I don’t get the idea of moving half way around the world to ‘find yourself.’ Most of my life has consisted of finding bits of myself hidden in the cracks.
Sometimes the stuff we learn about ourselves is great, like learning to love myself. And realizing that my quirky humor and failed attempts at being cool, resulting in looking more ‘fool’ than cool, actually make me more likeable…
Other stuff that I find along the way is not as fun. I take things too personally, too seriously. And then when I try to lighten up, I become so focused on it that I end up being too serious about trying to lighten up…
Last week I was on vacation in Montreal. Montreal is a cool city, with great food and a fantastic nightlife. I am a man with a limited budget, a limited pallet, and a limited capacity for big crowds… so I needed something else from Montreal.
We visited the Notre Dame Basilica and it inspired me to go on a pilgrimage. I went looking for St. Jude. I went through quite an effort to find the elusive and unpopular Saint. I suppose that in finding St. Jude, I found a little bit of myself.
I have written before that St. Jude is know as the “Patron Saint of Lost Causes.” Honestly, as soon as I heard his ‘title’, I fell in love with St. Jude. I suppose that finding bits of myself along the way has helped me to see that life is not about being together. Finding a patron Saint made me feel a little less alone.
Saint of Being Forgotten…
The city has a lot of churches, cool old churches, so why not look for St. Jude? Turns out Jude is not very popular. He isn’t the Jude who betrayed Jesus… but because he and the other Jude share the same name, he is often neglected. It makes sense. If you are looking for some help and you say “Jude, I can use some help here…”, you may feel that you need to clarify “St. Jude, that is… not the other Jude… I don’t want that kind of help.”
Saint of the Quiet and Understated…
I can relate to that a little… I’m forgetful, quiet, and not one to draw attention to myself. And I need second tries, second chances and second servings of dessert.
I found images of St. Jude in a few old churches, but then I found St. Jude’s church. I was excited, until I tried to get in and it was locked. I tried a few doors and ended up Jude’s space. I met someone and he said that he prefers to think of Jude as a Saint of Hope.
Saint of Honesty…
“Saint of Hope” is not as catchy as “Saint of Lost Causes…” there is something that appeals to me about admitting that sometimes I feel like a lost cause. We get caught being too politically correct, nice-nice, and self-esteemey.
It’s not helpful to invest a lot of energy berating ourselves for being failures, so I prefer to be honest and just get it over with. Sometimes, we all screw things up… but I have learned I’m not a lost cause because my screw-up situations, emotions and experiences are never permanent.
Saint Jude reminds me that we are not our ‘lostness.’ As we grow, we find and reclaim parts of ourselves, we learn to be more humble and honest, we try to change but fall back… and through it all we keep going. For me, Jude is about the honesty and humility to admit that sometimes life feels really difficult and even a little hopeless. And we keep going, we keep showing up to whatever today is for us.
Saint of Not Always Having to Be Your Best Self…
I used to think that life is about growing, re-building yourself, and making yourself a better version of yourself. I poured myself into self-improvement and self-bettering. I find more satisfaction in my relationships than my efforts at being my best self. Sometimes my best self is irritating, grumpy, messy and he avoids too much.
Trying to fix myself took a lot of work. I have let go of trying to manage myself. I am not always my best self. Today, I’m just the self that decided to show up. Being mentally well for me means that I am more able to admit that today (or at least right now) I am not my best self… and I don’t have to make it feel better.
One of the miracles of acceptance is that when you let go of trying to feel better, you have more energy for self care, and for relationships with yourself and other people. For me, these are the things that ground me.
“Wait don’t rush
All is beautiful
Mistakes are love In practice
Life gives you a journey to now
So I just make it up as I go.”
Tonight Alive, “Looking for Heaven.”
So what helps you to feel grounded? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Keep it Real
Previously published on smswaby
Photos courtesy of the author