Reflections…

Lead me through my faith…

I’m excited to share with you that I have been allowed to become trained and certified as an instructor for the Mental Health First Aid program for our local Catholic Diocese. Such an amazing program, and I am truly honored to have this chance to be a more active member of the mental health ministry for our community!!

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a prevention strategy that teaches how to help people developing a mental illness or in a crisis, including:

  • Signs of addictions and mental illnesses
  • 5-step action plan to assess a situation and help
  • Impact of mental and substance use disorders
  • Local resources and where to turn for help

My work will entail leading at least 3 classes a year. That’s the minimum. I hope we can reach as many people as we can – teachers, parish staff, parents, etc – those on the front lines who see our most vulnerable neighbors. I’m so very honored to get this chance, and I truly will not waste this gift.

It’s been almost three years since Allie took her life. I still can’t believe she is gone. I don’t know if I will ever come to terms with this fact fully. I will, however, keep praying that I will get to see her again. I just need to keep trying to be better so I can get to heaven and be with her again.

I miss my girl. I miss sitting next to her. I dream about her – brushing her hair almost felt so real that I woke up still feeling the touch of her hair on my fingers. I miss hearing people talk about her. I just miss her.

I keep this sadness in check, and I use this energy to do something. If you knew my daughter, you would remember her boundless energy. It was cooped up all the time, and she rarely sat still. She worked out every day. She went out and did something every day. She was a people person and could never be alone.

It’s this energy that I used to be in awe and wonder. She was all over the place and had friends all over the place. Maybe she hid her sadness with her activity. I suppose at one point she could no longer keep it in check.

I see now how so many mask their feelings. I’ve learned to treat every person I meet with patience and space. I’ve learned to listen. That is hard.

I pray each of us continue to try to listen. We all want our voices heard. But listening is a gift, one that so many will cherish when you give. It is in giving that we receive, and the receipt is a feeling of peace within your heart that you touched someone in a good way. It only takes one touch to make a difference.

Prayers & Support For the Faithful – Suicide Awareness Month

We pray that families and friends experiencing the loss of a loved one by suicide may find healing and comfort, we pray to the Lord.

We pray that those living with a mental illness, depression and suicidal thoughts may find the help and support that they need, we pray to the Lord.

Thankful for God’s eternal mercy, we pray for the repose of the souls of those who have died by suicide, we pray to the Lord. 

We pray that our parish may be a place of hope and refuge for persons experiencing suicidal thoughts.

“The future is so much in the hands of God, I find it much more easy to accept today because yesterday has gone and tomorrow has not come, and I have only today.”

Sr. Teresa of Calcutta

Watch Responding to Suicide featuring Bishop John B. Dolan, Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego and Deacon Ed Shoener, founder of the Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers 

Watch Reach Out, You Are Not Alone featuring Fr. Fred Cabras 

Channel your artistic self…

First I must thank everyone who prayed over me these last few weeks. I was in a funk for a long time, and I truly have felt the prayers for faith and resilience. I feel invigorated and faithful. Things are happening that will bring help to so many, and I’m excited to be a part of it (details soon because I don’t want to jinx it ).

I saw posts online about September being suicide awareness and prevention month. Such a good moment to stop and think. I do think, however, if people know how this can be made into action

I think of each of us as sculptors who take turns in helping mold each other as we age and turn into mature people. There are some people who take careful chips on our being. There are some who can be a bit careless, but without malice, take one chip too harshly from our selves. There are also those, especially during our teen years, who make sure they take that scalpel as hard as they can to make a dent into our souls.

It starts early in our lives, right. The chipping away of our souls can be done in small painful ways that add up to a big hole. A parent who ignores their child or a child who is always chosen last for group games make small yet meaningful dents. It takes one chip however to make it slightly better. Imagine if many more try more carefully to touch our beings with more care and love to reshape our humanity.

I’m trying to explain how each touch point we make is so very important. It can be you answering your parent about how you are after a crappy day. Did you respond curtly or with patience? Did you snicker when you saw someone walk by with a toilet paper stuck to their shoe? Did you joyously celebrate when your words were a zinger to another person? Did you have that satisfied smile and gossip knowing someone got their “karma” back?

It’s not her birthday, btw. I just love this collage. Photo cred: Chloe Nguyen ❤️

Yeah, even if other people don’t know how you talk behind their back or see you snicker and giggle, you know that they feel it. It’s chipping away piece by minute piece into their confidence and strength.

Stop, think AND care. It seems we have let go of our moral compass at the most opportune times. Compassion and respect are so underrated. Don’t use a hammer in dealing with others. Gentle words, caring hearts.