1—It’s my writing day, and that’s a good day, but frankly, I’m in a lot of pain. These road bumps come and go, and I know better than to try reinterpreting my whole life in the light of how I happen to feel today, but today I happen to feel really awful. It’s like those days when you lie in bed shaking with the flu and you just think, “Gosh, I’d like this to over, but it keeps going instead.” Just waiting for the upswing, and in the meantime finding comfort where I can.

2—On the bright side, Pope Francis has released a new encyclical today: Lumen Fidei, the light of faith. You can get it on the Vatican’s website, of course. I’m working my way through it now.

3—I’m super psyched for Matt Jones’ coming out post today. He’s one of the best gay Christian writers I know on the interwebz, and a great human being besides. If you haven’t already read his stuff (as “Jordan”) on Gay Subtlety, there’s a lot of wisdom and entertainment (wisdertainment?) there too.

4—This and other events have me rethinking my own stance towards anonymity. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if I followed suit before too long — partly it’s just a matter of bowing to the inevitable, since my voice is already out there on the net, and soon my face very likely will be too (more on that as that story develops), so maybe my name won’t be that big of a step. But I wanna have some fanfare! I want a party! And also I just want to bide my time and make sure I’m doing it right.

5—Today I needed Confession, like bad, and I actually left my writing spot at the coffee shop in the middle of the day to hunt down the priest after the 12:15 Mass at the Cathedral. Turns out this is the one day he couldn’t make it. That didn’t help my day any. It’s like, you know the Lord isn’t actually telling you “I don’t want to see you” or “I don’t forgive you,” but it’s hard not to feel that way anyway. Catholic Guilt, I know.

6—On the plus side, on my way back to the coffee shop, as I’m processing this and reminding myself of everything I really do know about the Lord, how he’s actually not mean and would actually not rather see me burst into tears in traffic, if it could be avoided, I see this bumper sticker: “Esfuérzate y sé valiente”, be strong and courageous; which is not only relevant but contains a little personal nod, because for me (thanks to my stay in Peru), Spanish is the language of the Lord and of the heart.

Then I look up the full verse and just kind of go, Huh. Well.

7—I’m not nearly as big into Signs as I used to be, but whenever I see something like that, I think of that bit in Lewis’ The Silver Chair:

“Don’t you mind him,” said Puddleglum. “There are no accidents. Our guide is Aslan; and he was there when the giant King caused the letters to be cut, and he knew already all things that would come of them; including this.”

I know that doesn’t do a great job of explaining this moment, but if you’ve read the book you’ll get it, and if you haven’t, you should!

17 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes: Esfuérzate y Sé Valiente

  1. Dave

    I am so happy to hear that I’m not the only person on the planet who sometimes asks priests for confession after Mass. I was starting to think I was the sole remaining sinner.

    Reply
  2. TS

    #5 – Oof, I was there for weeks! Church doors locked at confession time, priest not there, etc, etc. With three small kids and full-time daycare at my house, I’ve got the Saturday confession time, or nothing. Today I went again, doors locked, everything looked empty. I tried every door, walked around, tried the side chapel attached to the church, knocked on the main door, stood back and waited, nothing. Then I squinted like a defiant little kid at the stained glass window above the door and said, “Open up!” The side chapel door popped open with a middle aged fellow’s head peeking through. There was like 50 people in the church and Confession was going on as per usual.

    Reply
  3. Briana

    It really sucks to not be able to get to confession. One time my boyfriend and I were heading to confession and Mass (and if they weren’t in that order, then no Eucharist for me). We got stuck in horrendous traffic. I was so upset, and as it grew closer to Mass time and we inched towards the Church, I started crying and couldn’t stopped. I cried on and off all through Mass because we made it just as Mass was starting. I especially cried after going up and only receiving a blessing during communion. We asked Father to hear our confessions after, but it’s just awful going to Mass and not receiving the Eucharist.

    Reply
  4. Lalaland

    I LOVE Puddleglum!! :-D
    Oh, and the link is broken. :-( Obviously anyone could just Google it (if “anyone” is not too lazy… hehe!), but I thought you may want to know. :-)

    Fab as ALWAYS, Steve!!!

    Reply
  5. Searcheress

    I hope you’ll get better soon.
    Btw. I am amazed by your use of language. It is so simple, precise and you so often hit the nail with so little words.
    Btw.2 Have you ever try to type yourself with MBTI typology? Only courious I am:)

    Reply
  6. John

    I have been following this blog for a while and I am concerned about your spiritual health. It seems that suffering and sacrifice are the means through which you have come to feel god’s presence. Jesus’ death is a recurrent theme in how you discuss your understanding of your life and the burden you carry. There is long line of Christian scholarship that suggests depravity and suffering lead to holiness from Augustine to Bonhoeffer. However, i do not know if this is the most fruitful lens to experience God through.

    Certainly, god is with us when we suffer.

    Reply
  7. TS

    Thanks John! We were only suffering because we thought it was the best and most spiritual thing to do. We’ll stop now!

    Reply
  8. Briana

    I’ve been so down this week, and I’m doing exactly what you said not to do. I’m reevaluating my whole life. I’ve more or less convinced myself that no one likes me. There have been multiple crying spells. How do I get out of this pit? And how do I get a handle on my thoughts?

    Reply
    1. Steve Gershom

      Sometimes I open up a special text file where I track the things I do at a given moment and whether they made me feel better or worse. I include the date, a brief description, and a little plus or minus depending on how it made me feel. It helps me take control of how I’m feeling and reacting on a minute-by-minute basis. And then, since I save the text file, I can go back to it later and see what made me feel better or worse before.

      Also I will say a prayer for you!

      Reply
  9. Richard Kennedy

    Hi,
    Found this site through the St. Paul Arch Diocese paper. Good stuff. Will check-in from time to time.

    Richard

    Reply
  10. Alex

    Man, this blog–and often many of the comments on it–never fails to reassure me that there really are Real People in the world, and that even if I am losing it, at least I’m in really good company. (That sounds backhanded but it’s not.)
    Thanks guys–you renew my faith in humanity. And I’ll keep trying to work on the faith in God part ;)

    Reply
  11. Margaret

    Hi! I came across your blog and was enlightened. In my profession I meet many gay men and some of them are my dear friends. I am a church-going catholic but I feel I cannot reject them even though they chose (not without pain and struggles) a lifestyle that is questionable and destructive. It was very uplifting to read your article “Catholic, gay and living a beautiful life’.

    The quote from ‘The Silver Chair’ reminds me of another one by Lewis:

    “I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the horses the new strength of fear for the last mill so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.”

    I’ve always felt that ‘The horse and his Boy’ is not as much about friendship as it is about Providence. Good luck!

    Reply
  12. Justin

    I hate it when I can’t get to confession when I believe I need to. Recently I went to a place where they have confession on weekdays at 6:45. (I’ve had some bad experiences there; first time I tried to go there was no confession, and I tried knocking on the rectory door and the priest refused, and being disconsolate I called my erstwhile spiritual director and priest-friend. I feel a bit embarrassed about the whole thing now but I was very upset at the time.) Anyway once again I showed up and the confession room — which was made of temporary partitions — was broken down and gone. After attending Mass with no Eucharist I confirmed that there was no confession offered. Not sure if it’s gone for good or not. A shame if it is. The next day I went to a shrine elsewhere fifteen minutes before confession was over — and one person was waiting with one in the box. The person in the box didn’t come out until confession time was five minutes over but the other person waiting must have sensed my anxiety and let me go in instead. The priest graciously agreed to hear my brief confession so that was a grace.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>