Thursday, January 7, 2016

Oppression, burdens, and things that are heavy

What weighs you down? Is it stress? Anxiety? The physical weight of your body? It is my opinion that everyone is carrying around excess weight in their lives - whether it be physical or mental.

It's probably hard for you to think of these things in such powerful terms as burden or oppression, but let's take a look at what those two words actually mean:

burden n.
2. that which is borne with difficulty; obligation; onus

oppression n.
1. the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.
4. the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc.

Burden is, I think, a common term used to define many common problems: doing the dishes, picking up after yourself or your children, sometimes going to work. However, I've also seen it used, probably more appropriately, to describe depression, anxiety, body image, and other mental health situations. Sometimes we feel ourselves as burdens to others. "I am not physically fit enough to run around the park with my daughter. I am such a burden to her." Or -- and as a eighteen year old new mom -- I know I sometimes felt like my beautiful baby girl was a burden on my life. Of course, she wasn't and still isn't - but I have to be honest. I had awful post-partum depression. I felt my baby was a burden to me and that I was a burden to her and my entire family. The definition of burden doesn't specify what it is that is "borne with difficulty" only that is is "onus". We can place the definition of burden on whatever we bear with great difficulty. It is okay to feel that way.

Most likely you associate the word oppression with situations like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement, such as what is described in the first definition of oppression. Yet, if you look at number four, it can be a "feeling of being heavily burdened". We are oppressing ourselves - whether by choice or design. Somehow we need to free ourselves from this oppression.

In today's entry for Grace Filled Days, John says this:

His commandments are not burdensome. - 1 John 5:3

Excerpt from Jessica's personal section: Jesus is not an oppressor or a captor. He does not ask the impossible. Okay, so sometimes it might seem impossible at first. But he will make a way, because he is a liberator, a healer, and he brings freedom and peace. His tidings are glad, and his commandment is love.

Many turn to the Church to help with our personal burdens. However, there are others that feel that organized religion is oppressive with "too many rules". Listen to John's words... 
His commandments are not burdensome. You can open up your heart and clear your head when you live like Jesus and follow God's commandments. Though it may seem difficult, you must have hope that it is the right path.

I feel like I rambled quite a bit and that maybe this didn't make sense. But, I feel better, personally, after having written it.

Thank goodness it's Thursday.
-Meg


Definitions found using dictionary.com

Friday, January 1, 2016

The year ahead, in mores and lesses

It's a few minutes before three in the morning and I just can't fall asleep. Granted, I haven't tried very hard - but I can't seem to switch of my brain tonight (this morning? time is a weird thing).

It's, technically, New Years Day 2016. Most everyone takes this as a time to reevaluate their lives, decide what needs staying and what needs going. The whole "new year, new me" thing - catchy, irritating, and will most likely not see the end of January. However, I too have developed my own personal list of things that I'd like to see happen in my ideal 2016 - I'm calling it my "More & Less List".

More
-Water
-Exercise
-Positive thinking
-God
-Community Service
-Hailey time

Less
-Electronics
-Negative thought processes
-Keeping things in
-Short-sidedness
-Sweets

We shall see, I hope, how this progresses. I'm in a weird brain space about it being the first day of a new year and having it fall on a Friday. In my ideal it would be January 1 on a Sunday.



Also, again this year, for being a catechist, I was gifted "A Book of Grace-Filled Days"by Jessica Mesman Griffith. If I feel like it, I shall be putting in a little blurb about the day. First one*:

As proof that you are children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God - Galatians 4:6-7

Excerpt from Jessica's personal section - Remember today all you stand to inherit. Don't squander your freedom.

What I take from this: God gave us Jesus to save us from ourselves. He knew that we would do wrong, but gave us a wonderful way to gain forgiveness. If we think daily about all the things we will get by inheriting the kingdom, we would be able to live more meaningful lives. Less selfish, more giving. Don't take things for granted.

*Just realized this book began on the first day of the Liturgical Year - which is Advent - November 29. Wow... I'm way behind. Also, I should have known this, really. Am I a bad Catholic???

Happy New Year, all.
-Meg