Editor’s Note: Below is a letter I wrote to my unborn daughter Lucia Faustina who we buried on 12/19/2017.
Today, I stood aside a grave of another unborn child. I will never be able to hold you in my arms, or gaze joyfully at your face, or comfort you when you cry. It is not natural for a father to bury his child. This is truly a surreal and somber experience. Hope is the only thing getting me through this day–this week. The virtue of hope will be key to helping me through the next several months as I grapple with the loss of my sweet daughter.
Your name means “light”. Lucia I pray for strength to live out my vocation as a husband and father to your amazing mother and siblings. I guarantee that your brothers and sister would adore you. I am also confident that you are looking over us in communion with Jeremiah, St. Lucy, the Blessed Virgin and all the other saints in Heaven.
Please send our Heavenly Father my supplications for daily pardon and peace. I am reeling from losing you, but I understand that hope can never be lost if I cling to God’s Providence. May the light of God radiate upon your family as you provided light to your mother and I even though it was for what seemed a fleeting moment.
Your siblings and your mother deeply miss you. We hope to be united with your after our pilgrim journey in this life is completed.
With great love and gratitude,
Saint Lucy Pray for Us
Whose beautiful name signifies ‘LIGHT’
by the light of faith which God bestowed upon you
increase and preserve His light in my soul
so that I may avoid evil,
Be zealous in the performance of good works
and abhor nothing so much as the blindness and
the darkness of evil and sin.
Obtain for me, by your intercession with God
Perfect vision for my bodily eyes
and the grace to use them for God’s greater honor and glory
and the salvation of souls.
St. Lucy, virgin and martyr
hear my prayers and obtain my petitions.
🚫 Demands without the grace of time & patience makes success almost impossible.
This year has been bat**** (no pun intended) crazy from millisecond number one.
I never juggled while getting chased by a rabid platypus but I think I still have time to check that off my not-bucket list. 😉
Your plans probably didn’t work out (unless you’re currently on contingency plan 215— this means you probably beat life and unlocked bonus levels).
😔 Mine haven’t worked out not in the slightest.
Frustration brews daily.
What new challenge will slam us now?
I’m writing this post with the four minutes of free time I have to get this message out— suffering doesn’t make you a failure.
No, suffering means you’re a human. A freaking normal, beautiful human being.
Crises bring out the worst in people.
But pressure and stress over a long time can transform ugliness into beauty.
Thankfully, you have have time.
💎 Time to achieve your dreams (it not be how you planned or expected but God’s plan usually surprises people)
Are you coal or a diamond or something in between?
💎 How have the pressures of 2020 transitioned you from coal into a diamond?
#writing #personaldevelopment #2020 #life
Editor’s note: Article originally published on September 7, 2017.
Dear Fellow Souls and Pilgrims on this Earthly Journey,
Hopelessness seems to cover the world. Hurricane Harvey decimated large parts of Houston. South Asia continues to experience chronic flooding. People suffer across the globe in large and small ways. Today, I wish to share my recent episodes of depression, I am not writing to complain about my situation, rather I hope to unite my suffering [albeit quite small in comparison to others] to others in great need. I want to be in communion with my fellow man.
According to Helen Keller,
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
I cannot grow as a decent human being without learning from the school of suffering.
Depression Strikes Often
Depression hit me again the past few weeks. Similar to an ocean, anxiety and sadness move in waves with brief periods of respite before the next deluge of depression comes crashing onto my shore. I feel a sense of hopelessness.
What is going on with my life to trigger these feelings? To be frank, I am not sure. Life appears to be going well: I have an amazing wife, family, good shelter, and a job. I had a recent change in anxiety medicine and changes are occurring rather frequently at work. Still, these concerns should be minor compared to people suffering loss due to the recent natural disasters. Depression shrinks my perspective. I see through narrower glasses.
Perhaps, you are similar to me. If you suffer from depression, whether it is severe or mild I want to unite myself to your suffering. I wish to take up my cross if only it may help widen my scope. Prying open a narrow gaze is painful. However, authentic and natural development involves growing pains.
Share Your Suffering with Others
If you are downtrodden, as I am currently, share your experience. Talk with people you trust. Talk to God—it works. Prayer is effective because it is communication with Him who created the universe. Oftentimes, I need to fall unto my knees and become downtrodden before I am able to gaze upward in prayer. Saint Mother Teresa once said, “Joy is prayer; joy is strength: joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”
Although, I know my depression may likely come back again, I am aware of a strength to get me through the valley of tears—prayer. Prayer ultimately leads me toward an even-keeled path in my pilgrim journey on earth.
With great love and hope to alleviate your downtrodden soul,
Matthew, The Simple Catholic
Suffering is necessary for transformation.
If I did not suffer I would not be able to rely on God as much and I would not be able to be so aware of how sinful person I am.
Pride. Greed. Sloth. Lust. Gluttony. Anger. Envy.
I suffer from all these deadly sins.
I am suffering from them a lot less than I did five years ago.
Going through the trauma of losing all that I lost in 2014 made me the man I am today.
But God‘s not done with me. And I don’t want to be done with me not until I learned to be so unselfish that it’s so natural not just a majority of the time but all the time.
I just don’t want to be a good person I want to be a saint.
I want to be a person that others look to for help and encouragement.
Suffering sucks. But you know what?
Jesus suffered. Worse than anything I will endure.
If he didn’t avoid pain what makes me so special to think I should avoid suffering.
Suffering transforms. Makes you beautiful.
How is your Holy Triduum going?
What things can I pray for you?
The greatest writing ✍️ occurs during the worst suffering.
Suffering is universal. It is inevitable. Humans do not have to travel long or far in this world before suffering rears its ugliness!
This is the primary reason why I believe my writing on my personal suffering appeals to others—because people suffer daily.
But I have seen beautiful words from countless people across social media channels.
We long for truth, goodness, & beauty. In the face of a faceless enemy, we unite.
There exists tremendous beauty in unity.
I can’t remember a crisis where I smiled so much during the present moment. I learned to find the grace of my past pain over through hindsight.
But we are presently in 2020 (hindsight). The mystery of suffering leads us to the mystery of Truth.
United we stand. Divided we…never mind. I don’t think we will get too divided. This crisis is too big to let our differences to get in the way.
I wish it didn’t take suffering to unite. But that is the way reality often works.
Let’s be thankful for more time at home.
Focus on fostering unity in your family. Thank God for social media as we can stay connected mentally & emotionally in spite of physical distances.
One day you will be able to hug your brother or sister or friends.
Until the virus is contained, please exercise good hygiene, common sense, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you fortitude and kindness. 🖖
😟Anxiety is part of life. It stems from a desire to control all aspects and realizing you can’t.
I have experienced that in a real way the past week.
My kids stayed home from school with influenza A for a week.
Sorry about being able to pay the bills is always a struggle.
Tiredness and the inability to push through tasks frustrated me to no end.
Today is better. But I only accomplished 5% of what I wanted to get done.
The latest news about everything going all with the pandemic gave me perspective:
1️⃣ My problems pale in comparison to others.
Even our struggles with teaching our special needs children how to communicate and deal with daily tasks is nothing versus the struggle others are facing.
2️⃣ I still have my faith and my wife—both foundations for me to cling to in difficult times.
I trust in God that good will prevail. My wife is a special education teacher so she is having to face the reality of how to juggle students absences and their make-up work.
Focusing on sacrificing my work goals to alleviate her stress gives me peace.
A simple step I will take is to focus on smiling more—and getting others to smile back.
Reading the Scriptures helps provide me peace. Here is a Bible passage that gives me comfort—Matthew 6:25-34. I hope it helps bring you peace too.
How will you bring more cheer and less gloom in your life?