish, but I had never done it in the 3 years that FSSP has been in the diocese.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t for lack of interest in attending Mass or anything like that, but I just always would come up with some sort of an excuse to myself that was work related to get myself to not take that time and give it to God.  Without any hesitation I did it this year, though.  Quite honestly, I’m very glad that I did.

I’m finding that each passing day I get closer and closer to God.  I’ve had quite the journey to get where I am and a funny thing about it is that I’m not even sure, aside from Divine Intervention, about just how I formed such a close connection with our Lord.  I say it’s funny because when I look at my family, at least from my father’s side, nobody is Catholic.  Sure, my grandparents are in name, but they don’t attend Mass.  My father, well… that’s a long complicated story that I don’t think he’d want me sharing, my uncle is protestant, and my sister is protestant as well.  All of us were raised in the one True Faith, but as per the norm these days, they have all strayed away from Holy Mother Church.  I’ll be honest, even I did for quite a while.  Even as far back as my early childhood after baptism and first holy communion, I wasn’t a regular attendee of Mass.  Mainly it was because we had no means of transportation to get to the local parishes to make it to Mass.  Sure, we could have walked when we me moved to El Paso when I was 11, but we never really did after the parish finally got their land and stopped holding Mass at the school over the wall from my house.  I did my two years of confirmation classes, but I’ll tell you right now that I don’t remember one bit of any of it.  I wasn’t engaged in my faith at all.  I’d even go as far to say that I was an atheist and even read a bit of Anton LaVey’s books that a friend of mine had.  I had no reason to be religious.  I type that now and cringe, but it was true back then.  I wasn’t evil, violent, or anything like that, but I was just a normal teenage guy wanting rebellion for rebellion’s sake.  It was stupid.  It was only after I had graduated high school that I decided to attend Mass for myself because I wanted to.  I’d always run into my first year confirmation teacher and her husband who are now some of my dearest friends in Christ…  More about them in a bit.  Anyway, I’d always see them at Mass because they’d either be singing in choir or would be leading in some ministry or another at the parish and I’d always felt at peace when I was around them, as if God was telling me to follow their lead.  Well, sure enough, my faith would come and go as I’d find more important things to do as a guy in his early 20s would and I’d make rare appearances at Mass.

Now, here’s where I dabbled in Protestantism.  When I was 20, my right knee blew out.  I tore my ACL and I had a buckle tear in my meniscus.  I was laid out unable to move my leg at all because my knee was locked up, so I spent the entire spring stuck downstairs sleeping on the pullout couch.  I got to see every minute of MTV Spring Break (which was still pretty cool back then), and I had a lot of time to just sit there with my leg immobilized and think, miss walking, and read.  One of the things that I read was this Christian book about coming back to Christ.  There was some sort of protestant “come to Jesus” thing at the end of it and it put me to tears.  I know what had happened to me was a wake up call from our Lord to get myself on the straight and narrow path that I just decided to dance all around.  I went with my sister to her place of worship and found myself immersed in the overwhelming charismatic love for Christ.  I was buying in.  Why wouldn’t I at that point, right?  I never really knew my faith so it had no defense against it.  So, there I was listening to these strongly vocalized sermons and I was giving them the benefit of the doubt until I heard about 10 too many Catholic bashings.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  That’s not what Jesus Christ and His church was about.  There’s no hatred about it OR Him, so I bailed out and went back to the church which He founded on the rock of Saint Peter and started my journey all over again.

My friends were happy to see me, and I even got involved in groups studying encyclicals and books of the Bible and started to attend Mass regularly.  All the while, I was still living a crazy life doing stupid things that I’m not proud of AT ALL, but I could never really see the consequences my actions were having.  Years past with a few wake up calls from Christ here and there, but the one HUGE wake up call I had was in February of 2008.  I did something very stupid, but was lucky to escape from it unscathed.  Well, physically unscathed at least.  But this event finally woke up dumb ass up and got me to embrace our Lord Jesus Christ completely.  I made it a point to go to confession at least monthly, and became even more involved in prayer groups with my friends there at the parish.  I became so involved that I was even able to convince my mom to go with me to Mass.  I’m so grateful that that happened in those short 4 months because my mom ended up passing away in early June of that same year.  I’ll always have that happy thought with me, that my mom saw me finally turn my life around and give it completely to Christ.

That brings me to one of the points I wanted to make and I thought about.  I know some people of know of a lot of stories about where people lose their faith because of the loss of a close loved one.  I had the complete opposite effect happen to me.  Yes, I cried my eyes out as I told my mom how much I loved her as she slowly transitioned from this earth to purgatory… and even typing that out brings me to tears now… and I cried and cried when we got back to the hotel we were at in Lubbock where she passed away that night and did the same thing when we got back home and I saw her bedroom.  Heck, I’m crying right now as I take myself back to those moments and type it out here, but never for one minute did my faith waver.  All I cared about was getting a priest over to her ASAP to give her the anointing of the sick and to give her absolution so that I’d be assured she would be safe in the life after this one.  Once I knew that was taken care of, I left the rest in God’s hands.  Let His will be done.  At her viewing/Rosary and at her funeral Mass I felt sad (of course), but at the same time a resolve to make sure that I remained close with God.  There was never even a question about whether or not my faith was going to go under any test.  If it ever did, I passed it with flying colors.

In the nearly 9 years since my mom has been gone, I have grown more and more attached to God.  Thanks to His grace, he brought the aforementioned FSSP to El Paso and thanks to a Lenten retreat the year before that, I was able to experience the Traditional Latin Mass beforehand.  Me being able to experience that the year before FSSP came here was thanks to those friends I was talking about earlier in the blog post.  This couple, who are my parents’ ages have pretty much become like secondary parents to me.  For sure, I’d say true Godparents.  If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have the strong faith I do now.  They have enlightened me to many a things in this beautiful church we have and because of them I have learned a great deal on my own.  With that said, I’ve found that the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (as it’s also called) and the Traditional Catholic lifestyle is what I’ve always needed in my life.  Everything about it is so moving.  There is reasoning, history, and biblical meaning behind every single thing.  2000 years of tradition will do that, I suppose.  Attending Mass at Immaculate Conception Church has also helped me grow in and actually learn my faith even more than I already did.  I’m nowhere near apologetics level, but at least I know why certain things are the way they are and I know why things are done and the reasoning behind them.  It’s so funny because a few of my friends from work ask me why we do things from time to time and because of that, I’ve heard this from a handful of people now (or a variant of it), “Have you ever thought of becoming a priest?  You are so smart and are so kind, peaceful, caring, and understanding.  I could totally see you as a priest.”  Sometimes that last part is omitted, which I should start following up jokingly “why do you say that?  Because I’m a single guy?!  Might as well join the priesthood because I’m not married?!”  hahaha!

All kidding aside, maybe these people have a point.  Maybe God is calling me to the priesthood.  Maybe my sometimes insane journey these past 36 years has lead me on a lifepath to be a great priest.  That’s not what He’s told me in my heart, though.  My heart tells me that I’m supposed to get married and raise children.  At this point, better late than never right?  Honestly, I’m not holding out much hope.  I think years carry baggage and inherently being my age with no kids and never been married is a real turn off, I’m thinking.  Or perhaps the opposite sex thinks that I’m some sort of philandering d-bag just looking to get what gets looked for these days, if you catch my meaning.  A few… err… a WHOLE MESS TON of bad apples really does spoil the whole darn bunch.

I should just shut up about things now, but close by saying that in short, I am in love with my faith, Jesus’ church, and specifically the way I practice it within the traditional Catholic lifestyle.  If I can recommend one thing that I wish everybody could experience, it would be experiencing the Easter Tridium Masses, the Christmastide Masses, and the Requiem Mass (that is offered with a couple of variances on All Souls Day).  They are beyond words to describe the beauty of them.  I’ll also add that I’m by no means perfect and I still have a very long way to go, but I think that I am well on my way on the path that God intended for me all along.  Good things do come to those who wait.

 

Here for the party

The past few weeks, for as troubling as some of it has been, have also reminded me about how every passing day of mine is better than the day before. Each day off that I get to relax and take time out to just reflect reminds me about just how good I have things.

I’ll try my best to explain. If I look back at my life, I can clearly remember how misguided I was during a lot of it. I was angry and bitter about a lot of things in my life. I had a pretty bad mood. That’s nothing like what I am now, but when I think back to it, all I do is shake my head at the disbelief over how bad of an attitude I had towards life. I still don’t even know why I was like that either. Maybe it was the young me trying to find out just who the hell I really am. That mixed in with crazy hormones was probably a bad mix.

Believe it or not, considering my current stance on life, there was a time in my life that I desperately wanted to fit in with the crowd. I wanted to be part of the cool people and all that garbage. When I realized that I would never really fit in with all of my oddities, naturally I got frustrated with that too. Why wasn’t I getting the girls? Why wasn’t I getting the attention I wanted? Sure, I was funny and have that eccentric charm, but there are a few simple truths that killed my chance at popularity. Looks, money, and the desire to attain either of those. I was who I was, and come to think about it I still am that. I’m always going to be that short, fat, moron who will always try to find the funny in almost any situation.

With that said, over the past few weeks, I’ve thought about just how much more comfortable I am getting in my own skin. I have been occasionally taking time out of my free time to just sit on my couch and allow my brain to wander around and just do it’s thing. One of the things that got me to laugh was just how much of a contradiction my home décor is. Then again, it is completely and totally me. I have a lot of my wall space dedicated to music, with a Mötley Crüe poster and large pin, 3 Metallica posters and banners (in the middle of a LOT of Metallica memorabilia around it), my autographed Steel Panther stuff, and my Beatles poster all up on my walls. Next to that is my ode to my Catholic faith and family there, then followed by sports memorabilia, empty bottles of booze that carry memories in them, with it’s own space, a large metal cross that my late mother purchased and had up in our home, and finally a real Ocean’s Eleven movie poster that satisfies both my love for movies and my love for Las Vegas. It’s pretty clear that you see what really matters to me by spending two minutes in my living room. I laugh all time when I think about it because I can only imagine people looking at me in disgust saying “Jesus doesn’t mix well with your Metallica – Sad But True poster, dude… OR those empty Cabo Wabo Tequila bottles either for that matter. To me, it does. Everything about me goes hand and hand. I don’t fit into a single mold (shhhh with your weight jokes!).

I’m happy. I’ll tell you that right now and tell you that I’m honest about that fact. I really am happy. I’m happy with the person that I am and happy with where the situations and decisions that were put in front of me have placed me in my life today. Just yesterday, as a matter of fact, I found myself just completely happy over the fact that I woke up at 7am, for some insane reason considering that I was up late at Nocturnal Adoration with my Adoration brothers at my old Catholic Parish until about midnight, but happy at the time time that I did wake up so early so that I could get to the things I needed to do, like get my truck washed, go grocery shopping, cleaning my house, and doing laundry. All of that just brought me such joy. Cleaning up, organizing, and yes even grocery shopping has always just brought me peace and happy thoughts.

I know, at this point you’re probably wondering what the hell is wrong with me. Don’t worry, me too reading that back to myself. It’s just part of who I am. I kept posting updates on my social media outlets about just how much of a good time I was having. I bet people thought I was kidding about it, but I was being honest.

I was happy doing the things that made me happy. Oddly enough, I was talking to a friend of mine just this morning who recently has been down in the dumps and feeling lonely, etc. I don’t know why, but I had realized that this person has relied on other people to make them happy. Nothing that they have ever done for themselves had made them happy. Does that make sense? It’s nothing new in my observations, to be honest. Just to generalize (and I know I’m probably wrong and don’t have any scientific data to back this up) I always find people talking about doing things to make themselves desirable for another person. I ask myself, “For what?! Why not try and do something for yourself! Make yourself happy! You wanna do something for somebody just to have that one moment of temporary happiness, or those few moments of happiness? For what??!! Just to not have it appreciated later, or even worse just be pushed over or left behind? Then what, dude?!” I told this person to be happy with themselves instead. Do things that made them happy. It’s a crazy idea, but it’s true.

I realized that I finally learned that lesson myself about 3 years ago. I stopped letting the actions of others or others’ opinions of me dictate my happiness. I finally took control of that. Only I will control what makes me happy. Somebody doesn’t want to talk to me? So what? Somebody thinks I’m an idiot? Good for them. I’m going to keep being the weird dude I’ve always been, except now I’m not going to apologize for it or try and change to appease somebody else and have that control my emotions or my self worth. I am who I am and do what I do for me. I gotta say that I feel pretty happy about that.

So, there it is, peeps. Be happy for yourselves! Do what makes you happy… that is unless it harms somebody else. That’s a dick move. Don’t be that person.

January Madness

Well, what a crazy 3 weeks it’s been to start this month/year.  I will be the first to admit that I haven’t kept up with the gym as I had promised myself, but for some reason outside forces have kept me from getting back there.  Week one was a vicious sinus infection.  There I was New Year’s Eve all happy that I thought I had cheated the sickness around me only to find it hit me early that morning and went full force the rest of the week.  TERRIBLE!  Ok!  I do enough drugs to get myself to get to the gym on Monday, everything is coming up Milhouse and boom!  Family medical emergency goes down and I had to put my life on pause (willfully and gladly I thought I should mention here) to take care of business.  This past Saturday rolls around and it’s my first day to really sleep in in two weeks.  Everything is going cool and I decide to get to my happy place which is cleaning my house and doing laundry when all of a sudden during a 5 minute break at my dining table, one of my chairs decided to take out a finger and there I go bleeding out like some kinda moron who apparently didn’t learn to fear and respect dining table chairs.  Hahahaha!  I laugh at it now because at the time I was literally telling my walls “Really, dude?!  For F’s sake!  I can’t catch a break, man!  If it ain’t one thing it’s the other.  Alright, stupid finger, you can stop bleeding any time you’d like dude.  *insert various other vulgarities here*” So, here I sit at week 3 of this month continually staring at the base of my left middle finger that is still throbbing with pain any time I move it because the cut is at the very base near the webbing between index and middle finger wondering why it is that things are keeping me from getting to my life goals.  What did I ever do, man?  In the words of The Dude in one of my favorite films, The Big Lebowski, “I can’t be worried about that shit man.  Life goes on.”  And it will, my friends.  I may have lost the field at the starting gate, but you better know that I’ll catch up and pass everybody in the race too!  It’s just a matter of time.

In happier news, even with all of the chaos that has engulfed my life, I think I’m really finally settling into a good groove to start off the year.  I decided to finally pull the trigger and get to a project I’ve been having on my mind to do with the house and fill a blank wall with one of my 50 or so movie one-sheet posters I had from my time working at one of the now no-longer-in-existence movie theaters in town and although I really wanted to frame up my Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back one sheet, I chose Ocean’s Eleven instead.  It just made more sense to me.  It fit a few spots I wanted to represent:  comedy, adventure, and of course Las Vegas.  It’s pretty funny when I think about it.  I have little things everywhere in my house that represent little pieces of things that mean the world to me.  I have memorabilia and posters/flags of some of my favorite bands, rally towels and collectables from some of my favorite sports teams in between cool specialty designs of some of my favorite bottles of booze (all empty of course), pictures of family and religious articles proclaiming my Catholic faith, and of course my drums are all in there too.  Almost everything that made me who I am today are there for me to see.  I was looking around yesterday after I put up that one-sheet, one of my 25+ year old Metallica posters, and a Beatles poster I bought about 2 years ago and thought to myself, “Hell yeah, man.  This is you.  Be proud of all you’ve accomplished, man.  It’s been a helluva ride these past 36 years and things can only continue to go up from here.  Be proud of who you are, where you come from, and where you’re going.”  It feels good to have some pride in myself for once in my life.

And you know what?  Things are looking up for me.  Once this stupid finger heals, and I don’t have to worry about MRSA or any other infection I could get with an open cut on my hand where I could easily grab something at the gym, I’ll get back to that full force… Well unless some other calamity occurs in my life before then.  UGH!!!  And sooner than later here, the band is going to start back up and hopefully we’ll get to put a project we’ve been talking about on wax.  Just playing music again with my brothers will be good enough even if the project we have doesn’t pan out.  Overall, it continues to be the happiest time I’ve ever had in my life.  Time to hope that I can finally move this train down the tracks.  I have no more time for delays!

Take it easy, y’all!

Peace out 2016, Holler at me 2017

This is it.  We made it, y’all.  2016 and its crazy ass has finally come to an end.  Globally, I must say we had a pretty bad year.  Lots of terrorist acts, lots of war, and lot of death of people who are known by a lot of other people came to pass this year.  I know a lot of people are upset about it and have been taking note about how bad it’s been for us as a whole.  I tend to agree with them, but in what has been my nature more strongly for the past 5.5 years, I tend to focus on the positives.  I had a lot of positive things happen in my life this year.  In January, I made the decision to not live with anxiety and a too large of amount of stress for me to handle and the positive outcomes came from there.  I did fail, however, to get started on my weight loss goals but that’s to come later.

More great things came this year.  Most notably, I cut half the commute from my drive to both work and my parish and moved to central El Paso and even though I didn’t have any reservations about it, I had no idea at how awesome it would turn out to be.   Everything that I need or like is minutes away and the peace and quiet I get now is an even bigger Godsend.   Another great thing that came about from my change mid-year was that a true nature I’ve always had really flourished like a wildfire.  That true nature I speak of is my introvert nature.  I’ve always had it, but it wasn’t until I was truly on my own that it just consumed me.  I have honestly never been as happy in my life as I am now.  It’s the greatest thing ever.  Now, I have nobody to put a fake act on for, nobody to try to conform to, etc.  I can truly be me now and me is that dude who would rather be left alone, hates and honestly feels sick down to my bones to be in a crowd of strangers for more than a few minutes, who loves to spend time with only a select group of friends, and who finds comfort in music, movies, and the general arts of all kinds.  Granted, the last thing is something that more than just introverts to, I find that I don’t have to feel weird about my musical tastes because I’m liberated to be who I want to be without judgement.

With that all said, my very positive personal life changes has brought about resentment and probably a loss of friendships along the way with it too, but if you want me to be completely honest, I’ll say that if people can’t accept who I am, who I aspire to be, and what I stand for personally, then they don’t need to be in my life.  Simple as that.  I am sick and tired of being surrounded by negativity.  Again, for the past 5 years, I’ve done my best at always living looking at the positive in things and people and I have completely stopped dwelling in the bad in people and in things.  Sure, I’m aware they exist, but I refuse to let it consume me.  I also never have held grudges, but even more so now I forget and forgive as Jesus told Peter in Matthew Chapter 18 verse 21,

“21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

I’m always going to be the same funny, happy, comedic (even horribly punny and cheesy), stupid moron.  I have no time to say out loud or to myself “remember what this jerk did to me?  F that person!”  Nah, that’s stupid.  I refuse to waste my life that way.

So, Sunday morning will bring on 2017 and the renewal of hopes and dreams for everybody, myself included.  I’ve never been one to do New Year’s resolutions, but I will say this.  I’m going to put my plans in motion to get myself in a better physical shape than round.  (LOL!) and I will continue to be the person I am regardless of the consequences of the judgements of others.  I’m going to be me and do what makes me happy.  That’s pretty much stay home, stay focused on my weight loss, laugh a lot more, spend time with the friends and family that accept me for who I am and don’t want to change me, watch more awesome movies, listen to great music, and hopefully make awesome music too.  I have plenty of room for those who want to join me, but if you don’t want to or want to get off the ride; I’m not going to stop you either.  In the words of “King” George Strait, “I ain’t here for a long time; I’m here for a good time.”

Life Goals

Salutations, y’all!  I hope this Thanksgiving week (for those in the U.S.) hasn’t been all that bad to you.  As for myself?  As always, things could be better, but they could be a lot worse as well.  There’s been something on my mind lately and I think it’s about time that I share some of it.  The topic of “putting myself out there”, marriage, and the alternative being the religious life, has been circling my life again as of late.  I don’t recall myself talking too much about it previously, so I figured I might as well give my take a shot here and now.

As the people that know me or have at least talked to me outside of this digital world know, I’m a pretty quiet and reserved dude.  I really don’t talk too much because I’m of the mind that unless I really have something to say, I’m not going to talk just for the sake of talking.  On the other hand, if somebody asks me a question about a topic that I am interested in or involved in in some sort, I can go on forever talking about whatever subject that may be.

One of topics happens to be my personal relationship life, if that’s a good way to put it.  Inevitably this topic will come up at one point or another with everybody when they start to get to know me if they want to.  I get asked things like “So, you’ve never been married?” and “So, you don’t have any kids?” followed by “Do you want to get married eventually?” and/or “Do you want kids?”  In turn my answers turn into a brief history over how I’ve left myself open for said opportunities and have gotten my heart and soul destroyed in return.  All of those individual lessons and my ever-growing faith in our Lord Jesus Christ has taught me to choose a lot more wisely when it comes to that subject.  Those two reasons pretty much get in my discussions with other friends about why I refuse to just go out and try and get with any woman who will have me, or go out and do these one night stand type of deals or whatever else.  It doesn’t appeal to me at all.  Actually, to be honest, I find the idea repulsive.  I can already hear my a-hole friends getting their loving insults ready to throw my way over even stating that, but it’s true.

Of course, after that is all said, the follow up comment to that usually is “well, if you’re not going to put yourself out there and go to places and whatever, why don’t you just become a priest!?”  L O L!!!!  I’ll note that I’m laughing because the majority of my friends are protestants and have NO idea of what the priestly life entails.  Sure, it’s a very important job and a great blessing from God, but it’s not for every man.  It’s not as easy as “Well!  I couldn’t find a wife, much less even a girlfriend, so I might as well just enter the seminary!  Woo!”  A lot of thought, prayer, and most of all a calling from God is needed for a man to successfully enter a seminary and dedicate their lives completely to Christ and His church.  There are no children of your own, no marriage, nothing of the sort.  I know in my heart of hearts, God’s plan calls for that in my life eventually.  And if not that, then it calls for a solitary life as a layman and not in a religious order.  Even though many people have told me that my character is that of a priest or what they believe a priest to be, I know it’s not where I should go with my life.

With that being said, going back to the marriage thing, I don’t want to just get married for the sake of being married either.  I know everybody wants to do things right and whatnot, but I really truly believe it.  If I ever do find that woman, I want to do things the right way.  I want to abstain from committing impure acts either alone or together.  I’ve done my fair share of committing grave and mortal sins for the fun of it and it’s gotten me nowhere.  I want to base my relationship on God, the way it should be.  After all, one of the main points of marriage is to help to get your spouse to Heaven.  I  want to have that type of relationship where that’s going to be put on Front Street right off the bat.  I know our society has made a mockery of traditional family values and that moral sense of obligation that I’m talking about, but I believe it with my whole heart.  In reality, we only get one shot at it in the eyes of God as it is (that is if you get married in the Church and go into the marriage with the full intention of said sacrament) so you are right if you think that I’m going to be really selective with my criteria.

I really hope it happens, to tell you the truth.  I hope that I’ll be part of one of those families that I see every Sunday morning at Mass.  Mom, dad, and children all building a more solid relationship with God one day at a time, one prayer at a time, one Mass at a time.  That would be cool.

Well, that’s all I got for today y’all.  Have an awesome rest of the week!  And for those reading in the U.S., have a great Thanksgiving!  Get food drunk and enjoy the day!

David

Good Feels

Man, what a week it has been!  The world seems to be upside down.  Seemingly impossible things have been happening starting with my favorite NFL team, the Dallas Cowboys, winning a very important division game, solidifying their place atop the NFC East with a record of 6-1 (should be 7-0.  We should have beaten those stupid giants!), and being ranked as the 2nd best team in the NFL by ESPN.  Then last night all of the curses that were put on the loveable loser Chicago Cubs were put to rest after a long 108 years as they won Major League Baseball’s World Series Championship.  I, of course, joked on Facebook that we’ve seen it all now quoting funny and probably semi-offensive things that we’ve witnessed.  L O L!  We better enjoy the fun times we have going on now here in the States before chaos erupts come Tuesday night.

All kidding aside, I have had quite the interesting week as well.  This week really feels like Holy Week for me, as I’ve gone to Mass 3 times now.  I went Sunday, as per my Sunday obligation, then we had another Holy Day of Obligation for All Saints Day on the 1st, and I decided to make it a point to attend All Souls Day at this church to honor my mom, who passed away 8 years ago this past June.  The mission itself has been in existence for 325 years, but the current church has been around for 173 of those years.  I didn’t know what to expect driving to the church, but once I got there I was really blown away by the beauty of the church.  I felt the energy, if you can even put it into words like this, of a positive and happy place.

The Mass itself was incredible.  The Mass for All Souls is pretty much like the Requiem Mass which is offered in funerals.  The differences are basically the readings; there is a sequence in the All Souls Mass and the fact that there is a coffin-like oblong box in place of an actual coffin.  It was very very spiritual and moving.  I was telling some of my coworkers today that after Mass ended all I could think about is how I couldn’t wait to die.  I know, I know!  It sounds morbid, but the Mass was so beautiful and peaceful that I thought to myself “You know, I think that the people that will show up to my funeral Mass will be a peace.  It won’t be some kinda sob filled affair or nothing like that.  Just a solemn peace.  I’ll go out the right way.  Of course, the people I mentioned it to didn’t understand the true meaning behind what I was saying because every other word out of my mouth is a joke of some sort (as those of you who know me in the non-digital world can attest to), but I’m really looking forward to it.  It makes me want to write out a will right now just to be assured that my next of kin don’t go against my wishes and give me some non-denominational “service”, cremate me, and/or have my funeral Mass at some Novus Ordo Catholic parish.  I’d be sure to be pretty pissed off in Heaven or Purgatory if that happened.  It’s the Extraordinary Form (Latin Rite) of the Mass offered by one of my FSSP priests with my dead body in a coffin in a black suit with a few of my favorite band t-shirts (Steel Panther, Metallica, Pantera, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles), one of my pairs of drumsticks, and a picture of my nephews (if I don’t get married and have kids of my own by then) thrown in the casket or nothing. THAT’S the way I was to flash the proverbial deuces out of this world.

My week with baby Jesus is going to continue tomorrow, as its first Friday and I’m part of one of the Nocturnal Adoration Society groups here in town.  Heck, it might be the only one come to think of it, but in either case, I’ll be there most of the overnight on Friday night if I can stay awake that long. I’ll find out if I can as the night progresses.

With all that said, all of my partying with baby Jesus has given me a forceful break from my normal weekly routine which is pretty much wake up at 3am, hit up my gym, go back home and make some breakfast, get gussied up and get to work, go back home in the afternoon, eat, pass out, repeat.  It’s an odd existence for some, but having my days filled up the way I do suits me.  If only I could find ways to hide on 3 out of the 4 Saturdays in the month and keep those days to recharge my batteries, I’d be golden!  A kid can wish, can’t he?

All I know is that I gotta get home today, get to some of the housework that I’ve had to let lapse due to me not being at home in the evenings at all this week, crash out early, and try to make it to the gym tomorrow morning to jump start the routine again.  In the words of Jack Burton and Wang Chi in the film Big Trouble in Little China,

“Jack Burton: Feel pretty good. I’m not, uh, I’m not scared at all. I just feel kind of… feel kind of invincible.

Wang Chi: Me, too. I got a very positive attitude about this.

Jack Burton: Good, me too.

Wang Chi: Yeah!

[pause]

Jack Burton: Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?”

Take it easy, y’all!

Weekend Update

Man, what a weekend I had.  Polar opposite days, but what else would you expect out of me, right?!  Haha!  I’ll start off with the good news first.  It now appears that the a-hole part of my brain that desires to derail my attempts at gym addiction has either been sucker punched and put to sleep or has finally given in.  Whatever it is, I like it.

I’ll start with Friday afternoon.  Instead of going with some friends of mine while they drank and spent money that I currently don’t have, I decided to put myself and my desires first (as I said I would) and got home to change into my gym clothes and spent an hour with my good friend the Arc Trainer.  It’s what I lost 40 pounds with the first time I was really serious about things and now I’m just as focused as I used to be, hell I’d even say even more so now, so that’s really all I wanted to do.  I get the chance to catch up with programs I stream on my phone and stuff too (which I know annoys some people, but guess what?  IDGAF!  Don’t hate because I can spend an hour watching something while I work out.  It’s what I do!) AND I burn the hell outta calories.  It’s beautiful.  Funny now that I think of it.  I wonder what the people next to me and behind me thought when I was catching up with El Rey Network’s show Lucha Underground.  Hahahaha!  I hadn’t gotten the chance to catch up with this season yet (I know!  Shame on me!), but I’m already just about 4 out of 7 episodes down!  Those 40-43 minutes of the best professional wrestling show out there right now (yeah I said it!) makes those hours on the Arc just fly by.  Considering that I’ll catch up with the current season within this week, I’m going to have to find something else to watch that will keep me just as entertained.  I’m thinking about action movies in the PG-13 realm since watching the shows that I do on Starz and HBO aren’t very friendly when it comes to public viewing.  LOL.  Anyway, tangent aside, it felt awesome to get in that hour right after work.  Yes, I dealt with having more people there, but thankfully it was kinda quiet.  I mean, who the hell would want to be at gym on a Friday night except for people like me?  Afterwards, I got back to the comforts of my apartment to get laundry done and that was just as therapeutic.  I’m so weird!  I find cleaning and doing laundry so much fun.  Yes, I’m one of those freaks!  So, needless to say, I had a fun Friday.

Saturday was pretty different than Friday night.  I still went to the gym as I promised myself I would and spent another hour with my homie the Arc Trainer while watching Lucha Underground, but after I got back home and showered wondering where the day would lead me, I got a call from one of the BFFs.  Homeboy invited me to go with him to his tattoo session and I told myself “Hell yea!  Why not?”  That ended up turning into quite the adventure.  As one would expect, the scheduled start time for the session came and went and it gave us the opportunity to visit a nearby bar.  Thankfully, the place that we went to serves Trooper (Iron Maiden’s beer), so I had a good time enjoying a few of those delicious beers in there.  The funny thing about that place was that I think we called out the bartender on her claims of being a nerd.  Hahaha!  She said she was all about geek stuff, especially Star Wars and whatnot, but once homeboy and I got into favorite Star Wars moments there were crickets coming from the other end of the bar.  I always find stuff like that funny.  I know she was just trying to impress us to try and get a bigger tip out of us, but that trick never works with me.  All I ask is for you to just be cool and keep the drinks flowing until I say otherwise and all will be cool, you know?  I’m under no illusions that you really do care or not.  I know that you don’t, so why play games like that?  Anyway, we had our drinks and went back to the tattoo joint and things got under way.  The artist that did the work on my friend asked if I had any work done and I said “no, not yet.” But I showed him what I would like to get.  He said it was pretty badass and long story short, it looks like the next time he’s in town I may just be getting that tattoo done if I save up enough space bucks.  I’m considering it my birthday/Christmas present to myself if I do have enough for it.  We’ll find out!  So, after the tattoo session, we were both on a victory high and our other best friend wanted in on the party and we ended up at this newer place here in town that serves primarily as a filling station.  People buy their own growlers and fill said growlers up with the beer of their choice and go on their merry way.  It’s a beautiful concept that is on the upswing everywhere.  I know of one that one of my cousins and I visited in Scottsdale, Arizona last year and much like everything else in popular culture, we get it last here in El Paso.  As my motto with a lot of other things, better late than never!  So, this filling station not only fills up your growler, they also serve the beers they have by the pint.  That’s what we ended up doing since they only had plastic bladder looking containers as they had run out of the glass growlers.  Who the hell wants those, right?  It worked out better anyway because we got the chance to try all sorts of different beer.  It was a lot of fun.  28 craft brews, all from here in Texas, and each one we had was delicious.  It was a party.  The end of the night was pretty awesome too because in our very odd way, we ended up watching Bob Ross on Netflix.  What possessed my friend to put that on, I have no idea, but we made a drinking game out of the show and we were at peace, yet laughing hard at the same time.  So much fun!

All of that fun and adventure brought along Sunday morning.  As per my customary actions, I woke up at 6am to get ready for confession and Mass.  I don’t know how I did it, but I didn’t even wake up sleepy.  Considering that I was up pretty late, I was ready to get my day going.  I started the day by watching an episode of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross that is now thankfully available on YouTube and it put me in a very mellow mood, which worked out beautifully as I got ready for Mass. Mass itself was awesome and beautiful as usual, and I got the chance to talk to my good friend afterwards too.  That got me home a little later than I wanted to, but it still worked out as I knew I wasn’t going to watch any NFL action because my Dallas Cowboys had their bye week this week.  It allowed me to put forth all my attention to my favorite sport, NASCAR, and the elimination race from Talladega.  The two Talladega races have become my favorite races of the year because they are so unpredictable!  I had 3 hours from the time I got home to the drop of the green flag, so I had all the time to make myself breakfast and relax.  I think I relaxed a bit too much though because all I wanted to do was nap.  I ended up passing out on my couch for about 2 hours and 48 laps into the race!  I woke up to Martin Truex Jr’s engine blowing up, and from what I understand I didn’t miss anything before that.  The race was as crazy as I thought it would get, but sadly a driver I really don’t care for won the race.  Boooo that!  I still got in my football fix for Sunday by watching Football Night in America, so I didn’t feel completely left out, but soon found myself watching the sun set and the time for me to get to bed rapidly approaching.  I got myself to bed with just enough time to pass out and still get close to the 8 hours of sleep I need before 3am this morning came calling.

Overall, it was a very good mix of solitude and the company of loved ones.  Man, I only wish that every weekend was like that.  Maybe more on the solo deep side, but I’ll take what I can get.  This week has already started off on the good side as I made my way to the gym at 3:20am. I could have given up midway through the hour, but the words of CT Fletcher were ringing in my ear.  Gym pain just means that you’re working and pain brings results.  That’s not to say that certain pains, like very odd pains in my right knee (thanks to the buckle tear in my meniscus and torn ACL 16½ years ago), I won’t ignore, but general soreness and whatnot?  I can’t let that stop me.  Hell no!  I must work through those to keep on my goals.  I think I’m well on my way.  Things can only continue to get better from here.  I hope y’all have a great week too!  We just have to get through this week/weekend and November will be here before we know it!  I can’t wait!  Not only because I very much HATE Halloween and everything it has become, but also because that brings about my favorite 2 months of the year.  Oooo!  Looks like I have an idea for my next blog.

A Sight For Sore Eyes

Well, this weekend worked out very differently than I thought it would for a few different reasons.  The one instance this weekend that I want to share with you, however, was a moment that I had wanted/needed for 8 years.  I finally got the chance to attempt to tell my mom just how much I miss her.  Honestly, though, it’s not something that I actively think about.  No offense to people not like me, but I really don’t like to dwell on anything negative much.  Bad memories, hurtful things, horrible experiences, etc… I let them go.  Now, that’s not to say that I’ve forgotten about my mom… and I should actually backtrack a bit and mention that my mom passed away in June of 2008, but I don’t go around living my life feeling sorry for myself or anything like that.  I know my mom wouldn’t want me to be that much of a wuss.  I know she wanted me to pick myself up off the floor, dust off, and soldier on.  I wouldn’t be able to live that way anyway.  What’s the point of being all emo for months on end about a passing of somebody close to you?  Yes, I know it sucks.  I know just as much as you do, but we all have to find solace in the fact that God has a plan for all of us.  The people that pass away in your life before you fulfilled their plan.  It’s as simple as that.  If we’re ALL good, we will see these people close to us again.

Anyway, forgive me as I step off of my soapbox and get back to the point.  I had my first real moment in 8 years with my mom at about 3:40am on Saturday morning.  I was deep in sleep when all of a sudden I found myself standing in a kitchen with brown granite countertops and beige walls and as I stopped focusing on the polished steel refrigerator I noticed that I was talking with my mom.  She looked like the last time I saw her relatively healthy, which was around April or May of 2008.  I can’t tell you what we were talking about, but when I noticed that I was actually seeing and speaking to my mother, I stopped her right in the middle of her sentence, held her hand and pulled her in for a hug as I told her “Mom!  Wait!  I need to tell you that I miss you SO much!”  I saw her face so vividly and I couldn’t even get the words out before I broke down crying.  I woke up with my eyes just flooding with tears and I realized what had just happened and I could still feel my hand touching hers and I looked up at the crucifix that was over her casket that is now hanging on one of my bedroom walls and audibly said “Thank you for that moment, Jesus.  Thank you so much.” And I just broke down crying.  I knew it was her and I knew that I had gotten the chance to see her, touch her, and tell her that I miss her so much.

I cried and cried for a good half hour just thinking about how much my mother means to me and how fortunate I was to see her again.  8 years is a long time and so much has happened since then.  I say that but say at the same time that 8 years is nothing either.  Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that we were making our new creations in the kitchen, laughing while listening to music.  She taught me so much, and I took it all for granted.  I’m slowly learning and remembering all the things she taught and tried to teach me even to this day.

So, I’ll end my tale that I’m typing out with tears in my eyes to say to all of you to cherish the time you have with your loved ones.  Never take the people you love for granted and let them know each chance you get that you love them.  I know there are people out in the world that hate to hear that, “I love you”, but tell them anyway (What’s wrong with those people, by the way?).  But when they go, don’t feel too bad either.  If you ask, God may grant you another visit like He did for me.  If we live by God’s example and by the words of His son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we are assured to see them again when we pass on too.

Satisfied

When is it ever enough?  Have you ever stopped to ask yourself that?  Or, are you a person that is never satisfied?  I, as some of you know, am not like that at all.  This topic came on Saturday night and it’s been with me since then.  I know everybody is different and I’m in the minority for thinking the way I do, but I don’t really find myself wanting more from this life.  Aside from my spiritual life, there is really nothing else that I want.  Of course, materialistic people that might happen to stumble upon this blog of mine may call me a complete idiot, but I’ll say this.  This isn’t the last stop for me.  My true reward waits for me in heaven if I can get myself together enough to live in a State of Grace and die in it as well.  That’s not an easy thing to do by any means, especially with the company I choose to keep, but it’s the choice I have made and continue to make.

Anyway, back to the point, after my homie was talking about a co-worker of his who asked him what he planned to do in the future and he started to talk about it, I immediately thought of my own response.  What triggered it was the thing that said co-worker asked him, “You don’t plan to do this the rest of your life, do you?”  Now granted, what I do is not the best job in the world or whatever, but it’s not an entry level job either and it provides me with all of the income that I need to survive.  In reality, that’s all I need.  I’m a man of simple needs.  Growing up with everything that I needed but humbly ingrained that mindset into me, I think.  It’s really that and my religious beliefs that do it, to be honest.  Matthew, chapter 5, aka the Sermon on the Mount/ The Beatitudes is what I’m talking about.  I try my best to live my life by that and honestly add Matthew Chapter 6 to that list as well.

See, I can’t wrap my head around the notion of continuing to move jobs just to get a higher paying wage.  I don’t understand the need for wealth, and overpriced possessions.  Whenever our number is called and we choose where we want to go (because it really is our choice by our actions about where our ultimate destination will be), our possessions will not go with us.  So, that flash car, those overpriced name brand clothes, and that giant house that you got to impress people with are going to stay here.  It’s pointless.  I’ve always thought that way since I became of the age of relative reason.  Having that mindset, however, has probably caused the loss of opportunities in my life, well when it comes to the love life department at least.  I mean, who the hell would want a humble, quiet, and simple man who doesn’t wear fancy clothes, lives in a good sized apartment, and doesn’t drive a flashy car?  Not very many if at all.  Hahahaha!

I’ll admit it.  I’m a very boring dude.  I find joy in the simplest of things.  A great song, a funny movie, an interesting conversation, a thought provoking podcast, watching the sun rise and/or set are just some of the things that I find joy in.  I don’t need to be the top dog wherever I am.  I don’t need to have the most expensive car, the biggest house, the most “friends”, none of that.  I just need to get myself onto the right path to make it to heaven to be in bliss for eternity.  Whatever and whoever God decides to bless me with along the way is perfectly fine for me.

 

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