Sunday, September 12, 2010

Five Year Review

With this post, I launched myself into the world of 'blogging.

Five years later, I'm still posting.

What a long, strange trip this has been.

This has been a blessing for me. As one who naturally is introspective, it has helped bring out things and let me examine my life and the world around me with a touch more thoughtfulness. In my world, seemingly full of paradoxes, I have gone from Socratic contentment to Thoreauvian despair, everywhere in between, and back again. You who have perused my words have shared that wide and sometimes wild range of contemplation and the emotions connected to it.

And I thank you for allowing me to share that.

The Good

Some things I have enjoyed writing more than others. The series of reflections on the "O Anthiphons" and the "Seven Last Words of Christ" I still hold are my most popular posts; hence, they have been a staple of Advent and Lent since this 'blog's inception. The images and words of Independence Day, also an annual staple, are a reminder of where we as a country have been, where we are, and where we are going. My reflections on Christmas Eve, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, Good Friday, and the feast of St. Cecilia act as mileposts as well about those subjects.

These are a few of my favorite things. I hope some of them have been yours, as well.

The Bad

According to Blogger, this will be my 527th. post. I would have to say that number is actually lower because of the re-posting of many articles. Averaging less than a hundred posts a year is a low figure; I am sure there are 'bloggers whose output per month is more than that. While I have never been about quantity, I do regret not posting on a more consistent basis. My frequency is a reflection on my indifference more than my inspiration. My appreciation of professional writers has increased a hundred-fold since undertaking this.

I know I don't have the greatest writing style in the world, either. My words are simple and simplistic. Sometimes I come off very trite. Again, I am not a professional; I am one of a myriad who think they have something to say. Some times I do OK; others, I fall flat.

Yet, I will keep using my keyboard.

The Ugly

I have not wanted this to be a "what's going on in my life" on-line journal, but it has partially become that. Which brings me to what is the most paradoxical thing about me. I find it so easy to let complete strangers know about my every fault; yet those who are close to me find it very difficult to get me to be open. Put that in context of my relationship to God and it becomes even more stark. He absolutely knows me; yet, He is still somewhat a stranger to me.

My small readership know about the trials and tribulations I have had the past six-plus years. (Remember a recession is when your neighbor is unemployed and a depression is when you are.) With only two exceptions totaling fourteen months, a regular paycheck has eluded me since March 2004. Not to say I have not been without income during this time (worker's compensation, unemployment insurance, officiating fees), but the fact is I have not been able to sufficiently support myself for a while.

This is my dark night of the soul. The doubts of whether I will find anything in this current economic condition grow with every rejection of an application. The ache caused by my tendinitis is a reminder of how limited are my options. There are times I wonder if my economic shelf life has expired. It is amazing Satan hasn't exploited this idle mind, let alone this troubled spirit.

A Still, Small Voice

Yet, God is with me. I have to keep reminding myself of that.

He has shown His mercy. I have written about the proof of that.

Because of this 'blog, because I was able to establish an honest presence, because I was found to be trustworthy, I was able to get through the toughest two weeks of my life.

Because of this 'blog, someone took me into her home when I seemingly had no where else to go.

Because of this 'blog, I have met (some in person, most still virtual strangers) those who inspire me to "be perfect(ed) as your Heavenly Father is perfect."

Because of this 'blog, perhaps I will become more Christ-like.

Perhaps, because of this 'blog, I have helped a soul or two, out of the over 34,000 visits to date.

All because I wanted to expand my infinitesimal corner of the universe.

The welcome mat is still out.

My invitation from five years ago still stands.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Honorable Ads

Anheuser-Busch has been a strong advertiser during the Super Bowl. Their angles for their commercials range from stupid to cute to silly to humorous. On this day, however, these two are so appropriate. (And, in my very humble opinion, their best.)

It is reported this commercial only ran once during Super Bowl XXXVI. Judging by the snow on the ground, it had to had been made during the winter shortly after the atttacks:

There weren't a lot of worthwhile ads during Super Bowl XXXIX. This one struck the most appropriate timbre:

9/11 Plus Nine Years

New York, New York.

Washington, District of Columbia.

Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Three communities. One destiny.

Nine years ago today, the United States lost whatever innocence it had.

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and some unknown target (if others wish to speculate, let them) left this country visibly shaken.

One year short of a decade later, the physical, psychological, and emotional scars still remain.

We will never be the same. The question which still lingers is how will it change us, as individuals and a nation. The answer is still not within our grasp.

"Peace on earth" now really seems like a pipe dream. Humanity doesn't want it badly enough. Satan chortles with glee at this.

For those who believe in Jesus Christ, Who, as St. Paul said, has given us the victory over sin and death, Who is the true Prince of Peace as foretold by Isaiah, this incident strikes at the very root of our faith.

Do we trust that out of this act of evil a greater good will prevail?

All we can do is persevere. All we can do is hope. All we can say is, "My Lord and My God."

The prayer intentions I suggested in my 2007 post Remember Again are still valid.

Let us not forget. While I'm sure there will be more added this year, the following videos suggest we haven't: