Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The upside-down smoke and the shoes under the bed

Somebody in my office wears a rubber band around their wrist as some sort of memory jogger. I don't know them well enough to ask why, but it reminded me of something from ancient college days.

I first met God personally in college. I had a true "conversion experience" on December 10, 1978, when He made Himself known to me as a real Father Who really knew who I was and loved me. I reacted like any college student; I bumbled around trying three things at once. I went to daily Mass for awhile at the student Catholic center, but backed away from the over-friendly people; I read and read and READ (but I didn't think to pray and pray and PRAY); and I brought up the topic of religion among my friends, all of whom with me were science majors.

Oddly, all my closest college friends were either Catholics or Jews, some quite devout. We ended up having some rip-roaring discussions (although in college, everything gets rip-roaring at one point or another). One girl, trying to keep her walk of faith present to her daily, did something to make her aware; she turned the first cigarette around in her pack so it faced up. Every time she looked in her pack for a cigarette, she saw the reversed cigarette and tried to thank God.

(Please control your retching about the cigarettes; we ALL smoked then, everywhere. Times have changed, my children.)

In the domino effect of memory, this reminded me of another trick my second grade nun taught us. Put your shoes way under the bed before you go to sleep. Then, when you get up and get dressed, you have to look for your shoes. When you get down on your knees to fish them out, pray while you're down there. A sweet memory. Thank you, Sr. Willia.

What do you do to keep yourself mindful of Him?


alicia said...

I can't put shoes under the bed (water bed) but I put my keyring right next to my rosary and medals, so that when I am putting stuff in my pocket in the mornings I load up keys, rosary, medals. I am to the point where I feel naked without them. My rosary is in a little fabric pouch, and my medals are on a charm bracelet chain (but I don't wear jewelry on my hands or arms - professional reasons).
One of the great things about being Catholic is the incarnational aspect. Sacraments and sacramentals. I tried to keep a little bottle of holy water in my purse, but it leaked.....

Therese Z said...

I can see how easy it would be for some people (not us, I mean, I hope) to load up on stuff like medals and books instead of prayer. In college, I loaded up on conversation and books when I was struck by God instead of prayer. I still have book-buying disease.

Prayer is hard, until you get used to it. Then it's hard and good.

Another thing I do to be mindful is, whenever someone in my office uses the name of Jesus in vain (about a million times a day) I try to make an act of Love, if I hear it. It's a good irritation-breaker as well.

julia said...

What a wonderful idea. I need little habits like that to remind me to let God into my daily life more often. My habits mostly hold him at arm's length. I think I'll try something just like that. A little encouragement wouldn't help.



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