In response to a heart-felt and motherly admonition from a faithful reader, I am writing this follow-up to my recent request for prayer. . .
In the last week, I have been hit with several small "attacks" and one big one. Taken separately, these are really nothing all that serious. However, taken together, on top of feeling overwhelmed with the task of "catching up" on my philosophy reading and struggling with Italian, I have allowed the stress to become an excuse for me to grow a bit lax in my observance.
Laxity in observance leads to less immunity from attack. . .and so on.
A lot of what hit this week has come from my past. Old faces and personalities popping up in odd places. . .renewing long-lost friendships. . .some less healthy than others. . .getting myself stupidly embroiled in a conflict with another religious over a petty thing. . .having difficulty getting some of my meds through customs in Milan. . .having more difficulty getting one of my RX's rewritten in the States. . .continuing difficulty sleeping more than a few hours a night. . .all kinds of temptations against obedience. . .as I said, taken separately, none of these alone would be dangerous. . .but they all hit simultaneously! And when one tends to melancholy, introspection, cynicism, and crankiness already. . .watch out!!!
So, where I am now? Well, pretty much all of this is still on-going. I was told yesterday that I won a scholarship from the university! WooHoo! And I think there's some movement on the teaching front that looks good. I am excited about my writing project. . .though the thought writing another dissertation is somewhat intimidating.
Regardless, I am feeling stronger spiritually and more prepared to tackle the demons. No doubt this development is the direct result of the generous response I have received to my plea for prayer. For this I am very, very grateful. I didn't intend to worry any of you with my request. Being a gregarious introvert, sometimes my internal struggles sort of spring out sideways and tend to look more dramatic than they really are. I don't mean to downplay the stress I'm feeling. That would be counterproductive. However, I don't want to exaggerate either.
Last night, I took a break from reading and did two things that helped me tremendously. First, I watched an hour long documentary on the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Talk about having your problems put in proper perspective! Then, after this hour of depression, I watched about twenty minutes of Babies Laughing vids on youtube. The combo of genocide and babies proved therapeutic.
Again, sorry for the drama! And grazie mille for the prayers. . .
Fr. Philip, OP