Friday, July 14, 2017

A Good Year

I was dreading the year 2017 last year.

Now I think it's the best year of my life (so far--hope that changes).



The year is more than halfway over now, and there's still a bit of waiting for some of what I had been hoping for for months already (and which I've put on this very blog).  Still, while it need not have been today in particular, I think I can say it's been a good year so far.



I might have considered making a blog entry about July 8, but Internet problems prevented that, and as it turned out it might have been premature anyway (meaning that, while I might not have taken such a blog entry down, I might have had to change it).

On that day, Saturday, July 8, 2017, I was gifted with the idea to do a project (whenever I have the resources, the time, and the opportunity): an anthropological study on oral storytelling traditions across times and cultures, with a report and a persuasive essay on what the results mean and what ought to be done about it (and what can be done about it).

I'm not sure that I want to get a degree in Anthropology at this time, though (or even to minor in it): I've looked at the required courses, and I would have to take at least one class that would teach something that I believe is false.  And as charitable as I want to be, I doubt that I would get any kind of accommodations or waivers on that basis.

Still, such a project does sound like it belongs under the category of Anthropology, and theoretically I could take some Anthropology courses even if I didn't major or minor in it.  I don't plan to do it as soon as this fall, but it's something to consider for later down the line (after the year 2017 is over).



Tomorrow I will do the Epistle Reading at my church for the second time (and I'm already scheduled to do it again in two more weeks), and so I feel like I can really say now that I am not only one of the cantors, but one of the readers, at my church.  I pray I may do a good job.

In particular, I pray that because today I looked up a few parts of Saint Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologiae that I didn't know about, which is prompting me to learn more about the faith than I have retained.  In this way, this year is going to be even more comparable to the early part of this decade for me as far as the faith is concerned, because I made myself read the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church for my Confirmation courses in 2011.  It's time I re-familiarized myself with my faith, especially if I'm going to be a cantor and reader.

I thank the Lord for that, and I thank Saint Thomas Aquinas for his intercession and prayers.



I've also discovered the "Good News" segment of the Fox News website, which I didn't know existed before today.  And I recognized that the Lord sent me to that site because my friend Eric was in a bad emotional state, and needed cheering up--so I read to him some of the headlines from that.

On the off chance that anyone from Fox News is reading this blog, thank you for that!

(How could I forget?  I'm going to be visiting my friend Eric soon, another reason to love this year!)



Otherwise, I'm thinking about how much has happened in such a small time period.

Exactly six months ago today (January 14, 2017), I went to Liturgy and barely recognized myself--in a good way--because I was happier (smiling "with glee", as a religious brother put it who had never seen me smile that way before), and I was socializing more.  I had felt my Prozac start to kick in by that time (that was about a month after I was put on Prozac).

Exactly one year ago today (July 14, 2016), I had not yet heard back from any agents whom I'd queried with what I had of my story Young Blood (though I had sent five query emails).  And I had just recently recovered from pneumonia, and come to believe that Saint John the Baptist had interceded on my behalf at that time.

And weeks from now, we'll be coming upon the seventh anniversary of the day that we moved into the house I currently live in.

Around that same time, it will have been eight years since the first school year that I was NOT in school since I was very little.



It's also occurred to me that I haven't been to any formal educational institution since I've been on Prozac.  The last time was when I took a few weeks of Advertising and Public Relations courses, which I quit because I found them lackluster, and I found the bus ride home stressful (and while I was open to considering medication by then, it was months before I could even see a psychiatrist and be told whether I would be prescribed medication or not).

Since I've been on Prozac I've considered some things, but made no final decisions.  I'm hoping that McDonald's Archways to Opportunity might have some advice to offer in that regard, but it's still going to be weeks before I can apply at McDonald's at all, and I'd like to have been working there for a good amount of time before I think about things like that--both out of respect to an employer and that I might save up some money before I spend it.



Likewise, I've been considering lessons in other things (outside of a scholarly setting) but not begun with those: things like tap dancing (which is a combination of dance and percussion--sort of an extension of body percussion), and playing the tambourine (which etymologically is simply a frame drum, with zills attached.  (Those are the jingles on the edges.)

I've also become interested in learning (of all things) how to fall.  You read that correctly: how to FALL.  I've looked on YouTube and discovered videos on both judo and clowning, and found that their techniques for falling (to minimize the possibility of injury) are very similar, and so are probably rooted in the science of the human body--just finding different expressions, in a martial art vs. in physical comedy.

I've definitely considered clowning in the past, and a couple years ago I dressed as Harlequin for Halloween--and did some physical mime comedy for my parents, who laughed.  And I've enjoyed watching this video on how to be a clown.

As for judo, what got me thinking about that was the "Look Inside!" feature on amazon.com for The Mime Book, by Claude Kipnis.  By coincidence (or a higher design?) I happened upon the page for falling, and it mentioned that the first lesson in judo is how to fall.  What got my attention was that it talked about how we tend to go from a lying down position to a standing position (or vice versa) awkwardly, even though we take the floor for granted since we walk on it (and certainly we aren't born knowing how to fall and avoid injury).

That got me to thinking that it might behoove me to learn how to fall, so that I could avoid or minimize injury in the event that I were to fall down (which I have done in the past).  And while I don't necessarily intend to take judo lessons just to learn how to fall, and then quit, I want to keep an open mind: I took tae kwon do (another martial art) as a kid, and advanced to a red belt, so I'm not unfamiliar with Asian martial arts; I need exercise; I need discipline; it might be good for me to have an idea of how to defend myself--and "judo" literally means "gentle way" (it involves throws rather than punches, kicks, or chops).  Indeed, I took tae kwon do as a kid because I saw the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and wanted to learn what the turtles were doing.

It's probably too early to say whether I intend to make the full commitment to judo that I originally meant to make in tae kwon do--still, not only are there the above reasons why I might consider it, but if I turn out to have any particular aptitude or passion for it, there again might be another way in which various parts of my life fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.  After all, I can't ignore my tae kwon do classes in talking about the main "storyline", if you will, of my life story--the reason I quit when I got my red belt is the same reason I didn't consider a job teaching until after I graduated college with my Bachelor's Degree.

So while I don't know for sure, I want to be open-minded and consider taking a leap of faith, taking the risk, and possibly learning judo at some time in the future.

If any readers have taken judo, please comment and tell me something about it.



Finally, of course, this is the 100-year anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima--and October 31 will be the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.  Even if nothing supernatural (or even natural but radical) happens this year (as I thought it would last year), it's a significant year in Catholic history.

(And in American history, as I'm not sure I've been aware of the United States being this divided outside of the Civil War and the 1960's-1970's.  I'm certainly not aware of anything like this having happened previously in my lifetime, although it may still be early to tell yet, and I've decided to stop trying to predict the future.  Clearly I didn't learn the lesson of Jurassic Park until months ago: unpredictability in complex systems because of tiny variations vastly affecting the outcome.)



Thank you very much for sharing part of your day with me.  God bless you.



P. S.  The main thing that made me uncomfortable posting this today was the fact that it's Bastille Day, and it might be easy to think that a positive blog posted on this date might relate to positive sentiment about that day.

As a Catholic Christian I cannot consider Bastille Day anything to celebrate, as the French Revolution was against the Church as well as the French monarchy and aristocracy (whose realm had been called the "Eldest Daughter of the Church" anyway).  It was openly anti-Christian, even going so far as to change the calendar so that the years weren't marked from the birth of Christ, and so that the "weeks" lasted ten days, to preclude the possibility of a Sabbath.

That being the case, I consider it fitting that it's on a Friday this year, the traditional Catholic day of penitence.  It isn't common knowledge even among Catholics, but while "meatless Fridays" are no longer required as such outside of Lent, we are still required to do some form of penitence every Friday of the year (unless a Solemnity falls on a Friday, because penitence is not appropriate to a Solemnity).  And I've chosen to do my penance in honor of those who were killed by the French Revolutionaries.

Saint John Vianney, pray for us!

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