What is important for friends to know about me?

I have an overbearing sense of responsibility toward others. I enjoy honest and meaningful connection where noble values prevail.  I learn most from those who are honest about their struggles. I find myself needing solitude in order to appreciate the company I keep. I am selective when it comes to showing my playful and humorous side. I need a high level of independence in a relationship.  I am open to new experiences when I don’t feel rushed or pressured.  If I don’t have my own space to retreat to and recharge, I get fatigued and irritable.

As far as my temperament goes, it is artistic and colors the way I see the world. I seek beauty in the commonplace. I align creativity to my spiritual calling.  It’s a side of me few take time to get to know.  I seek substance over style. I shun doing things in a run-of-the-mill way. 

I am called to attend to what is invisible to most, in a culture that has little or no understanding of the calling to spiritual and creative attunement.  My faith can be summed up in the Incarnation.  God descended to earth to show us humility, grace, servanthood and serendipitous wisdom. The teaching and challenges I have received for the past years at church have been lightweight and repetitive: so I have been searching greater depth to the Christian life.

Having a low threshold for sensory stimulation, I want to develop greater coping strategies. I have an aversion to loudness, triteness, small talk and ready-made scripts.

I admire literary authors and how they delve the subterranean currents of the human heart.  I never tire exploring the forgotten world of classic literature. I am skeptical when it comes to convention, the media and consumerism. Writing (as well as Classic Literature) is intimately connected to my spiritual walk. Since my youth, it has been a way of exploring my faith and personal growth. I admire how authors view life through an inner lens. I enjoy reading classic literature over contemporary appreciating how authors infuse feeling into words, creating word pictures through the five senses.

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“Clarity must resonate within –
before it can echo without.”
~ Kelly Hartland

I originally wrote this a few months back, but had difficulty giving the experience any form until now. I guess that’s what vacations are for 🙂 ~ vincenzo

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My host country was one day away from celebrating Children’s Day. As a result the talk at church focused upon the nature of children and their rights. Whether or not it was true, the lady speaker commented on how we live in an adult-centered world where children are subjected to the whims of adults. She said with a commanding, yet constrained voice words to this effect:

“Adults often act as if they the owners of truth. Although society idealizes youth (as a way of marketing products) it treats them as irresponsible beings…”

She finished by pointing out how Jesus not only defended children, but considered them to be the ultimate model because of their believing, trustful nature.

My ears had a difficult time stomaching these words, not because of the content, but the icy/defensive/bossy tone in which they were delivered. As I reflected further, I began to examine my own…

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Random acts of kindness can be a source of blessing when they come from a place of strength. On the contrary, when we place our sense of wellbeing in someone else’s hands, we lose control. We set ourselves up for defeat when we determine how much we give by what we receive.

A friend shouldn’t have to be told his place, but possesses the sensitivity and security to discern it for himself. He is able to read expressions, gestures and actions — never assuming special standing unless this is explicitly expressed. Jesus instructed his disciples it is more commendable to take the lowest seat, than the seat of distinction. Taking an attitude of humility is a sign of true empathetic listening.

~ vincenzo

I thought I had sufficient experience in taking care of fish tanks, yet found myself mystified one day. Some of catfish were dying.  As quickly as I replaced the dead ones, the new arrivals suffered the same fate.

I asked the owner of a pet shop what it could be. He happened to be a marine biologist. He explained how changing the water of an aquarium not only removes dirt and grime, but essential bacteria culture that sustain aquatic life. If you don’t replace this bacteria, the fish die ingesting their own toxic waste as it mixes with the food bits that settle into the gravel below. The good bacteria neutralize the fish’s body waste.

This insight helped me see my spiritual journey in a new light.  Like good bacteria we need grace.  Without it we perish in the toxicity of our own self-contempt since we cannot fulfill our own high standards — even less God’s holy ones.  Statistics say 80% of psychiatric patients are religious (Fitchett, Burton, & Sivian, 1997) to the point of pushing themselves off the edge.

The Christian faith isn’t meant to pull us down into despair and loathsomeness, but to raise us up toward health, strength and everlasting hope.  Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11: 28-30

~ vincenzo

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We were born into a cold inhospitable world. It rarely consults us or adapts to our preferences. Moreover, it often assumes a posture of inflexibility, judgment and/or indifference. These insular traits hardly ever get questioned, though no-one can deny their deadening effect. Jesus expressed the inhospitable nature of humanity when he referred to the multitudes. He said they were like sheep without a shepherd.

I understand what it is like to want to connect with someone and yet be unable to do so. Sometimes it is because the person’s character totally contradicts the outward appearance. Sometimes the level of interest I show is not returned. Sometimes he or she just doesn’t know how to deal with a sensitive, artistic temperament. I’ve learned, nevertheless… it is never in vain to show care especially when it is done in a respectful, brotherly way.

Acts of kindness beautify life. They are a source of blessing when they come from a place of strength. It’s never about placing our sense of well-being in someone else’s hand. It is about showing generosity of heart, even in the face of possible indifference. It’s never in vain to show thoughtfulness and care even when someone doesn’t value it. Love avoidance doesn’t make caring expressions less valuable. The failure of someone to respond is a sad reflection of the wounded self.

My host country was one day away from celebrating Children’s Day. As a result the talk at church focused upon the nature of children and their rights. Whether or not it was true, the lady speaker commented on how we live in an adult-centered world where children are subjected to the whims of adults. She said with a commanding, yet constrained voice words to this effect:

“Adults often act as if they the owners of truth. Although society idealizes youth (as a way of marketing products) it treats them as irresponsible beings…”

She finished by pointing out how Jesus not only defended children, but considered them to be the ultimate model because of their believing, trustful nature.

My ears had a difficult time stomaching these words, not because of the content, but the icy/defensive/bossy tone in which they were delivered. As I reflected further, I began to examine my own incongruency — how many of my reactions seemed to follow a subconscious script emanating from the wounded self. It mirrored how I was treated as a child. The only drawback to the red lights on my dash was how they consistently advised me too late.