Katy Mena-Berkley, is a professional writer based in Chattanooga, Tenn. She earned her BFA in fabric design from the University of Georgia and launched her writing career with a fashion column in a local alternative newspaper. Katy’s interests in fashion and foreign culture then led her to Florence, Italy, where she interned as a contributing writer for textile publication La Spola. Since returning stateside, she has worked in reporting, editing and copywriting.
I’ve never been great at taking it easy, slowing down, if you will. A true type A personality, I feel compelled to go, go, and go some more—whether or not the commitment will result in positive outcomes. We’re all like that to some degree, I suppose, choosing areas of our lives to push ourselves to the limit. And there are real consequences to not stopping every now and then to simply breathe, listen, and find the center.
Constantly working to gain love, money, or even time to ourselves, humanity in general is in a chronic state of controlled panic. We want better grades, bigger houses, more “likes” on social media. Even those of us who are truly committed to living in the Faith get swept up in the chaos of it all, creating our own unique prisons of expectation.
In the quest for bliss, freedom, and prosperity, we trade our time, talents, and energy for rewards that are often fleeting or never realized. Money, recognition, or just a thank you every now and then may make the struggle worth the stress every once in awhile.
Since the passing of my mother 18 months ago and the untimely loss of a close friend two weeks later, I’ve been alternating my pursuits extremely, as usual. Repeating the mantra that, “We’re not promised tomorrow,” I’ve been frantically trying to squeeze it all in as quickly as possible. An MBA, a career, adequate time for adventure and relaxation—I’ve let all of these “to-dos” suffocate me more often than not.
Every day is game day, so I’ve been going hard and I’ve been going fast, sacrificing personal well-being for an intangible set of “what-ifs.” But the brain and the body will only take so much.
I catch myself holding my breath throughout the day, working to stay prepared for the unexpected if and when it occurs. And it hurts. The tension collects in the shoulders, interrupts the breath, and robs the body of its ability to rest. As a consequence, the mind balances on the tipping point of disaster, at the mercy of the human tendency toward self-destruction—a potential that can become reality if we forget that we cannot live on our own.
Instead, we must constantly remain on a quest to know the truth of the Faith and cherish family, friends, and any other resources that God has gifted us to heal.
That’s why we pray and that’s why we smile, remaining joyful in our aching, blissful lack of control. Every hour, every day is an opportunity to surrender our expectations and trust in Christ’s wisdom and passion to take us safely through this life, guiding every step and preparing us for the unexpected.
“By His grace I peaceably await death, in the hope of being eternally united to Him, and meanwhile I love joyfully, whether in the blessings which he is pleased to bestow on me or the afflictions He may send me for my own good and taught me how to endure by His example.” — St. Basil the Great
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