So this past weekend I made a trip to the DFW to see mi familia (mainly my 75-pound puppy), and to attend a TOBET (Theology of the Body Evangelization Team) Conference. I am happy to report that the family is in good health and generally holding themselves together fairly well despite my absence (I fear that it all may have just been a front for my benefit, but I have no proof), and that the conference was, in my eyes, a huge success. The Theology of the Body is, in the words of the inimitable George Weigel, "A ticking time-bomb set to go off," and I can attest that it is so. It was wonderful to see so many Catholics of all ages and walks of life willingly giving up their Saturday to come and learn more about the wonderful teaching of Blessed Pope John Paul II. I learned far more about TOB than I imagined I would, and more than I could adequately relate in such an impersonal format, and I am extremely glad that I went. Congratulations to you, Ms. Monica Ashour, you have put together quite the organization and the Catholics of DFW are richly blessed to have you and your colleagues and interns working in their midst.
I just checked the TOBET calendar and OH MY GOSH AMANDA AND ELIZABETH!!! TOBET IS DOING A THREE-PART TOB SERIES AT MY HOME PARISH!! I am just a tad excited. But in all seriousness, St Joseph's Parish needs something like this very very much and I can think of no one better than TOBET to bring this message to them.
Now, this being a blog, an inherently narcissistic endeavor, I must turn to matters of the self and you must pretend to be interested. I like this dynamic we have here very, very much.
I told you, some time ago, about a new Interest in my life (read: an exceptionally beautiful and smart young woman), and how we are choosing to communicate only through the United States Postal Service.
(Sidebar: I have also faced, for the first time, the realization of how one can sacrifice one's values for a woman. Not in a bad way, I assure you, Object of my Affections. normally, I would say let the Post Office sort out its own monetary affairs, but now I don't care if it's in the hole financially I just need it to stay afloat because I really don't want to have to FedEx all of my letters to her.)
Strange as this idea may seem, in this age of instant gratification and instant impersonal communication, I believe it is working wonders in us. I shall illuminate you by anecdote, prepare yourselves. I sent her a letter today. She will not receive my letter for several days, and it will be several more before I receive her response. and yet, I will open my mailbox everyday until then with the greatest anticipation imaginable. and I will not be disappointed when the mailbox is empty. Nay, the empty mailbox will only intensify my anticipation and magnify my joy when the letter finally arrives. Not only that, but with every letter and every empty mailbox I long all the more for a chance to see her in person. To hear her voice, her laugh, see her smile or the way she can look straight through you with those eyes. Even to be cut to pieces by her wit, which happens far more often than it should; I maintain to myself that she is cheating, dazzling me with those big blues and then taking advantage of my weakness.
But all brownie-points aside (and there should be a lot of them by this point), it all comes down to patience. Neither of us could be described as a patient person, and yet we force ourselves to practice patience by writing these letters. Of course, the Holy Spirit is a lot of help here; I find myself stopping by adoration much more often, even if just for a minute or two, to ask Our Lord for the patience I need to make it through the day without picking up the phone and firing off a text message or a call. If we were to continue to communicate in other ways while also writing these letters, I believe it would be useless. Yeah, we might have awesome keepsakes down the road, but I don't think that we would grow in patience at all. and, after all, is not a major point of dating and discernment to grow in Love and virtue so as to become more like Christ, to learn to love as he did?
I was listening to Audrey Assad recently, and her song, "Ought to Be" struck me. In it are the following lines:
"It may not be strong as the Oak Tree yet but
Love planted deeply becomes what it ought to and
Hearts given freely become what they ought to and
Love Planted deeply becomes what it ought to be."
That is what we hope to do in this period of our relationship. We seek to plant our love deeply so that it may thrive and grow tall and stand strong for many years. No, we lose nothing by communicating in letters. But we have everything, and I mean everything, to gain.