People can't give you what they don't have: this is the phrase that was in my head this morning when I woke up.
Given that I spent about four hours in prayer and meditation yesterday and that's not something I usually do, I feel like that phrase is a pretty pure and clear message from God. Four hours of prayer and meditation has a way of clearing away thought cobwebs. Four hours of prayer and meditation has a way of closing the door on the world's noise.
God has gifted me with many fine qualities and experiences. He has given me boldness, creativity and kindness. I am grateful for those qualities and I feel that when I embrace them, it makes my Creator smile. God has also gifted me with a fair measure of natural beauty. He has given me large eyes and strong features, lovely hands and a tall body. I believe it pleases my Creator when maintain the beauty he has given me by dressing flatteringly and taking time to highlight my good features. But I haven't been doing much with my natural beauty in the past few years -- and I haven't been doing much with my creativity or kindness or intelligence, either.
For five years -- since I had my first and only major attack of Multiple Sclerosis at a time when I had no health insurance at all and had recently lost my job and career as a newspaper journalist -- I have been fighting just to stay afloat. Everything in my life has been a huge struggle. Life has been extremely hard on many fronts. If I were to take a photograph of myself today and place it next to a photograph of myself that was taken five years ago, I feel as though I would look like a woman who has aged ten years, not five. Maybe I look like I have aged fifteen years. And I look this way because I have not been taking care of my health. When they say "you are what you eat," it is a true statement. So I guess I am sort of a combination of McChicken $1 meal sandwiches and oatmeal cookies -- with some V8 juice here and there for good measure. I have tried very hard over the past five years to maintain my health through the twelve step eating programs and I have not been successful with those programs.
There are two main reasons why I have not been successful with the twelve-step eating programs. The first reason is economics. In order to follow the twelve-step food program that has worked for me the best in the past, I need to go to see a nutritionist at least every six months and I need to weigh and measure my food according to a plan that she designs for me. I have had trouble paying my rent and car payments since I lost my job as a reporter. I went through a bankruptcy. I have just had a really, really hard time with life in general. Very good people who love me have tried to help in different ways and I am so very grateful for the love and kindness and support. But the problem for me is, when people help me, I feel obligated to take their advice on things, to follow their suggestions. I feel that I don't want to disappoint them and I want to show my appreciation for what they give me. Also, I have been so confused due to so many rapid changes in my life, I haven't really known if one way is better than another. So I have walked the paths suggested by people who have given me financial assistance and material support. This has not been all bad, mind you. My twelve-step friends who gave me groceries have wonderful suggestions about life. My father who has given me thousands and thousands of dollars over the past five years has great confidence in me and has always expected that I could become both the president of the United States and Miss America.
(Break for interrupted thoughts... cups of coffee, Sunday morning Facebooking, etc...)
So anyway, God told me I can't expect people to give me what they don't have.
And a few days ago He gave me health as my number one priority.
And as you know (if you've been reading my blog) I've been considering going to live in the homeless shelter for a few months due to a financial disaster and the fact that I feel like as much as I love my family, I can't live with those people because when I do, it leads me back to bad habits with regard to eating and smoking. Given that I've just gained fifty pounds trying to be an insurance saleswoman (GAG! I just HATE insurance sales!), I just really don't think living with them is an option.
My former future mother-in-law (the mother of the 28-year-old seminarian I so inappropriately had a crush on for two years -- hey, I'm over the top sometimes -- God seemingly made me this way) told me yesterday she's looking around for a free place for me to stay and I can even go and live on her couch for awhile if I need to.
I feel the love. I love the love. I have such wonderful, wonderful people in my life.
But the thing about people is they are always promoting ideas and values and lifestyles and things. In some instances they actually push these ways.
My former future mother-in-law doesn't. At least she doesn't do it as much as other people. She's a special education teacher so she knows how to deal with challenging people such as me.
The bottom line is that I truly, truly walk alone with God and God has some work to do with my health right now. So I have to put my health as my main priority -- above family, above work, above love.
And the bottom line is, I've decided to become a Raw Foodist. No kidding -- this is something that came to me after four hours of prayer and meditation. If you have any adivice for me. If you want to argue or turn up your nose -- go ahead and do it. But before you do, please go sit in prayer and meditation for four hours.
And the best part is -- I didn't even just pray and meditate at any old place. Yesterday fate dropped me literally at the doorstep of the Pious Union of St. Joseph for the Suffering and Dying. I kid you not! It wasn't planned. I got dropped off there just as morning Mass was starting. It was incredible. Here's a link to it: http://www.piousunionofstjoseph.org/.
If this wasn't enough, Emily, the Clean Water Action Canvas Director started talking to me about her friend who is a Raw Foodist and who blogs about it. I didn't thnk anything of it. But then I woke up this morning and within half an hour I decided I need to become a raw foodist. No kidding, I've met these people before.
They're the healthiest people you'll ever meet in your life. I did stories about them fifteen years ago when I was at The Battle Creek Enquirer.
I thought then that the Raw Foodists were some of the most outrageous people I'd ever met in my life.
So I guess they ARE outrageous. And I'm going to be one of them.
If the shoe fits, wear it!
So anyway, sorry this post is so rambling. But I think it's pretty exciting. I have to get to Mass, so I really don't have time to edit. But I just wanted to update everybody on the exciting news.
I am not 100 percent certain, but I am pretty sure that sometime in the pretty near future I'll be going to live at The Creative Health Institute in Hodunk, Michigan for three months.
I got my first massage there about fifteen years ago from a guy named Igor who was raised in Moscow and came from a family of Russian Massuses. It was so amazing. Honestly, I was smiling for three weeks. Igor is long gone, of course. But I am sure there will be somebody there who gives a decent massage.
(p.s. the fact that I randomly ended up at the Pious Union of St. Joseph for the Suffering and Dying is especially incredible given that I have a huge devotion to St. Joseph and say an ancient prayer to him nearly every day. In addition I have been in single woman's Rosary Circle for about two years. We get together about once a month and pray a Rosary to St. Joseph for our future husbands. We call ourselves St. Joseph's Girls.)