Third Sunday of Lent: Rejection, Worries, and Cultivation

Week three into my Internet fast, and I'm still struggling to stay away from being online. Like I mentioned last week, there are many needs that are met through email and research online. Yet it seems that staying away altogether would be a better option than trying accessing the internet and actively trying to stay off Facebook or Twitter.
And, of course, this seems to be the time when I need to be online the most.

This week I got my first ever college rejection letter. Even in high school, I was accepted to each school I applied to (granted I only applied to schools I knew I'd get into last time). It shouldn't be surprising: I was a huge slacker in college, and I'm amazed I they didn't laugh at my transcripts! But when I got the letter last week, my ego still took a hit as I read the words: "we regret to say that your application has been declined."

My future isn't completely bleak: I was accepted to St. Xavier University in Chicago before receiving the rejection letter from another college. And because I goofed off/dropped so many classes my first time around, I will have to complete core classes all over again: creative writing, math, history, etc. Part of my problem when I was 18 is that I thought those classes, classes I'd taken in high school, were a waste of my time. Now as I look at my future and entering college again, I'm thankful to take classes I will already have knowledge it will make my transition a lot easier.

I've also worried about how this blog is doing. While I try not to worry about blog hits, links, bounce rates, and the other statistics that Google Analytics tracks, I've noticed a decline in readership that troubles me. I know there are more important things than what my rank is or how many people I'm reaching, but as a task-oriented person, anything that shows "decline" can feel the same as "failure."

On the plus side of all of this, I recognize that I have a lot more time for other things. I've been asked to make another side rosary for a friar, I finished a prayer project I've been working on, I'm trying to write a book (as if writing this blog isn't enough!), and since the weather's getting nice again, I've ready to get the soccer ball out again. I'm playing my guitar a lot more, and realize that I'm actually getting good at it!

Perhaps that is one of God's gifts that I've received from all of this: while I'd love to be connected and working online a lot more, the ability to disconnect and tap into my other gifts and desires is a treasure worth enjoying...especially here in Novitiate.

So many that's what Lent is about. Rather than just giving up something for 40 days that we will continue doing right after Easter, but (like today's Gospel) an opportunity to cultivate and nurture ourselves that will allow us to share our gifts and bear fruit for others long after these forty days are done.

I'll blog again next Saturday; next Sunday we leave for our silent retreat in Wheeling, WV.

As for my rejection letter from college, I decided to save it. Thanks to an idea from my Novice Master, I decided to save it for a later project: my Wall of Humility. In the future, whenever I get too full of myself, I'll have a few things on my Wall of Humility to bring me back down to earth.


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