Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving in 2014

So I realized I've been doing Thanksgiving wrong all these years. Instead of trying to reflect on everything I could possibly be thankful for in life, I think a more effective approach would be to narrow the focus and reflect on what I am thankful for in the past year.

So, this past year, that answer is pretty damn straightforward and easy.  Almost exactly a year ago was the day I broke my hip.  It was actually probably the best experience of my life and I'm still learning from it.  I really thank God for that fateful day and all the blessings it continues to bring me.

Recovery was a very slow and humbling process.  I went from super fitness girl whose body enabled her to do anything, to basically the paralytic whose body enabled her to do nothing.  I was on crutches for four months, and during that time the muscles in my leg atrophied so much that at one point my right leg was half the size of my left leg.  The first few weeks out of the hospital were really difficult, and that is when I was most mad at God for taking away everything I worked so hard for.  But I used the down time to further my fitness goals, reading even more fitness articles, making plans for what I would do when I'm better, and taking advantage of the knowledge of my physical therapists by learning as much as I possibly could from them.

Now, I still can't believe that only a year later, when I am still technically recovering, I've achieved fitness feats I hadn't even dreamed of achieving.  I feel like Abraham when God told him to sacrifice Isaac, at first so bewildered and confused at His will, but putting my faith in Him, I ended up bountifully rewarded.  I really believe I would not be capable of what I am now if I did not have the motivation provided by my injury propelling me forward.

The gym was fun before, it was my sanctuary, it was my escape from the world.  But now it is something so much better.  I really feel like every workout is a gift from God that could easily be taken away in a moment.  It is no longer my escape from the world, since He permanently branded reality onto my body, but rather a time to remember that none of this strength comes from me but is a gift He gives me to enjoy.  And remembering that it is His strength and not mine is probably why I am so much stronger now than I was before.

This is the case with everything I could possibly take for granted.  I might get frustrated with school, but He didn't have to give me this opportunity to expand my intellect and He could take it away any moment.  I might get fed up with friends or family, but He didn't have to give me these people who help me and teach me and provide me with so much love.  He didn't have to give me this life to experience all the pain and pleasures and hardships and hopes.  In truth, this is not my life, it is His.  It is all a gift, and it is all His, bountifully lent to us and meant to be appreciated as sacred.

I still have some pain and setbacks because of my injury.  But I endure them with pleasure and gratitude.  How could I not welcome a glorious reminder that my life belongs to Him?

Other reflections on my injury:

Other times trying to be thankful this year:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Singles Negativity

I think this issue sincerely needs to be addressed, especially among young single Coptic women.

Can we just stop pitying ourselves?  Can we stop being so insecure thinking that we are never going to find good men?  Can we stop thinking there is no such thing as a real man anymore who will make a good father and husband?  Can we stop thinking that making yourself attractive means being forced to be fake?  Can we stop thinking that God is not guiding our lives and does not want good gifts for His children?  And can we stop thinking that the problem is completely outside of us?

A friend getting engaged or married should not make you insecure and loath yourself.  You should just be genuinely happy for them.  Marriage is a tough path meant for salvation, and you think salvation is an easy thing?  There is a reason St. Paul said it is worked out with fear and trembling.  They have a long road of beating the flaws out of each other and struggling to raise kids in a confused and tumultuous and ungodly world.  The grass is not always greener on the other side.  The moment you have a "woe-is-me-why-does-no-one-like-me" thought, use that as a trigger to say a prayer for them and snap back to reality.

Don't think your complaining about loneliness and feeling like there is no one out there for you doesn't affect anyone.  It oozes out and makes all your fellow sisters second guess their contentedness.  Not only that, but the more we have a negative view of men, the more blind we will become to seeing the good men.

Regardless of how stupid the men are around us, let us be thankful that they exist.  God didn't make a mistake putting them here.  And the single most important and effective thing we can do is pray for them.  It is freaking hard being a real man in this society when all it wants to do is stunt your growth.  God wants their salvation, wants what is best for them, and wants to guide their hearts obviously more than anyone, so who am I to wag my finger and look up at the sky with skepticism at His work?

Let's be THANKFUL for this time in our lives where we can focus on our own individual flourishing.   Christ told us to take the planks out of our own eyes first.  May God never send any man my way until I am spiritually mature and prepared to raise children in His fear.