The Hero Factor: Separating Reality from Fantasy

With all this talk of religious life, brotherhood, and being accepted, it's only right that I ask myself a very important question: Why?

I found myself thinking, and my train of thought led me to a new and mysterious place. I felt the need to write it down, but it took a few days to actually construct the entire thought. I apologize for taking a few days to get this updated.

Taking the side of the advocatus dioboli for a few moments, it can be said that there's a romantic side to the notion of dedicating one's entire life to Christ. This charism of helping people in need, leading a moral and just life, teaching others, exhibiting traits such as chivalry, piety, and obedience - all those things are highly reminiscent of the knights of old.

As we've seen in the media, the epic struggle of good versus evil, of finding one's purpose in life, of being chosen for a specific purpose, and the fulfilling of a destiny are all plotlines and stories that have kept us enraptured. Whether it be the story of King Arthur, the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, or even the Star Wars saga by George Lucas, it's plainly obvious that stories with this high fantasy storyline draw the hearts and minds of many people.

We enjoy these stories because the show the struggle of good conquering evil. We see how powerful forces aid the chosen people in their time of need. We are immersed in a world where we don't worry about wearing the newest outfit or driving the coolest car. The people who are most revered are those considered honorable, charitable, heroic, and a champion for those who cannot fight for themselves.

Is it not surprising that people would want to live out these fantasies? The popularity of Role Playing Games such as Dungeons & Dragons and Palladium has continued to grow over the 30 years of existence. While it is estimated that 4 million people world-wide play the pencil and paper version of D&D, the growth has continued via the internet, where it's estimated that some 20 million people play World of Warcraft in China alone.

I've mentioned before how I used to play Everquest, an MMORPG with a plotline similar to the Lord of the Rings. There are dragons to slay, castles to pillage, magic treasure to find, and an entire world to explore as a haughty fighter, a shiny paladin, or even a wise priest.

I also mentioned the existence of guilds: player-made groups to help achieve common goals and develop a closer sense of community - working together as a unit (family, brotherhood, team). Keeping in theme with the epic stories such as Chronicles of Narnia and the Dragonlance series, players often tried to emulate that sense of chivalry, honor, loyalty, and of course victory.

Here's an example from an Everquest guild called Sapientia:

The Sapientia of today is not a pure raiding
guild. We endeavor to maintain a balance between building bonds of
enduring trust, respect and friendship among our members on the one hand and
coming together as a single force to vanquish all mobs that dare stand in our
way on the other hand. There are days when we raid for hours at a time,
and there are days when we relax and do a little tradeskilling or questing or
exploring or whatever strikes our fancy; it's what we enjoy most out of the game
and it's how we define fun. Our community is casual in the sense that we
do not have planned raids every day and attendance is never strictly
mandatory. Even the way we distribute loot is not based on "points"
accumulated through raid attendance. Yet we almost always enjoy tremendous
participation in our raids and events by our members. It's a testament to
our guild that so many of our members cheerfully take part in what we do without
being compelled to do so.

With such an overwhelming influence of this fantasy world, along with the obvious attraction to that sense of brotherhood, family, or just a sense of belonging, is it possible that this entire thing about feeling called to a religious life is just an extension of that fanatical attraction come to life?

For many years, I belonged to a similar guild known as The First Seal. We stood for loyalty, truthfulness, humility, helping others, and many of those same charisms that most people would never associate with a video game. How is one truly honorable in a video game?

The best way to describe it is this: in an anonymous setting like the internet where people can assume any persona they wish, there were those of us who didn't want to be the malicious, scamming, offensive, childish, stalking, selfish, greedy players. We wanted to bring something good to this "online world."

As I look back, I must admit how wonderful it felt to be included in something like that. Even my nom de guerre, Severaen, was a tribute of yet another high fantasy character Severian, of the Gene Wolfe series. I've not played EQ in over a year, yet there are times I wish that guild still existed; and there are times I wish the sense of brotherhood had never gone away. And there, right there, is where I must truly question my intentions.

Am I actually so devoted to God that I am willing to sacrifice possessions, a wife, and the freedom of being on my own to be part of a religious order? Or am I looking for that next fix of chivalry, inclusion, and obedience? Are not the Capuchin Franciscans a guild writ large (well, writ real); where instead of slaying virtual monsters on the internet, they fight monsters such as hunger, poverty, sickness, and famine on the streets of our cities? If my desire leads me towards a religious life, is it because God put that desire there, or because I'm trying to carry on where a video game left off? Am I trying to be a knight in shining armor, or a humble servant of God?

The squires of the Middle Ages, on the eve before achieving knighthood, were bathed and dressed in a white robe, gave their confession to a priest, fasted that evening, and kept vigil all night - preparing their spirit for the duty they were committing to. I can admit to myself that I am drawn to that kind of devotion, an overt display to God and to others that I wish to devote my life to the service of others. Yet is this idealistic ceremony the only draw for me? Will I become bored after committing myself? Will I find I've made the wrong decision? Are my desires blinding me to the message I should be receiving from God?

My situation is a unique and complicated one. It's taken days to actually follow the line of thought, yet now that it's all written out, I can see a correlation between that fantasy life of being Severaen and this new life of possibly being Fr. Vito Martinez, O.F.M. Cap. I'm not worried that Sev was a fake part of my personality, or that I attempted to make others happy without being true to who I was. I feel the opposite: I'd like to think that being Severaen opened me up to accepting some of those traits in real life and not just on a video game.

My worry is that I cannot log off of real life. When I was done being a hero, I simply turned off my computer. When I didn't want to slay Quarm or be that chivalrous ranger, I didn't have to play the game. Am I ready to live up to that kind of morality each day of my life, or will I grow tired of it, just as I've grown tired of Everquest, and eventually disappoint myself and the others who have prayed for me thus far?

Perhaps the answer to the ultimate question "Why?" isn't that traditional, Catholic, response: "To save my soul and the souls of others." Maybe when they ask me "Why?" I'll tell them "Because I still want to be a hero."

While some of you might not understand the confusion I face, perhaps you can leave with a smile, knowing that someone who wanted to be a hero, a vanquisher of evil, a defender of the people, considers the Capuchin Franciscans and all religious orders to be capable of the same heroism as the fabled paladins. =)

Catching Up, Part 3

Unfortunately, I did not make it to Mass at the CIC at Noon. I'd stayed up late completing a blog, and had to drag myself out of bed around 11:15. Despite missing church, today was not a waste.

I spent a lot of time visiting with friends, old co-workers, even my spiritual advisor at my parish church. Just taking the time to sit and talk reminded me of how I'd spent last month - sitting in a soup kitchen in Detroit and talking with people over lunch.

As of right now, I've visited the Capuchin Franciscans about 4 times this year. I feel more and more welcome each time I go, and it reminded me why I was working so hard to accumulate so much money.

At the end of October, I had the chance to visit the Capuchin Monastery in Detroit, as well as some of the other ministries in the greater Detroit area. Until then, I'd only gone to see the O.F.M. Caps in Chicago at the Formation Friary...a house with little outside ministry. This would be my first glimpse of Capuchin life in action.

After working at the car lot until 6 that night, I remember racing across I96 from Grand Rapids to downtown Detroit. Despite the ugly weather, I was able to make a '97 Honda Civic fly at 90 mph as I hurried to get to the Monastery before everyone headed for bed.

The monastery (technically it is a friary, however the locals took to calling it a monastery and the name has always stayed the same) was a beautiful place located in a very bad part of town. Near the monastery is a Capuchin soup kitchen, where meals are served at lunch and dinner for all that come through the door - no questions asked.

The next day we learned about the ROPE program, sponsored by Capuchins in Detroit. We listened to grown men, hardened by prison, drugs, and a life of crime, come close to tears as they spoke about the Capuchins, the chance they gave to those men when no one else would, and the spiritual direction to turn their lives around and find peace in life and in spirit. Men that would still be lost in the system and living on the streets now support themselves by working as bakers and selling their wares to local churches throughout the Detroit Diocese.

After visiting one soup kitchen we went to the other side of town, just in time for lunch. Rather than just watch the poor be fed by volunteers, the brother in charge had us get in line, eat lunch, and strike up conversation with those we sat next to. We were instructed not to group up, but rather to mingle with the others.

I could tell some were a little apprehensive about sitting and talking with total strangers, especially in that type of setting. I felt I had an advantage on the others, not only because of my ability to initiate a conversation with just about anyone, but I remember the times my mother and I ate at the Salvation Army in Iowa. Being poor was nothing new to me; I'd lived that life already.

Despite what many would think, the people there were not destitute or all homeless. Most were hard-working people, just trying to make ends meet in a city with a dying economy. Two of the men I ate with worked full-time jobs, yet ate lunch at the soup kitchen to save money for their families. Even I know that 40 hours a week doesn't always pay the bills.

After touring the city, we trekked north for an hour to visit the Capuchin Retreat Center in Washington, MI. Not only did we have the opportunity to tour the facility, but we were given 2 hours of personal reflection time in which to walk the grounds, pray in the chapel, or just sit and ponder what the day has meant so far.

Being the traveler that I am, I chose to brave the rainy conditions and walked outdoors through the trees. Looking back, I don't so much remember how cold or windy it was; I remember thinking: "So what have I learned so far from this weekend?"

As I walked through the trees, my mind kept falling back to the first stop with the men from the ROPE program. One look into their eyes and you could see the sincerity of their gratitude, the conviction of their belief, and their never-ending praise for Fr. Stadmeyer who first got the program off the ground.

What struck me wasn't just how these men looked towards the Father as some embodiment of Christ. In our way, we as humans have the ability to be Christ-like when we stop and offer to help our fellow human beings. What struck me was how Father Stadmeyer stood, humble yet smiling, as if he'd done nothing more than what the Lord asked of him. These men owed him their lives, yet he was content in knowing they were safe.


For those two hours I thought about humility, about my life, and how I still walked a fine line between personal materialism and a personal spirituality. I wanted my life to lead in one direction, by my lifestyle required me to go another. I knew I'd have to make a choice, sooner rather than later. I knew I had to decide if I was really going to try and follow this calling, or if I'd push it to the back of my mind like so many other ideas. Was I really ready to see what God wanted me to do?

I left Detroit on Sunday, knowing I had a big decision to make. I knew I'd have to talk with the Vocations Director about taking the next step. I knew I'd have to decide what job I was going to work at until next fall. I knew I'd have to take some time, hopefully at the Retreat Center, to better prepare myself for a year of postulancy.

I've already taken too much time. I have a meeting this morning at 8AM, and it's already 4:23.
Perhaps I'll make it to Mass this afternoon if I don't drive home right after breakfast.

Creating New Habits

While the transition hasn't been smooth, I've achieved my first and most important goal: freeing up some personal time to focus on the more important things in life. By working only 4 days a week, I finally have the free time to do...well...anything.

Unfortunately I've used this past week to catch up on watching movies and playing video games.

Perhaps that's one of my draws to religious life: the structure and schedule of a daily routine. While my previous life was hectic and always on the move, I never felt like I was "wasting" time, if that makes any sense. When Project A finishes, move on to Project B. By the end of the year, I'd created such a personal schedule that I had no time to just waste.

If you know anything about my past, I'm pretty good at wasting time.

Left to my own devices, I can spend days accomplishing nothing. Doctors say it's a side effect from the Dilantin, but I think that's just an excuse for me to be lazy. There are days I struggle to just get out of bed - where I must coerce myself out of bed because of something important that must be done. Creating a personal schedule has been the easiest way to combat that this.

Now that my life has taken a turn for the better, perhaps I was on to the right idea, just focused in the wrong direction. A personal schedule would still keep me on task and focused, yet I have time to focus on what is truly important now: my spiritual life. And while I've done plenty of reading, I haven't actually taken advantage of my free time yet. It's a perfect opportunity to start some good habits.

At noon everyday, the Paulists at the Catholic Information Center of Grand Rapids have Mass. Part of religious life is being able to meet your brothers for morning and evening prayer. While my mornings start around 10-11AM, there's no reason why I shouldn't be able to attend Mass each day, just as the Paulists do. Besides, I feel if I can start the day off with the energy I feel after attending Mass, I'll never have an issue with being lazy again.

Of course, I thought about doing much much more. I thought about taking the Eucharist to the home-bound or even the sick and bed-ridden in the hospital. I considered volunteering a day out of my week at Mary Free Bed or God's Kitchen. I have so much time where I can make a difference in someone's life, I think to myself. Why should I waste one second?

The answer, I tell myself after much thought, is because of my other bad habit: I like to dive into projects rather than pace myself, eventually losing steam and all interest. I'm considering the rest of my life, not some side hobby. I need to find my limits and work within them, rather than running full steam and hoping I never have another seizure.

Tomorrow I will start my day off with the Paulists. Hopefully I have a good story to share when I next log in.

Discernment and Music: Thank You

Last Thursday I stood at the head of the table, giving the prayer before the Thanksgiving feast. As I mentioned before, I'm often appointed to the "religious" positions in the family because of my vocation. I don't mind. I don't feel I'm being looked up to, I feel rather they see something in me that I am still yet discovering...much like my ad-lib speech at my grandmother's funeral.

Rather than use an established prayer of Thanksgiving, I spoke from the heart and offered thanks for both the good and bad things that happened in our lives. I thanked God for the rough times in our lives, because it reminded us how close of a family we were. I thanked God for the times when money was scarce. because it reminded us that our "wants" and our "needs" often get confused. I thanked God for the hard journeys in life, as it made it all that much better when we got through each struggle.

As I continue to read and understand more about my own spirituality, I see God not just as an all-powerful being, or the "master controller" behind all that is. I see God as Love; pure and simple Love. It is God's love that keeps me moving in the right direction, and tells me not to worry about another $1000 in bills. It's God's love that has kept my family faithful when my grandmother passed away. It's God's love that I'm most thankful for, because I've learned that He loves us even when we're not ready to love Him back.

As I sat with that thought of God and love, I recalled an homily from a month ago about giving praise to God. I forget the Gospel reading for that day, but I remember Fr. Host talking about not just praying to God when we need something, but to thank Him everyday. While nothing might have happened during your day, your normal day may be a day that someone else wishes they could have.

After the homily, I remember the Music Director starting up a song; something a little out of place in the novus ordo of Mass. Yet when I heard the song, I recognized it right away, and realized it was not just the perfect song for that homily, but a song I would eventually add to this list.

My tea's gone cold, I'm wondering why
I Got out of bed at all
The morning rain clouds up my window
And I can't see at all
And even if I could it would all be grey
But your picture on my wall
It reminds me that it's not so bad, it's not so bad

I drank too much last night, got bills to pay
My head just fills in pain
I miss the bus and there'll be Hell today
I'm late for work again
And even if I'm there, they'll all imply
That I might not last the day
And then You call me, and it's not so bad, it's not so bad

I want to Thank You
For the best day of my life.
And oh, just to be with You
Is having the best day of my life

Push the door, I'm home at last
I'm soaking through and through
And then You handed me a towel
And all I see is You
And even if my house falls down now
I wouldn't have a clue
Because You're near me

And I want to Thank You
For the best day of my life.
And oh, just to be with You
Is having the best day of my life.


Happy Thanksgiving.

Discernment and Music: One Last Breath

Tonight I spent sleeping and fighting off regret.

The first week of being a pitboss was completely psychotic. I dealt with drunks, people who brought personal drama to the poker room, trying to fix paperwork that was out of sync...and the state inspector dropped by last weekend which made me even more nervous. When I wasn't working, I was trying to establish a new sleep pattern. I go to sleep around 4AM now, and wake up around noon.

Perhaps that's why I ended up having a seizure today.

When my body gets off schedule and my meds get messed up, I'm highly susceptible to a breakthrough seizure. On the way to work this morning, I could feel it coming on as I drove down the road. Whether by divine revelation or pure happenstance, I chose to take a side road to work instead of the freeway. The side road goes right by the car lot I used to work at. As a last-minute thought, I pulled into the dealership to relax on the couch, and get off the road. I remember shaking Elvis' hand, him asking "What's up?" and then waking up in the back of an ambulance.

No serious injury this time, thankfully. I do, however, have an added burden onto my discernment. My tally of debt was $5500ish. The ER visit and the ambulance ride will cost me close to $1000 in medical bills, bills that must be paid before August 1st.

I have this feeling of regret, as if I made the wrong decision in working at the poker room instead of staying at the dealership. This would not have happened had I stayed, my stress level is higher, and have to make more money to pay for my debt.

I could have died today. I could have ruined any chance of ever following a vocation. I could have lost my new many things could have ruined my life today. It makes me wonder if I am on the right path.

I've had a song stuck in my head for the past few days, and it seems rather appropriate.

Eight months to go, Lord. Help me find the strength to keep going.

Please come now, I think I'm falling
I'm holding to all I think is safe
It seems I found the road to nowhere
And I'm trying to escape
I yelled back when I heard thunder
But I'm down to one last breath
And with it let me say,
Let me say

Hold me now
I'm six feet from the edge and I'm thinking
That maybe six feet
Ain't so far down

I'm looking down now that it's over
Reflecting on all of my mistakes
I thought I found the road to somewhere
Somewhere in His grace
I cried out "Heaven save me!"
But I'm down to one last breath

Hold me now
I'm six feet from the edge and I'm thinking
That maybe six feet
Ain't so far down

Sad eyes follow me
But I still believe there's something left for me
So please come stay with me
'Cause I still believe there's something left for You and me


My Last Day of Selling

For the past fives years, I've been "schlocking" out everything from golf packages, computers, cell phones, and eventually cars. I'm not quite sure how my life will be after today, but it's the start of a new beginning, and I'm really excited.

Bossman, who will now be referred to as Elvis, is happy for me, but understandably nervous about his future. He just took my order; he's buying lunch for everyone today because it's my last day. In truth, I know he's concerned about who will be the next person to sell cars. There's someone I've been training to replace me, but running a lot takes years of experience...he's sold cars for 2 weeks.

In thinking about this decision, I asked myself "What did you learn at this job that will help you in life?" Every opportunity has not only broadened my resume, but opened up some personal revelation about myself. At J.D. Byrider, the previous car lot I worked at, I first realized that chasing money doesn't equate to personal happiness. Working for Best Buy taught me how to "sell myself," not just to customers, but to use my gifts and experiences in a way that I can connect to those around me. Selling for T-Moblie taught me that even when you enter into a new field of work, it's always scary but usually for the best.

I finished up paperwork for a 2000 Volvo earlier; the final deal for a guy who used to feel like a conqueror - the guy who holds the record at a dealership for "Most Sales In One Day." Even yesterday I was giving tips to NewGuy about positive attitude, goal-setting for success, and how sales is no different from meeting women at the bar. On one hand, I'm teaching him the skills needed to excel at this business. On the other, I can't stand the B.S. any longer.

It's going to be an interesting day. Not one of sadness, even though Elvis will be the best boss I ever worked for. Nor will it be a day of regret, even though this was the highest paying job I'd ever gotten. It will be interesting because it's the first in a giant step down the road I want to travel. From here on out, my life has but one goal: debt relief by August 1, 2008.

I mentioned learning things at each job. I'm still not sure what I'll take most with me when I leave here. Will I tell people how I worked for a Muslim who congratulated me on my decision to pursue a religious life? Will I speak of how I reached the summit of a career, only to realize the mountain I climbed was a staging point for an even greater challenge. Or maybe I'll look back at this part of my life, and remember how I opened up about my discernment - an important step towards accepting His call.

Perhaps it's simpler than that. It could be just like Fr. Hugo said: "If you're that good at selling cars, think how great you'd be at selling The Gospel."

Catching Up, Part 2

We stood like soldiers in our black suits, protecting the casket of our departed grandmother. I had convinced the family to only allow the 3rd generation to move the casket, allowing my uncles to be with their families during the Mass and ceremony. As our aunts and uncles wept, we stood like statues in the sun.

Before we left the church, I'd made a deal with the Father to allow me to speak to the family before the lowering of the casket into the ground. I wasn't sure what I was going to say...but we'd been strong long enough. I'd been strong long enough. And I was ready to speak my peace before my family.

So as we stood huddled at the grave where my grandmother would be laid to rest, I did the best I could to say goodbye. (I spoke from the heart and don't remember the exact speech, but this was as close as I can remember):

"I know my mother has lost her mom, just like my other cousins. And we've done our best to be strong and support each of you in this time of grieving. We've heard hundreds of stories of your childhood...all of them wonderful.

"However we, the next generation have our own memories of Grandma. My eldest cousin is 51; my youngest is 16. I speak on behalf of your sons and daughters...each of us with our own wonderful memories of Grandma.

"We know she loved us because there was always food, and always a bed to sleep on.

"We know she worried about us, because she'd yell at us if we were climbing trees or near the grain silos."

"We know she thought of us, because she'd always buy us Christmas presents, even after we grew up."

"But what is important is that we, the third, fourth, and fifth generations here today, remember both our grandmother and grandfather. It's important to remember that we came from nothing, and that our family struggled to survive. Today we are successful teachers, nurses, bankers, and managers. But we can never forget that everything we are, we are because of the tireless work of Trina and Jesus Martinez...two migrant workers looking for a better life."

I made it through my monologue without losing it. And at the end of the day, after family members had thanked me for saying those kind words, I realized how important that charism of humility and ministry to the poor really was. Here I the manufactured ideal of what success truly means: a good job, no worries of money, a nice car. Yet my grandparents, now both passed, lived good lives without half of the objects I currently own. How best to honor the lives of my ancestors? How best to give back the blessings that were given to me?

I learned two things, two important things, after finally returning to Grand Rapids. First I realized how attracted I was to the Franciscan sense of spirituality. Second, I learned if I could minister to my family, I could minister to anyone. I no longer felt inadequate, and I became excited at the thought of giving a homily, or just preaching wherever I can.

In the weeks after, I would deal with my workaholic tendencies, I'd struggle to continue my discernment, and I take a trip to Detroit.

Stay tuned as I fill in the gaps from the middle of September to the present.

Catching Up, Part I

In less than a week, I will no longer be a salesman. On Tuesday I will give up the greatest career I've had in my life, and take a job with less hours to better reflect on the upcoming year.

Later this month, I will have interviews with the Vocation Director of the Capuchins, with their psychologists, their doctors, and a host of other people to decide if I am capable of applying to the order.

This is no new decision. It's something I've been pondering for months. Over the summer, several things have made me realize the path I should take. Unfortunately, much of that time was unchronicled because of my busy schedule.

Over the next few days, as I continue to deliver current news, I will share some stories of the past few months, and how they've helped me arrive at this point in my life.

The first and the hardest part: the death of my grandmother.

September of 2007 will be remembered as a pivotal role in my discernment, because of the death of my grandmother. A proud, hard-working, and faithful woman, my grandmother lived the life of a poor migrant worker. My family looked to me for guidance. They looked to me for strength. While my mother, aunts, and uncles battled the emotion of losing their mother, I as the eldest of the third generation of the Martinez family tried to be strong for everyone else.

I was asked about Heaven and Hell. I was asked about Extreme Unction. I was asked about Purgatory. While I didn't have all the answers, they felt comfortable hearing words. It set their mind at ease, if only because they had someone to listen to the tough questions. It was as if my family already thought I was a priest.

The Saturday before she died, I remember driving down to be with the family. We were at the hospital for a while, and my mom and aunts talked about heading to someones house to get some rest. I said I wanted to drive for a bit, and left in my own vehicle.

That night I drove around South Bend, completely lost in my own thoughts. I cruised around the town until 11:30PM, not knowing much of what to think or do. I was confused. I was sad. I was in pain.

After hours of thinking and rattling my brain, I realized what was bothering me. I'd told most of the family about my discernment, and how I was looking into the Capuchins. However I'd never told my grandmother. I kept it from her when she was healthy because I was unsure, and there's no way I could explain how complicated my decision was. Now, when time was almost too late, there's no way she'd even know.

At midnight I returned to the hospital, and the nurses let me into her room without question. For the first time, I was alone with my grandmother who was no longer responsive. I sat by her bed, and talked to her for the first time in a long time.

"Grandma. It's me. Soy Vito.

"Grandma, I know you can still hear me. There's something I've wanted to tell you for a long time. I think God's calling me to be a priest, Grandma, and I don't know what to do. I'm scared that I'm not good enough. I'm scared of changing my life.

"But I'm gonna try. I think I've found where God wants me to serve, and I think I know what he wants me to do. I think he just wants me to be happy. I don't know if I'm smart enough, or holy enough. But I'm really gonna try."

In tears, I sat with my Grandmother as I sit in front of this notebook, overwhelmed by the feelings of grief, feelings of complete humility, and the total honesty of what my feelings are. I'll never know exactly what road I should be on unless I make the next big step.

Even now, I'm still not sure.

...but I'm going to try.

Discernment and Music: My Sundown

I know I've still been spotty on my blog updates, but that will all soon change. Within the week, I'm sure I'll have more time than I know what to do with. Is that a hook to get you to see what will happen?

It just might be.

Until then, let me catch up by featuring another song whose lyrics, while unknown at the time, would provide a meaning far beyond any I would imagine. Unfortunately it's not a very uplifting song.

I've spent the past year figuring out what to do with my life, while existing in a world that could care less about spirituality, civil justice, or moral truths. As I fight to realize who I am, I surrounded myself with those who cared only for their version of success. And as I revealed my plans, I've heard my share of pretentious well-wishing's...people trying to make it sound as if I were giving up my career for Clown College.

While I thought I could find peace when surrounded by chaos, I have to get to a better place: in my work, in my social life, and in my spiritual life. Many times I've found myself lost on this long road to priesthood, simply by cluttering my life with worries and distractions.

In the next few weeks, I will be back on track and with a new goal....making it until August 1, 2008. I'll never be 100% sure if I should be a Capuchin, a Diocesan Priest, or just a Eucharistic Minister....but I'm going to find out. If I am to spend the rest of my life doing something that will make me happy, then I must streamline my life to be ready by August 1, 2008: the date Postulancy begins for the Capuchin Franciscans.

This song is my goodbye. Not my goodbye to you, Dear Readers. This song is my goodbye to the world, and to the life of money and success that I used to be so proud of. The saddest thing of it all is that this old materialistic world cares not for someone who gives up the chase to help the poor. Perhaps this is why the song fits so perfect.

We've heard from Everlast. We've heard from Led Zeppelin. We've even heard from George Michael. This one comes from Jimmy Eats World.

I see it around me, I see it in everything
I can be so much more than this

I said my goodbye's, this is my sundown
I'm gonna be so much more than this
With one hand high
You'll show them your progress
You'll take your time
But no one cares
No one cares

I need you to show me the way from crazy
I wanna be so much more than this
With one hand high
You'll show them your progress
You'll take your time
But no one cares

Good goodbye
Lovely time
Good goodbye
Tinsel shine
Good good bye
I'll be fine
Good goodbye
Good goodbye


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