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Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft tries to balance her traditional Mexican-American cultural heritage and Catholic identity, personified by her grandmother La Lupe, with her roles as a young wife and mother.

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February 6th, 2014

A Spiritual Journey in Words

Looking back on four years of “La Lupe”

 
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LaLupe100-2When I first started writing for Busted Halo® back in 2010 I was mentally in a place that a lot of young adults find themselves in — unfulfilled, lonely, and unsure how to make life better. I had just left my teaching job to stay at home with our first daughter. While babies are such a gift and being able to stay home was such a blessing, I had NO IDEA what I was doing and was totally unprepared for this drastic change in my life. All I did all day was stare at Olivia and listen to her cry ceaselessly. I just didn’t know any better. I didn’t know that I could get out there and make new friends, find a community, continue living my life. I was spiraling downward quickly. I totally disconnected myself from the world and to be honest, from my own sense of self.

Enter Busted Halo®. Brandon used to work with the Paulist Fathers, and he found out Busted Halo® was looking for some new bloggers and suggested I give it a shot. I sent over a few things and La Lupe was born. I’m not going to say that Busted Halo® gave my life meaning, but rather it reminded me that we really, really, really need community to help us see the meaning in our lives. We are not in the world to be independent and on our own. We are made to need help, to need others, to need different points of view.

As I continue to write for Busted Halo®, Flannery O’Connor’s words ring true for me, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”

A lot of what I have written has helped our marriage. It has helped me look a little more objectively at our relationship, the problems we have, and the love we continually work to cultivate. I’ve been able to share why we got married, reflect on the question of should we have gotten married, how we are working on our communication, and the very real day-to-day struggles of marriage.

I’ve been able to reflect on big life changes: pregnancies, the loss of a dear friend, going back to work full-time, and then leaving work and coming back home again.

I’ve come to some spiritual realizations that have helped me better discern how God is calling me to live. We are still very happy at the parish we finally settled upon after a very long search. I’ve struggled with confession and with spiritual drought. But I have found that even if I sometimes don’t feel like it, sticking with my faith through these hard times has led me to a community that keeps me in check and has led me to a more profound faith.

There are so many stories in the news that may have just slipped past me had I not taken the time to think about it from a Busted Halo® point of view. Things like xenophobia and immigration reform, the objectification of women, health care reform and the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ response, the Trayvon Martin trial, the humanitarian crisis in Syria, and Typhoon Haiyan.

But I’ve also taken a step back to reflect on big picture questions like how to help people, how to love my neighbor, and how to not love money.

I’m sure many people would say that Busted Halo® has helped them clarify what they believe. All the vibrant conversation that happens in the comment box lets people really hash out ideas, and we all grow from open ears and open hearts.

As I read over my posts from the last four years, it’s amazing to me how much I’ve grown and how much I’ve learned from other Busted Halo® writers and readers. There is one reader that first commented on one of my posts when she was a freshman at Notre Dame, and now, the last comment she contributed mentioned that she is a senior about to graduate. I wish I knew to look for something like Busted Halo® in college.

I think a lot of us are scared and confused (or maybe it’s just me) most of the time and trying to make sense of what we’re doing with our lives. What is my destiny? What am I called to? What am I working toward? Do I do it alone?

What I appreciate most about Busted Halo® is that it makes me brave. Brave in the sense that I know someone’s got my back. We’re all trying to find what God put us on this earth to do and hoping that we recognize the Holy Spirit’s guidance when we stumble upon it. Here we are accountable to each other and depend on one another and I believe that is what a community should be. Thanks, Busted Halo®.

 
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The Author : Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft
Vanessa, a Notre Dame grad, loves the Catholic Worker Movement, Catholic education, and overbearing Mexican mothers, which she may or may not be. She lives in Austin with her husband and three daughters and is a freelance writer. You can find Vanessa at v.kraft.im or follow Vanessa on Twitter @laluped.
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  • randysimon

    Interesting reading your post; well articulated and helpful.

    You wrote: “I think a lot of us are scared and confused (or maybe it’s just me) most
    of the time and trying to make sense of what we’re doing with our
    lives. What is my destiny? What am I called to? What am I working
    toward? Do I do it alone?”

    This paragraph particularly stood out to me. I suppose because tomorrow I turn 57 years and I am dealing with the issues of growing into old age! At my age I find the writing of young adults very interesting and valuable. I also find the writing of old adults very interesting and valuable. But I generally do not find the writings of my own age group very interesting or valuable.
    It seems to me that often the reflections of a different generation can provide our own with the focus it needs to stay on a level and firm path.
    In your paragraph above you describe a person in search, a person in reflection, a person unsettled, a person who believes in a different and better condition. I was exactly that when I was young. And I am exactly that now that I am “older.” But there is a difference. That difference is that I am more relaxed about it all. There is a more quiet confidence based on both my faith and my experiences that in this life, God has provided a way for all things to work out (Romans 8:28), even those things that are usually considered “failures,” actually are matters that “worked out” in some way. For example, I’ve suffered “failures,” only to realize a short time later how “glad” I was to be out of that situation!

    Finally, I offer this closing thought: Retain your passion for life, retain your vision for a better tomorrow, retain your love for you family, friends, neighbors, community, and God . . . but relax on the “scared and confused” and on the striving-through-life parts. Everything that needs to come into clarity will do so at its proper time. Don’t let it bother you now. Make a distinction between life and the intrusions to life that happen in this world. Life is good; live it and enjoy it as much as you can, it is God’s gift.

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