"For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3.
My blog sidebar announces mine is "[a]n eclectic blog about everything." Recently, however, I am coming to the realization that in blogging or commenting about everything, I will ultimately say very little worth remembering. I have been a "Jack of all trades, and a master of none." I have decided it's time for a change.
Originally, my goal was simply to construct a website designed to promote my novel, In the Palace of the Great King, along with Catholic religious life. As time went on, and the divisions in the Church deepened and crises and scandals erupted, it became more and more difficult for me to separate the diverse threads of trad versus conservative versus liberal communities of nuns. Moreover, as a layperson I felt inadequate to the task. To make matters worse, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Cleveland, whose fabulous monastery and admirable charism of adoration served as the inspiration for many of my novel's scenes, seemed not to be interested in the finished product after I sent it to them for a final review in 2019. I still don't know the reason why.
As the months dragged on, I struggled to reorient the website, the book, and the blog. A page I had dedicated to the nuns had to be taken down, and all references to them in the novel had to be changed. While I worked on the novel, I started doing a few blog posts here and there because I knew as an author it would be expected. At the same time and for the same reason, I became more active on Facebook. As as introvert, it was hard for me to be in the "public eye," but I felt I had to. So I plodded along.
After years of tinkering, I finally got the hang of the Weebly software and began to enjoy the process of creating blog posts. I added a webpage for my photo book, Wild Grace, which was published in November 2020. It felt great to finally have something in print! And I kept submitting my novel to Catholic publishers and asking friends for their input.
But the past twelve months have been beyond challenging for all of us, and the tensions many feel over the pandemic, the election, and the widening gulf between liberals and conservatives in this country have turned the formerly lighthearted Facebook into a mud-smearing, name-calling battleground over everything from the outrageous censoring of Dr. Seuss books in March to guilting people who choose not to wear facemasks. Trump-bashing has given way to Biden-bashing. Conservatives like me are freaking out over the Democrats' headlong rush over the cliff of promoting transgenderism even among the young, abortion on demand, immigration on demand, and now gun control. The memes are relentlessly cynical and sarcastic.
Day after day, I go to Facebook seeking a few minutes of entertainment and to see what's going on with my friends and former schoolmates. There are still some good things there, but the feel-good things are getting drowned out in a tidal wave of negativity. I see so much that makes me righteously indignant, and even outraged. But as a peace-loving introvert, I am afraid to speak up too loudly for fear of alienating my friends or getting into endless comment-box debates. I end up with all this bottled up anger, and it's starting to affect me emotionally. I feel like a coward. I feel completely at the mercy of Big Tech, Big Government, and Big Lies. And there really isn't much I can do about it, except pray.
It doesn't help that the negative memes are randomly interspersed with everything and anything else one of my chosen friends (chosen by Facebook--FB users know what I mean by this) may happen to post, whether it be pictures of flowers, sunsets, babies, weddings, prayers, new cars, old jokes, or disgusting food. All this is getting mixed up in our brains, and I have a very strong sense as I madly scroll at lightning speed trying to avert my eyes from anything disturbing that this is really, really bad for us.
Facebook isn't the only place where things are getting ugly. More about that next week.
For now, I am going to reduce, not eliminate, but greatly reduce my time on Facebook. My blog is going to take a decidedly more peaceful turn. I choose to write lighted candles of blessing rather than endlessly post pithy memes about the rabid, fearsome darkness. I hope you will join me.
Mental illness, especially depression and anxiety, are rampant in Western society. In 2019, twenty-six million people were prescribed Alprazolam and Citalopram for depression or anxiety, placing those drugs in the top 20 list of all drugs prescribed. Now with the dreaded daily threat of Covid-19 and all that entails, mental disorders and illnesses are about to explode.
Medication can help, but many people find the side effects outweigh the benefits. I'm not advocating that people stop taking their meds, but if you're suffering from mild to moderate anxiety or depression and don't want to go on medication, or if you're currently on medication but you find your meds aren't totally taking care of the problem, do not despair. I have good news. We have a friendly, faithful, and effective advocate in the Heavenly realms: a teenage saint named Dymphna (pronounced "DIMF-nuh").
Today is the feast of the Irish martyr St. Dymphna. In Gheel (prounced "Gale"), Belgium, where she tragically died, the victim of a grieving, insane father, the townspeople care for the mentally ill in their homes. Amazingly, they have done this for hundreds of years, thanks to her powerful influence.
May St. Dymphna continue to intercede for all those suffering from depression and anxiety and every form of mental and emotional distress. For more information, contact the National Shrine of St. Dymphna at Massillon, Ohio, where you can enroll in the League of St. Dymphna for only $3.00 per year.
St. Dymphna, pray for us!
The opinions expressed on this website are my own personal views and do not necessarily represent those of the Catholic Church.
If I have erred in any statement, whether directly or by implication, in any matter pertaining to faith or morals, I humbly invite fraternal correction.