Celebrate Anyway

Last night my dad and I watched The Giant Mechanical Man. It was a cute, simple romance about two quirky people who fall in love working at the zoo. As it started, I smiled and I realized something. I told my dad, “This is the first time I’ve smiled in, like three days.” I haven’t left my house in a week, and I didn’t realize how hard that would be. It’s hard not to watch the news when you’re stuck inside with not much else to do. The news is never hopeful, so at dinner time I go to the kitchen where my mom has the TV on and hear about more cases and more deaths because of of the Corona virus.

My plan for this Lent was to give up a game I play on my phone and read The Way of Perfection by Saint Teresa of Avila. Then my dad decided to give up shows and movies. Since he’s my movie buddy, I did, too (we watched one last night because it was a feast day in the Church). Then the Virus got serious and we quarantined ourselves. I’m a very picky eater. My mom has been pretty creative about food, and I have to give her serious credit. Still, I very much miss takeout.

This past weekend was the first in a very long time that I didn’t receive the Eucharist. I’ve been telling myself that this waiting will make receiving Him for the first time once this is all over that much sweeter. I had planned on at least going to Adoration and praying with my friend at the studio, but everything has been shut down. The priests at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy have been streaming the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00 every day, and I’ve made a commitment to do it with them. My Lenten plans got seriously messed up, but I’m doing the best I can.

I prayed a lot last weekend wondering, since I couldn’t go to Mass, what I should do. A strange idea came to mind, and I think it was from the Lord. The Mass is, among other things, a celebration, and I got the sense that I was supposed to “celebrate anyway.” I struggled with this. I reminded myself that priests are still celebrating the Mass with or without the people there. I tried. I thought, “What do you need to celebrate…? Usually when you’re celebrating something, you need food and people.” I ate a cookie. I was not in a celebratory mood.

This thought that I should celebrate anyway has stuck with me, though. When things started getting really serious, I realized that we wouldn’t be celebrating Easter–at least not at our parish. Ultimately, that doesn’t change facts. At the Easter Vigil, which I’ll watch online, I’ll still say, “Christ is risen,” and it’ll still be true. My mom will probably make cookies, but it’ll just be the four of us–my parents and my brother and me; no aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, or grandparents. I’ll make a spiritual communion, and eat a couple of cookies.

I won’t feel like celebrating. That isn’t the point, though. The point is to honor and worship the Lord; our God who beat death and who can certainly beat this stupid virus. I think there’s more to this, though. When things like this happen, the question is bound to arise: why does a good God let bad things happen? I have wondered that myself in the past. This time, though, it just isn’t a factor for me. I know that a) He doesn’t want our suffering b) He’s with us through it, and c) He can bring about some greater good(s).

When Boston and then Portland suspended Mass in their dioceses I was, and still am upset. Then I remembered a book that sits on my desk. I pray Morning and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, which is the official public prayer of the Catholic Church, every day. I’m not cut off from the Church–the Body of Christ. This especially feels like a lifeline. My personal prayer lately has been, “As long as You’re here, I’m here,” because I know He is faithful. In a way, it’s more of a promise to myself than to Him. He is faithful to me, so I have to be faithful to Him. He’ll be with me–with all of us–through it, but we have to go through it.

I think this is an opportunity, albeit an unpleasant one, for us to really do some self-evaluation, spiritually speaking. I worried when I heard Mass was being suspended. Unfortunately, I think there will be some with “lukewarm” faith who will just “drop out,” and won’t come back. I decided that I would do the opposite. I decided that I would “lean in,” and intensify my prayer. I have to since I can’t receive the Eucharist. I discovered a live stream of perpetual Adoration on YouTube. It seemed too weird, or not “authentic” at first, and then I thought, “A computer screen isn’t going to stop You from doing what You do,” so I’ve gone to internet-Adoration a couple of times this week.

Several saints have written about consolation and desolation; in other words, when God seems very present and seems to be “love-bombing” you, and when you can’t exactly “feel” Him, or when you just don’t get any warm-fuzzies when you pray. The latter can happen particularly when external things aren’t going well. They ask this question: do you love the “gits” more than the Giver? I think He might be using this time when we’re cut off from the Eucharist to ask that question.

One Year Later

I’ve been trying for a week, at least, to do two things. It’s been difficult, because they are related, and if I can’t do one, then I can’t do the other, either. It’s Valentine’s Day, and all weekend I’ve been trying to convince myself that I don’t care. I’m about 90% of the way there. It’s important that I don’t care because, for one thing, I’m single, and for another, I promised God that I would belong to him 100%, and to me, at least for right now, that means not having a “romantic” relationship with anyone else. I decided on this many months ago because, for several, rather complicated reasons, finding a partner would be difficult at best.

This decision has been, for the most part, emotionally helpful. It seems counter-intuitive, but giving up in that department has allowed me to be happy for people who do have strong relationships, has allowed me to focus on more important things, namely my novel, my hobbies, and my friends, and has allowed me to strengthen my relationship with God. However, just because I’ve decided I will never have a “significant other” and have decided not to look, does not mean I don’t still sometimes want a partner.

Last month, when I realized Valentine’s Day was coming up, I started to feel a little bad. I’ve realized that this issue is a little more complicated than I originally assumed. I’ve read and heard some things explaining how having a strong relationship can be a way of glorifying God. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what it means to belong to God 100%. I want to know if I can have a partner and still be dedicated entirely to him. The thing is, I feel like it’s a little bit of a betrayal if I’m longing after something I can’t have. But if I’m longing after that person (whoever it might be), does that mean I should seek them out? I’m just a little bit stuck.

A little while ago I went on Facebook. Normally that would be a bad idea for someone like me on this day, but I actually liked seeing what people were doing or a few silly or cynical posts. I was going to go to the movies with a couple of friends tonight, but they ended up having other obligations. I planned to go to the movies to distract myself, but actually, I don’t need to. As far as I’m concerned, today is just another ordinary day. I have some things I’d like to get done, anyway.

I know this day can be hard. I totally get it. I wish I had some words of wisdom to share, but I really don’t. I’ve been trying to figure out a meaningful way to tell the world that God loves everyone; God’s love is eternal; God’s love is no-matter-what, but I can’t. I don’t know how to make that sink in. I can’t figure out how to say it in a way that hasn’t been said before. You’ve probably heard it so many times that it doesn’t mean much any more. You have to feel it to know it.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Plan B: Pass It On

Last night it hit me. Young people in the modernized, western world are turning to ISIS for stability, community and answers instead of the Church. Something needs to be done about that. Obviously that isn’t always the case, but the fact that it happens at all is a serious problem that is getting overlooked. My original plan was to start working on my own “propaganda” to try to bring people to Christ instead of the Islamic State. As most of my plans are, this was overly ambitious. I’m just one woman, and I don’t have the know-how to do it properly. My plan B, which probably should have been plan A, is this:

Lord, there are people in this world who really need you right now. They need to know your love and your peace. Please make sure that they find you. Direct them to your Church, and not to violence. Direct them to love. Use your people, Lord, and let us be loud. Let us be your voice. Give us the tools and the words; give us whatever it is we need to bring in the lonely, the weird, and the wounded. Lord, don’t let hate and despair grow in their hearts. Fill that space with your love and lead your people to Jesus–all your people. Lastly, please heal those people who have already chosen violence. Show them that this is not what you want for them. Show them that what they are doing is wrong, and show them that you still love them. Overwhelm them with your love. Let there be peace and forgiveness among enemies. Let us be one, all together under one God. Don’t leave anyone behind, Lord, and don’t let us leave anyone behind.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

So my plan only works if you pass it on. Peeps! Pray this, too, and then share it on your on blog or Facebook or whatever else you use, and bug your friends.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Fun And Fixing Things

I wonder what God’s version of fun looks like. Does God have fun? I guess he must because he makes artists and musicians and crazy people and lets them loose to make people laugh and make love happen. Still, God has a pretty stressful job. He knows everything about everyone, ever. He knows exactly when a baby is going to die or when friends are going to see each other for the last time. He even knows every nasty thought that goes through every head. To me that sounds awfully depressing.

I ask God why he doesn’t fix things a lot. It’s probably really annoying at this point. I really hope that God has fun. Genesis says that God created the universe and saw that it was good. He was pleased with this crazy, complicated insanity he made. Maybe it’s similar to how I feel when I write a new song or a particularly interesting blog post. Someone once said that he asked God why he doesn’t do something about all the problems in the world and God said, “I did do something. I created you.” I do want to fix things, so I suppose the same response applies to me as well.

I really just want people to love each other. I want people to look at each other and say, “I love you because you are a human. God created you and me the same. We’re both special and we’re both just like everyone else.” The trouble is that I don’t know how to make that happen. I don’t know how to reach more people with the limited resources I currently have. All I know to do is write blog posts and write songs and hope and pray that I can get my message out there.

I need to be more proactive, though. I haven’t been looking too hard for opportunities to perform lately, partly because I currently hate my bedroom. I basically lived in there for over a month while I was finishing up school and I want to be anywhere but there, which means I haven’t been using my computer much at all in the past few days. I’m getting a bit off topic, so I’ll end here, but I want to end on a promise. I promise that in the next week I will find 3 new open mic venues and attempt to get 3 gigs.

Wish me luck. Prayers are appreciated.

Thanks!

Today And Tonight

This morning I went to the studio to work on “Missing You.” I played djembe on this one, which was pretty cool. As of right now it has acoustic and lead guitar and percussion (djembe and shaker) on it. Next time we might actually finish it up depending on how long bass takes. I don’t think vocals will take too long unless I decide I want harmony.

Earlier this afternoon Ken’s friend called me to ask some questions about how long a set I could play, etc. He said he was going to shoot me an email with some more specific questions. I gave him the link to my blog and my soundcloud, so I guess he’s going to check that stuff out first and get back to me. I told him I could comfortably play an hour to an hour and a half set. That might actually be pushing it, but I can get a few more songs written between now and the date of the show. 🙂

Tonight is The Sad Cafe shindig. I’m planning on playing around 5 songs; 3 electric and 2 acoustic. It’s going to end on a super mellow note. All 5 are already recorded and are just waiting for their baby brothers and sisters to be done!

Here’s my set:

You Answered
Stuck In My Head
Nostalgia
Understand
Passenger

Album Cover Part 3: Prototype

Well guys, I finally found Paint.NET. Rather, my brother found it, and of course it was right there in front of me. It runs in the family– my dad can never find the ketchup in the fridge even if it’s staring right at him.

Anyway, These are my first attempts to create my idea for the album cover. I actually did them fairly quickly, so it’s really just the basic idea. I definitely like the blue better at the moment. I’m not sure if the dark background and the white light is too much of a contrast or what, but I’ll try and figure it out when I have more time. I think it just needs another element, but I’m not sure exactly what that would be. I’m still not sure how I would do the silhouette that I mentioned in an earlier post, but maybe I don’t need it.

RMES Cover V1

RMES Cover V2

RMES Cover V3

It’s a little hard to read in the pic, but the text says “Replace My Empty Spaces.”

Comments would be great!

Thanks, guys! ❤

Somehow

Somehow I have 51 followers now. I’m still not entirely sure how that happened. I ramble about coffee, faith and music…. while drinking coffee and listening to worship music. I’m not that exciting, guys! I come to conclusions about huge issues that are probably not as well thought out as they could be, overly simplified, absurd or just straight up wrong, but for some reason y’all still seem to like what I have to say.

Well, I want to say thanks so much for reading, and I want to let y’all know that I have a plan. It has taken me forever to formulate and commit to this plan, but I have one! For the next two years while I’m working on my English degree I’m going to be writing songs, recording and working on setting up gigs for the summers. I’ll play in the Boston area and hopefully spread out to all of New England. After those two years I’m just going t0 jump in head first and go as far as it takes me (Europe, perhaps? I miss you, Frenchie!). Hopefully I’ll have enough recognition to live off of this musical insanity. If not I’ll try and get some kind of writing job that will allow me to work from anywhere. As long as I can remain mobile, I should get this to work.

At some point I’m also going to move the music-related stuff to a blog called “The Meandering Hat,” which I haven’t got started yet, but I want to still be able to use flyinguineapig for philosophy and personal stuff. So that’s the plan! I also need to see about getting signed. I’m actually not worried about that. I’ve never had a bad reception of my music. Everyone seems to like it (except for my brother, but I think it’s a prerequisite to being a younger sibling). It’s astonishing, weird and encouraging. 🙂

Seriously though, I think this is the first time I’ve ever really had a plan. The future used to scare me a lot, but it doesn’t as much now that I’ve definitively decided to follow this crazy dream of mine. I know I’ve said I’ve had plans before, but that wasn’t always entirely true and they weren’t really long term, future plans. I think I was inevitably going to end up here. I couldn’t just finish the album and do nothing with it. music is what I’m best at and I want whatever I do to glorify God. This seems like a pretty awesome way to do that. Prayers are appreciated. Wish me luck, peeps!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!