Maybe advice...maybe a vent

Were it is…

Well I am a happily married Catholic who has a number of probems…

  1. I am a beginning attorney who has become disgusted with the vast majority of the legal profession. I really doubt whether I really want to deal with the BS and “justified lies”. Student loan debts are high and confining. People expect me to be an attorney…lots of pressure. I’m not in a financial position to help anyone, and am barely making it myself.

  2. I really don’t fit well with my friends. Most are not particularly holy people, but they are not bad either. I feel my friends do not benefit my spirituality and too concerned with the here and now. However, really religious people are not a good fit because I’m from “the wrong side of the tracks” and it shows in my personality.

  3. My family is a blessing and a burden. My mother is 60 but acts in ways contray to her own good. She is capable of caring for herself but constantly will not change her lifestyle (clean, manage money effectively, take care of problems with the house) I have a decent relationship with her when I’m not upset with this bahavior. My sister and her boyfriend have 3 kids together and the situation is unstable, which worries me silly. My brother is holding his own but is unwilling to carry part of the load with me because he feels overtaxed too. This cuases resentment on my part because I feel everything is thrown onto me. I love them alot and want to help but they are stressing me out signifigantly and I keep getting upset at them. How do I deal with them without getting steamed.

I am not qualified to give advice on your personal situation but I can make some general suggestions drawn from classic spiritual direction, and from commen sense of modern pyschology. I say “you” in the editorial sense, not the personal “you” directed at OP or anyone else.

Your first concern is your own soul and your own spiritual health and growth. You deal with that first. You attend to your prayer life, your sacramental life, your reading and contemplating the Word of God and make that your priority. From that basis you continually discern God’s will for your life with regard to vocation, then career, family, living situation etc.

You cannot change anyone else, you can only change yourself. We are all called to continuing conversion and holiness. In dealing with family members and close friends the best guide to helping them in their struggles is Search and Rescue by Patrick Madrid.

You cannot be a doormat unless you allow yourself to be. Sacrificial giving to others is holy when it comes from identification with Christ and real charity. It is destructive when it comes from guilt or from enabling the destructive behaviors of others.

Congratulations! You sound like a wonderful, hardworking, thoughtful, and responsible person. May God continue to bless you.

A person “from the wrong side of the tracks” who achieved becoming an attorney, by being self reliant and getting student loans, is discerning with their personal relationships, and still has the presence of mind and good conscience to be concerned for the well being of his aging mother. Thank you for your hard work and sacrifice.

Last November I found myself overwhelmed with all of my day to day activities and competing priorities… Full time job, caring for my two kids, a sick mother, etc…I decided to turn my life over to God. I read the book “A Purpose Driven Life” and it has made all the difference in the world. None of my obligations or activities has changed, but my attitude about them are totally different as I can now see everything in my life as working towards God’s plan. I suggest reading the book.

God bless,

Thanks for the advice and compliements. I feel a little better today. It’s just that life is very busy and stressful. Perhaps my own insecurities and a little grudge about my family will go away as I age. It has improved since I was in my early twenties. The problem I face now is that my “contemporaries” are all from middle and upper-class homes and I feel the need to be on an equal level with them, eventhough I had more to overcome. This is not about materialism but personal excellence. My major worry is that I will become a prideful materialistic jerk or become disillusioned and synical.

Please re-read your post and notice that your worries and thoughts are all very “me” centered. Making your life “God” centered will change everything.

Read the book.

The OP was asking about his life and things that affect it. Of course he mentioned himself. What do you expect him to do? He sounds very sincere and well meaning. Your simplistic answer sounds judgemental to me.

To the OP: Probably posting on a site like this is not the best way to get real direction, since you’ll get as many opinions as there are people, and they will have no more background on you than what you are able to give in a few paragraphs. I would recommend that you seek advise in person, from a priest or a counselor.

Thank you for your advice…W

Try thinking about it this way. If you feel a need to be “equal” to them, what does it say about those millions who are never going to have anything like the social, intellectual, or material riches that you all can hope for? Are they “below” you? Of course not. “They” are why you went into law, why you care about justice over winning.

Thomas Merton said once that the saints love the sinners because they realize that they’re one of them. To God, there is no wrong side of the tracks. There are those who love and those who have other motives, and He loves them all. The thing is, he made them all to love, and the poor wretched things keep running off after something else to fill that void in themselves that only God can fill.

If you look at it this way, it might give you more respect for the human dignity of those who don’t act according to their dignity, for whatever reason…including yourself. You can strive for excellence not because it makes you better, but because God already made you precious and gave you many gifts and you are determined to do your best to live according to what you are.

Do you see the difference? In one case, the excellence comes from a desire to merit love. In the other, the excellence comes from a gratitude for love given without merit. In the first, those “below” make you disgusted and those “above” make you feel inadequate. In the second, those “below” fill you with compassion and those “above” give you inspiration.

Only the second way will ever give you any peace or joy. Getting there and staying there, though, is no easy task. It is the work of a lifetime. THE work of our lifetimes, as it turns out.

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