Name Your Addiction

+ JMJ +

What’s the most addictive substance on earth? Yeah you know. If not before, you know now because of the feature image.

I didn’t know how addictive sugar was until I fasted from it to overcome a habitual sin. I felt like I was dying. Yes. Sugar has withdrawal effects. It effected my clarity of thinking and how I felt physically…

But. My reason here is not to give a post on the crazy amount of people who are sugar addicts. I’m wanting to speak to the invisible addictions in our lives.

Like…

TV shows. Video/computer games. Smart phone. Social media.

There are more… but I’m choosing these, as I’ve been the victim.

TV Shows

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When I was a kid, I had a friend invite me over to pray the rosary (Christine H. B.). I refused, because Spiderman was on then… It opened my eyes, because that wasn’t the first time I turned someone down due to the TV. (I was probably… 11/12) I realized that I was placing the importance of a cartoon over a friend–and of course the Lord.

Video/Computer Games

Sims_Social_LogoY’all remember when Sims came out? Yeah; I do. Oh boy! I played it so much it infiltrated reality. I went to a party and was like this is getting droll. They need music. They need more food. They need… It was like I saw the meters over everyone’s heads and the tips scrolling in front of me. When I left, I was like alright… I’d rather live in reality and be with people–real people; not simulations of people. I canned the game.

Smart Phone

Yeah… I get lost in my phone. So much so, I am checked out when it comes to my Liturgy of the Hours, even though I have to make my Mary Poppins bag (my purse) heavier.* Is it because I like being old school? I do, but that is not it. It’s because when I open my phone there’s a million other things to do on it. On top of that, it’ll push me to make sure I know there are a million other things to do on it…

What happened to putting the phone in your purse when you go out to eat with your friend? Wait. What? I need to take a picture of the food I’m eating and a selfie with my friend!

What did we do before cell phones? Uh, we survived. If you go out and forget your phone, I bet people are not going to automatically think you up and died… well with my response rate, I know some people think I die. I have read many, “Are you alive?” texts.

I took a video on my phone of a friend’s album release party… part of it I’m glad, but at the same time I missed the experience of “being” and listening. It was in May. I have watched the videos once. Yeah. It wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t focused. Plus, if I really want to see it again, I can pest them to give me access to their professional video sometime, which I think will knock my tremored-iPhone video out of the park. My pictures with His Own would have been extremely satisfactory negating the videos.

Social Media

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If we talk social media, there’s no argument that it is addictive. People have the whole compare and contrast issue. Me… It is a time drain. I mean y’all know all I really post is stuff about my homeboy Jesus and the marvelous models of how to live the Christian life, the saints. Sure, but the time I’ve wasted finding out what my name means in a non-existent language, what JTT look like now, what was the most wanted toy the year I was born…

Are those articles bad? No. But… Everything needs to be done in moderation. There is a lot of time that these consume my life.

Well, It’s Not Alcohol or Drugs…

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No; but we are all asked to keep everything in moderation.

Are you A2J?

I get asked this every time I see my friend, Rocky. Are YOU? It stands for “Addicted to Jesus”. I get asked, “Are you A2J? Every day? All the way?” Yeah. haha. I am. I don’t mind being a Jesus freak. People think I’m crazy, but I’m high on the Holy Ghost. My side effects of being addicted to Jesus are joy, kindness, compassion, smiles, hugs, encouragement, support, generosity…

Still, with every addiction there is withdrawal effects. Don’t withdrawal from Jesus. The symptoms are loneliness, despair, despondency, hopelessness, darkness, hurt, restlessness…

Be A2J. All the way. Every day.

+ Pax

Kristen Elizabeth Thérèse von Clef, OFS, A2J

*my purse weighs enough to need a seatbelt… (passenger seatbelt light goes off)

To Be is to Love

+ JMJ +

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of my maternal grandmother’s death. What always comes to mind around this time of year are the memories of her life, how I was included and how I was impacted. Another thing that comes to mind every year, are the days leading up to her passing.

Anyone can understand that the loss of a loved one is the hardest part of life—even if they haven’t lost someone themselves. However, no one, whether they have or not, can ever quite find the words to console those that are mourning.

Friend Amongst Strangers

As a 9th grade homeschool student, I went to a weekly Christian co-op to take a Spanish class. This took place the semester before my grandmother’s passing and was the first that I attended. There were a lot of new faces and being a new kid in any school is a little nerve-racking. However, one of the new faces was a girl named, Paula. She had a very peaceful aura and was the first to reach out to me. We saw each other weekly from September to mid-December as we learned our newly discovered language. Towards the end of the semester we began to frequently talk to each other on the phone—for hours. 😛

At the beginning of the new year, my grandmother’s health began to fail. During this time, I was abandoned by my best friend due to the fact they found it too hard to be around someone in that state in life. This was very hard, as I’m sure you can imagine. My mother hurt for me not having someone there to support me.

The conversations with Paula began to become more frequent as I had no one else to whom I could turn. As my grandmother’s health continued to grow worse and my family knew she was close to the end, Paula discerned that she could be a great deal of help to me. She asked her mother if she could come stay with me. And it was then that I discovered the power of “being”.

The Art of a “Being” Human

I’m going to jump ahead a little bit. I’m not exactly sure the day, month, year, but my mom discovered this thing called “Affirmation Therapy.” “…it is a way of “being” with a person as opposed to “doing” something to or for her. Affirmation therapy can be formally described as a way of being affectively present to another human person in a therapeutic relationship in which the therapist reveals to the client his or her intrinsic goodness and worth. Affirmation is a profound way of being with someone that should not be mistaken for a set of simplistic techniques such as giving a pat on the back or a superficial compliment.” When we learned this and we reveled in the gloriousness of it, we looked back on the person who did it best—even though they didn’t know they were doing it.

They were Paula.

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When my grandmother lay dying in her bed, I sat on the couch beside her. I sat with Paula. She didn’t do anything. She didn’t talk to me. Most people would look at this as say, “Well, yeah. Of course she didn’t have anything to say, she was a 16 year old. What kind of sage advice would she have?” As I said before, most people don’t know what to say—no matter what their age is. But my point here is: she didn’t have to. She didn’t have to say a word. And she was more than comfortable with not having that ability. She had something greater to give. Presence. She was “being” with me. She was letting me feel my emotions. She wasn’t trying to tell me words to “fix” me. It’s almost unexplainable. I just leaned on her and cried.  We did sing worship music and prayed with my grandmother. But for the most part, I just sat there. She just sat there. It was enough.

To Be or Not To Be

This world is going going going. No one sits with people anymore without “doing”. It’s so hard to “be” in this constant state of motion. To live the affirmed life “means learning to “be present to everything in creation” and learning how to live in a more quiet and unhurried manner.” Paula showed me, as part of God’s creation, that I was worth “being” present with. She was quiet. She was unhurried. She was content with not having words to speak. She was exactly what I needed.

We all have trials in our lives with which we need people there to support us. Some of those trials cannot be consoled with words. This power. This power of “being”. Of being allowed to feel those emotions that come on so strongly. Of being able to not be shut down for feeling sad. Of being able to be present with someone without them feeling as if they need to “fix” you. Harness it, my friends. Wield this power. Those you love will be forever grateful you did.

+ Pax + | KK