Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And in the end, it doesn't even matter

This week has been more than a little rough, to say the least.  It was the kind of week that slaps you in the face, punches you in the gut, steals your money,  and runs like hell. It was the kind of week you want to yell at God and your friends and tell them exactly how mad you are and how uncool they are. Don't even let me start on how it makes you feel about the people you have a hard time liking.

At the same time, it was the kind of week that makes you beyond grateful; grateful to have known such a stellar soul, grateful to have friends who will let you yell at them and then spend hours talking to you and drawing you out from your grief, grateful for the kind look from the professor who couldn't help but notice the tears you were desperately trying to hold back as you asked what he'd like for lunch or the father who saw you crying at Mass and put down his sleeping child so that he could reach out and say "Peace be with you", grateful for hugs from coworkers, and kind words from total strangers whose life was also touched by a friend, even though they had never met him.

It was the kind of week that makes you seriously think; about life, and it's unpredictably and fragility, about direction and where to go and what you're doing with your life, about pain and suffering, death, loss, and what really matters. And the truth is, honestly? In the end.... very little matters.

Though I am young, I am not new to grief. I have thought these thoughts before. While I loved my cousin, I did not know my cousin very well, and though this may be selfish, I mourned that I didn't know him, more than I was able to mourn his life. My friend, Kevin, who died in 2009 was a good friend, but we hadn't seen each other in over a year. We kept in touch, and I missed him, and his death shook me, but never quite as much as this week has. Perhaps it is the combination of all of these deaths that has helped make this week so difficult, because when I think of these things, I do not always think of one individually, but often, of the three of them.

Jon was a good friend mine, but he was one of my best friend's closest friend. I would often get frustrated with both of them, because they would rarely do anything separately and Scharf generally got the better deal. I would tease them about their "bromance" and give them a hard time about ditching me. And in end, when he's gone - what does it even matter? The answer is... it REALLY doesn't. Scharf was in Ave before the accident. They had told me that they were gonna chill with some other friends that Friday and wanted me to come. I had Fridays off and was really looking forward to it. Thursday night, I was told that I would have to work Friday. Getting someone to cover a 14 hour shift on Friday is impossible. Weighing that in my mind along with the fact that it was 14 hours which I would otherwise lose, I told them I would have to work and would have to catch up with Scharf on his next trip to FL. That 14 hours? What does it matter? It matters not at all. I could have made it without those hours. And while I couldn't have known that it would be my last chance to ever hang out with Scharf, it still makes you think. I HATE getting my picture taken. As a result, I have no pictures with either of my friends. What does the frizz that I perceive in my hair or the blemish on my skin matter now? It doesn't. Not one bit. (Especially now that I know how to edit pictures better...).

I am lucky to know 3 good men who died, men who showed true characteristics of greatness. It's a great comfort to know that their lives have impacted so many people for the better.

So be sure and kiss your children, call your mom and tell her that love her, drop a note of thanks to a friend, take that picture of you and your loved one even if it's crazy stupid, talk to the sibling(s) you've been avoiding,  smile at the stranger instead of scowling. Let go of the anger (easier said than done. Trust me, I know this), let go of the awkward silences. Find a way to turn those into love before the Things That Really Don't Matter After They're Gone, become the Things I Should Have Done or Said.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Farewell for now

Today is the type of day that a person dreads, the type of day you never want to see: the day when you say your final farewells to a friend and he is laid to rest in his final resting place on earth.

Today is also the first feast day of Blessed Pope John Paul II, a man Jon admired and emulated, which adds even more poignancy to this day. Blessed JPII's motto "Be not afraid" was truly lived out by Jon. He was a guy who was not afraid to swim against the current, or to blaze a new trail. He had just launched the "Pregnant on Campus Initiative" with the goal of getting resources and help to parenting college students. (See him in action here and here ) It was quite amazing to listen to him speak in philosophy classes ( I particularly enjoyed my Aesthetics class with him).

I will miss discussing art and politics and life and what to do when people disappoint you and drinks and dancing and everything with him. I was blessed to have seen him one more time a couple of weeks before he died. This is something I wrote a couple days ago, but want to put it here.

Jon WAS a very good man and a good friend. I will miss him very much. Every day for work, I walk by the window where he used to sit and work on the Pro Life banquet or other projects for SFL at AMU, where he’d make faces at me or make fun of me from. It saddens me beyond belief to know that I will not see that goofy smile again in this life.
In the original articles in the Macon newspaper, only Kortney and the other driver were listed as victims. Yesterday, when reporting Jon’s death, the newspaper also listed Sophy (they did not name her, but they did include her) as a victim of this terrible tragedy. I truly believe that this is a testament to Jon’s work and proof that even his death will not stop his fight for the unborn in this world.
He and Kortney will be guiding this movement from Heaven.Jon, I was blessed to have known you. Farewell, and rest in peace, my beautiful friend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The World has Lost a(nother) Beautiful Soul

And we have lost a wonderful friend, Jonathan Daniel Scharfenberger, champion of the unborn. I do not think that words can describe how much he will be missed by those he leaves behind. It is a shame that the world will not see your smile or hear you crack a joke again. But I am very grateful for the chance to have seen it and to be amused by your sense of humor. Rest in peace, Scharf.

‎"When the time comes, as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, thefinal judgment, I've often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God -- and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there'll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world -- and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, 'Spare him, because he loved us!'"

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I wish my house would do this

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On the subject of...

As Catholics, we have a incredibly rich heritage of Art: music, painting, sculpting, architecture, literature - all of these enrich our Tradition amazingly. Yet in never really occurred to me how many different expressions of the same subject there are until recently. And the other day, this was really cemented for me when I was reading about a painting, that after years and years of uncertainty, was confirmed to be Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi". Because we have those in music too. So I thought that I would put together in a post some art, some music, and some writing all focused on Jesu, Salvator Mundi. 

Jesu, Salvator Mundi

I am going to put these first, not because I think they are more important, but because I think it is edifying to listen to the music, read the words, and see the images as a unit, rather than as individual examples. 

From the Dialogues of St. Catherine (of Sienna)
“So it happened that Catherine, being arrived at the age of six, went one day with her brother Stephen, who was a little older than herself, to the house of their sister Bonaventura, who was married to one Niccol˜, as has been mentioned above, in order to carry something or give some message from their mother Lapa. Their mother’s errand accomplished, while they were on the way back from their sister’s house to their own and were passing along a certain valley, called by the people Valle Piatta, the holy child, lifting her eyes, saw on the opposite side above the Church of the Preaching Friars a most beautiful room, adorned with regal magnificence, in which was seated, on an imperial throne, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, clothed in pontifical vestments, and wearing on His head a papal tiara; with Him were the princes of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, and the holy evangelist John. Astounded at such a sight, Catherine stood still, and with fixed and immovable look, gazed, full of love, on her Savior, who, appearing in so marvelous a manner, in order sweetly to gain her love to Himself, fixed on her the eyes of His Majesty, and, with a tender smile, lifted over her His right hand, and, making the sign of the Holy Cross in the manner of a bishop, left with her the gift of His eternal benediction. The grace of this gift was so efficacious, that Catherine, beside herself, and transformed into Him upon whom she gazed with such love, forgetting not only the road she was on, but also herself, although naturally a timid child, stood still for a space with lifted and immovable eyes in the public road, where men and beasts were continually passing, and would certainly have continued to stand there as long as the vision lasted, had she not been violently diverted by others. But while the Lord was working these marvels, the child Stephen, leaving her standing still, continued his way down hill, thinking that she was following, but, seeing her immovable in the distance and paying no heed to his calls, he returned and pulled her with his hands, saying: ‘What are you doing here? why do you not come?’ Then Catherine, as if waking from a heavy sleep, lowered her eyes and said: ‘Oh, if you had seen what I see, you would not distract me from so sweet a vision!’ and lifted her eyes again on high; but the vision had entirely disappeared, according to the will of Him who had granted it, and she, not being able to endure this without pain, began with tears to reproach herself for having turned her eyes to earth.” Such was the “call” of St. Catherine of Siena, and, to a mind intent on mystical significance, the appearance of Christ, in the semblance of His Vicar, may fitly appear to symbolize the great mission of her after-life to the Holy See.

da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' 

Fra Bartolomeo

Domenico Fetti

St. Agnes' in NY State

Not really sure about this one
I just liked it. 

Same with this one. 

"Jesus, Saviour of the world, come to the assistance of Your children, who, through Your blood, You have saved."

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's such a big shoe store...

Well, it's here. One hundred twenty-five thousand dollars and four and a half years later, I'm no longer a student. But now... now I am faced with the inevitable question of "what next???" I think it's even more scary than "how am I going to pay for this?" or "what major should I choose?" (which for me was quite scary. I chose four different ones between freshman and junior year and changed schools completely after I decided). Right now, I am in a merciful state of limbo: I am renting a house near the university until September while I have three jobs and will hopefully be able to save a decent amount of money so that I can afford whatever does come next.

It's kind of funny: I've worked so hard to get here and now, I've got so many options that I feel like someone just handed me a significant gift to card to a really great shoe store (that doesn't practice big feet discrimination.) What pair do I try on first? And do I have to buy the first pair that I try on? That's some pressure, right there. What if I pick the wrong ones? What if they don't fit. Do I want the comfortable, practical ones or the ones that are maybe not the most comfortable but that are so incredibly cute (and knowing me, probably purple) that it really doesn't matter how badly my feet hurt when I finally do take them off. What if the gift card isn't enough to cover it? Do I really want to be stuck with this particular pair of shoes for the rest of my life? Am I sure I didn't just accidentally walk into the tattoo parlor, not the shoe store????

Do I continue my studies? And if so, in what direction? Music? Law? Education? Psychology? Photography? Culinary arts? Is it normal to have a choice field so broad? Although I suppose that if I am honest, I know that photography and culinary schools are in places five and six. I'm not incredibly interested in going to grad school for music, and there is only one place where I'm qualified to study Psychology (that I know of. IPS). Which helps to narrow down the list.

Do I just enter the workforce as an enthusiastic young person with lots of debt to pay off and therefore willing to work nights and weekends? But in what field? Yay for lots of resume filling experiences (for a 22 year old) and liberal arts educations, yeah?

So many options, so many choices. Lucky for me, I do not have to make them today. Today, I'm not going to worry about that. Today, I'm simply going to enjoy my first official day off. And my first day of not returning to the classroom. For now, anyway.