So I’ve been gone for about a month… It’s been a bit crazy as of late and I’d like to take a moment to share the 3 main reasons for my absence.
On May 2nd, my mother-in-law, Mary Boran (affectionally known to many as “GrandMary”), took her last breath. After battling through several years of lung issues and other ailments GrandMary’s suffering finally came to an end.
She was blessed to be visited and surrounded by family and friends, and I’ve been amazed at the incredible love and faith shown by so many during this time.
The words of the Hail Mary continue to hit home in a more real way than ever (“pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death“). Yet while the grief continues to linger, the realities of our faith remain potent and promising.
GrandMary was such a wonderful woman. She befriended anyone and everyone with her joyful smiles and was quite fond of having fun (I keep thinking, “Heaven just got a little sillier…”).
She was like a second mom to many (myself included) and had a very real, deep, and confident faith. I wish her grandchildren could have had more time with her, but I know our memories and her prayers from Heaven will continue to bless us in the days and years ahead.
Any and all prayers for my wife (Kate), her father (Dave – married to Mary for 42 years), and the rest of the Boran family would of course be much appreciated. And if you’d like to go beyond that, here are 12 GrandMary-esque ways you could honor her further:
- Take a nap, and don’t feel guilty about it.
- Talk to your cashier the next time you’re at the store.
- Whistle to the birds.
- Get on the floor and play with the children in your life. Pretend. Make believe. Be silly.
- Say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy (this was one of Mary’s favorite prayers from the last few years).
- Read a good book in the sunshine (and maybe take a little snooze break between chapters).
- Appreciate the color, texture, and beauty of the world around you. And, if possible, take a piece of it home to remember it by.
- Make cookies for someone in your life: A neighbor, a teacher, and definitely your mechanic.
- Write a note to a friend who is struggling.
- Savor good chocolate and good coffee.
- Bless car windows, airplanes, and other modes of transportation before it departs with you or your loved ones inside.
- Wear a bright, bold color, a funky pattern, or scarf or necklace. And wear it with confidence just as Mary often did.
Eternal rest grant unto Mary, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercies of God, rest in peace. Amen.
A decade ago I started the tradition of going on a 3-day camping retreat each year. I use this time as a chance to rest and recharge, experience God through the beauty of nature, reflect on the past year, and set goals for the year ahead.
I’ve had some memorable moments over the years: From surviving a middle of the night tornadic-like storm to bird-sized mosquito attacks to literal earth-shaking bomb explosions (during a surprise military training nearby)… Every year has truly been unique!
And this year, like every year, was full of many blessings:
I listened to nature.
And I thought about YOU!
So much so in fact that I made a little video for you during one of my treks through the woods!
If you’d like to see what I had to say, you can check it out by clicking HERE or on the picture below.
3. Mental Health
One more reason why I’ve been absent this last month: I’ve been taking time to focus on my own mental health.
As you know, the life of a teacher isn’t an easy one. For years I stressed over the constant barrage of lesson plans, grades, emails, meetings, student concerns, etc. Feeling burnout on the horizon, I decided to take a break from the classroom and help raise my kiddos at home. That was two years ago and unfortunately, for a number of reasons (personal temperament, a difficult 1 year old, and even the challenge of trying to grow CRT), feelings of stress and anxiety continued to pop up.
And so, with the support and encouragement of my amazing wife, I recently started meeting with a therapist to start working through some of these struggles.
It’s been AWESOME.
SERIOUSLY – It’s been so incredibly helpful and so incredibly interesting (how often do you think about doing “physical therapy for your brain” after all?).
I continue to experience blips of stress and anxiety amidst the chaos of family life, but now I have a variety of strategies that help me keep the peace that God wants my heart to have.
I mention all this because again, I know how challenging the life of a teacher can be (absolutely BRUTAL at times – especially during a pandemic!). And so, if your own mental health is currently struggling, I just want to encourage you to not run away from taking care of yourself. Whether that’s finding a therapist, making time for more self care, or just sharing your struggles with a trusted friend or family member, go for it!
And if any of the above is resonating with you, I’d highly recommend checking out the book Unworried: A Life without Anxiety by Dr. Gregory Popcak. It’s written from a Catholic perspective, is full of all kinds of great tips and insights, and is a resource I’ve found to be very helpful as of late.
Lastly, know of my continued prayers and support for you. If you ever need or want to reach out about the highs or lows of life as a teacher of the faith, please don’t hesitate – I’m here for you! 😊
God bless you!
Categories: The CRT Blog