Words Matter

My generation gets the majority of their information from social media sites instead of books and actual life experiences. This would be fine if people took the time to actually learn about topics, read full articles from original sources, and make their own conclusions through researching multiple perspectives. Most of the time though, they do not take the time to do that and it is becoming increasingly evident in their lifestyles. We settle for “what meets the eye” as the truth, presented to us by biased media sources. We’ll take the time to retweet the opinion of an actor we like because they might have been in one of our favorite movies. That qualifies them to only make credible unbiased statements, right? We refuse to delve deeper beyond what is noncontroversial to the majority and those things that provide us with fleeting feelings of happiness. Words and their meaning matter and the context in which they are used matters as well. No matter what you believe, it is important to distance yourself from comfort so that you can clearly and objectively see the absolute truth.

This is why it is important to understand what you support, especially with all of the issues we are facing today. Pro-“choice” sounds comfortable and safe. Obviously “pro-mutilation of children in the womb” wouldn’t work as well for the leftists agenda, although Hillary has no qualms with letting babies that survive botched abortions die outside the womb. So does the left actually consider them children when they leave the womb or is it just whenever it is convenient for them? What is convenient is usually selfish. This applies to every thought, action, and belief that we have. When I buy new clothes I do not really need, with money I could have given to help others, selfishness. When I avoid volunteering or going to Mass to watch television, selfishness. Selfishness is the root of all sin and evil. I know we want life to be relaxing, easy and fun all of the time. The Devil knows that, too. That is why I have found in life that I am the most depressed and have the most anxiety when I am dwelling in self-pity or self-indulgence. I have been my happiest when putting others before myself and resisting the urge to feed my ego. Pride blinds you from truth and makes you deem what you “want” as what is “right”. Unfortunately many people continue to believe that what brings you comfort and pleasure should be associated with the right way to live. I call that sleeping through life.

It is difficult to wake up to what is going on in the world around you, to look beyond yourself. And not just when it is easy. This means putting people first even when those people don’t deserve it in our eyes. We are all unworthy and recognizing we are all flawed is how we can truly accept and love one another and ourselves. There are things you naturally want in life but that does not mean you should always have it. Being a parent is one of the best ways to realize that, by putting your children first and also teaching them that they cannot always get what they want. If you let yourself have what you want all of the time then it will lose value and purpose to you. Sex is often seen as something we “deserve” to have and people say that it is natural need. Yes, sex is natural but is meant to create life. When it is twisted to feed selfishness, it loses its sacredness. Taking away that sacredness is makes it easier to abort a child when they do not fit into a selfish plan. Even with ample amounts of birth control available, people are having sex and getting pregnant. If you want to live a selfish lifestyle then that is a choice you can make, but it is absolutely disgusting to kill innocent children because you are so selfishly absorbed with yourself.

Feminists claim to be pro-women? All I see are insecure women trying to be more like immature men and then hating on mature men that call them out on it. Liberals and abortion clinics claim to be about women’s health and having control of their bodies but refuse to acknowledge the mental and physical detriment it inflicts on those same women and their bodies. I will never support that. I’m sorry, liberal women, that you have such hatred for women who actually take responsibility for their actions.

C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

Humility. What a concept. Pride and selfishness are the opposite of humility and patience which are sacred virtues we should all hope to acquire. Society tells you that your mistakes shouldn’t define the rest of your life. An unplanned pregnancy is not a mistake, it is a realistic possibility when you choose to have sex. Having a child is a life-altering experience but being an adult is accepting responsibility and true acceptance is people allowing you to know your options in that situation. The selfless choice is to have the baby and keep it or give it to a family. It is not the easy decision but it is the one resulting from true love. Be aware of your decisions and do for others more than you do for yourself. I promise you will feel more fulfilled than you ever did taking the path that seemed easy. Be smart and refuse to settle, dig deeper and always try to acquire more knowledge. Your faith will be ridiculed and even mocked as a security blanket to hide behind. It is the absolute opposite. Faith is living the truth no matter the consequences. It is much easier to create your own morals than to live by absolute truths. Christianity calls you to put Him before yourself just as Jesus selflessly laid down his life for us.

“I didn’t go to religion to make me ‘happy’. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity”- C.S. Lewis

Simplicity

This last week my family and I went on a camping trip at Toronto Lake. We stayed in cabins that overlooked the water and basically had a secluded cove to ourselves. Growing up, my four older siblings and I were blessed to be able to go on camping trips as often as my parents could take us in the summers. There are some people who have never gone camping, people who hate camping, and people who don’t understand going somewhere to sleep outside. I never saw camping like that.

It may not be the fanciest of vacation choices but what it comes down to is having the right people with you. Every morning this last week my siblings and parents were up before 7 a.m. sitting around the smokey campfire with coffee in hand. No alarms set. No one to look good for. Just people who you feel comfortable and secure with. People you want to lay and watch the stars with and wake up to watch the sunset with.Some of my best childhood memories are from camping trips. Helping my brothers bait their hooks for fishing, riding my bike around campsites, making smores, and swimming in lakes that contained catfish the size of cars (in my eight year old self’s imagination). This year we were blessed to be able to stay in charming and cozy cabins, a step up from sleeping on the ground with only nylon fabric to keep out those random thunderstorms. That wasn’t the only difference.

Camping as a kid and camping as an adult are two entirely different things. Everything is not as new and exciting as it was when we were little. That is why I am so grateful for my five nephews that helped me witness that new and exciting feeling again on this camping trip. Seeing them out on kayaks and taking walks with their grandparents. Having them tell me they’ll make smores, for everyone else first before they make one for themselves. That childhood sweetness and aim to please the people you care about. In a lot of ways kids can be selfish which is natural part of being a child. But the amount of times they choose to be selfless for nothing in return but to make someone else happy, that is something to learn from. The random hugs around the waist and even the jokes at my expense made me realize how important these moments are. They won’t always want to play cards with me or sit on my lap. Soon they’ll be too busy making their own way into adulthood.

Camping trips are about the simplicity. Slowing down and taking the time to really look at the people you love. Hearing stories you’d never heard before, singing songs you all know the words to, taking hikes that ended up 11 miles longer than planned but you make it back to camp in one piece by the grace of God. You don’t need an itinerary, gourmet meals, or five-star hotels to have a memorable vacation. Are those things nice and would I take advantage of them if I had the money? Probably. But there is a reason we grew up the way we did and made the best of it. I have seen it make my family into humbled, appreciative, and hardworking human beings that enjoy time spent with the people God blessed us to be connected to our entire lives.

The last morning of the trip my brothers and I got up at 5 a.m., made coffee, and headed to watch the sunrise near where we had previously hiked a few days before. I sat wrapped in a blanket watching my brothers find good spots to take pictures for when the sun came over the horizon. My dog ran off to explore the quiet woods and I watched the water reflect the rapidly changing colors of the morning sky. We got to watch a doe walk quietly through the woods across the bridge from us. Simplicity. In many ways the most simple things in life are the most stunning and the most valuable.