How powerful it is to write that hashtag…#bringit2017 because you dropped bricks on me in 2016 and I’m still standing, much stronger than I was on 1/1/16. I’ve never been one to look backwards, survey the landscape of the previous year and make new year’s resolutions. However, 2016 wasn’t just any ordinary year in the lives of Patrick and Ryan.
I remember taking Ryan outside at midnight on 1/1/16 and shooting off fireworks that Nana had bought for him. He wanted Theresa to watch but she was in too much pain to get out of bed. We went outside in the cold and put on the best show we could. Little did I know that just 3 weeks later would we learn that her breast cancer had spread to just about every organ, leg bones and brain. I knew deep down in October 2015 that Theresa would not live to see 2017. I’m forever grateful for that still voice that came to me sitting in a Byzantine chapel in Pittsburgh in June 2015. It prepared me for what was to come in 2016 and allowed me to be strong for Ryan.
I returned to Seminary in June 2016 full of hope and anticipation. However, things weren’t all rosy for me during my stay. My soul was never comfortable while I was there; I spent too much time in my room alone, focusing on the problems of my world and not enough time focusing on what really mattered. This focus on worldly problems continued after I returned home from Pittsburgh and for the next 5 months, I lost my way. My prayer life suffered, I spent less time in service to the church and my attendance at Feast Day liturgies was out to lunch, so to speak.
I had a great conversation with my spiritual director regarding things happening in my life. He mentioned a few things that he had observed. First, he mentioned my lack of attendance at feast days had been noticed and that was so unlike me. Second, he mentioned that my soul seemed troubled; I was nowhere close to being centered. We talked about these items and discussed things happening in my life. He gave me 2 simple things to think about, specifically regarding relationships with others in my life. First, those relationships should be easy, not hard. Second, they should bring out the best in you and if they don’t, you need to evaluate them. Those simple rules are wisdom to live by. Finally, he asked me how often I was asking God what path I was to take. He said, Patrick has tried to do what he wants, but yet his soul is still troubled. Maybe it’s time to realize that you are not the master of your destiny.
As someone who knows the power of saying 5 little words…If it be your will, I finally started praying for guidance in my life. Little by little, joy started to return to my life and my path was made known to me and straight. I attended some of the later feast day liturgies in the year; I found great joy again in praying morning and evening prayers; I found much happiness when I was serving the church. I found that my focus was shifting away from things of this world and back to things of the Kingdom. What a welcome change for me. How I missed the joy of fiat..”Let it be done to me according to your will”. With that fiat came temporal sadness. However, with that fiat also came a clarity, freedom and joy that I had not experienced in years. Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised that I get much of my philosophy from music lyrics…In this case, “And I let go of all my lonely yesterdays, I’ve forgiven myself for the mistakes I’ve made”
Today, while I was in the car driving, the song “It Is Well” came up on random play. As I listened to the words, the soulful singing “It is well, It is well, It is well. So let go my soul and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know his name. It is well with my soul; It is well with my soul; It is well with my soul; It is well with my soul” As those words played out on my stereo, my eyes filled up with tears and all I could say was “Thank you”. Thank you for making known to me my path; Thank you for loving me; Thank you for the prayers for me. I know my path, I know the way forward and I love it. So, when I say #bringit2017, I really mean it. I’m so ready for the way forward. #Fiat