Interesting Scribbles

Be Not Afraid

September 8, 2017

Notes from St. William & St. Nicholas Young Adults retreat, on September 2, 2017.

Alex's Note: Unlike most of my notes, what I wrote at this retreat is a mix of summarizing main points in the talks and my own reactions. Most of my comments are in parentheses.


Sister Rebecca Shinas

Love is patient, love is kind, love keeps no record of past wrongs. God is love — so God keeps no record of wrongdoing.

Wounds become scars when they heal. Scars stay with us, even after we forget what they came from.

Even on the darkest days, when the heaviest clouds cover our heart, the brightness of the sun is still in our hearts. It may be obscured, but it can not be put out. And even then, the roiling clouds are still beautiful.

Did you love? And were you loved in return? (Were you vulnerable enough to be loved?)

If God is unchanging and keeps no record or memory of our wrongdoing, then conversion and repentance and reconciliation are about repairing our relationship with God — by repairing/healing ourselves.

Living life, not at the speed of light but at the speed of love. Being more relational. More conversation, sharing self, and communication, giving information. Communication lets us move from task to task, conversation means seeing the people first, and the then the tasks.

Ask the next question. How are you? Have a great day! What are you doing today? Turning a discussion of tasks into a conversation about the people.

Communication takes seconds; conversation takes minutes. If might feel like hours — but that’s a subjective difference, not an objective one.

The “next question” comes from a genuine interest in knowing the other person,

The peace of the world ebbs and flows with good and bad news. The peace Christ gives is constant. It remains unshaken in the face of bad news and grief and tears.

Change is a chance to have a new God experience.

Co-create. God creates; we create with Him. Everything that comes into our life is a co-creation. You might have been trying to request give it to God, for Him to create; He wants to create it with you.

(Life is a co-creation. Not us alone, or God creating it for us, but new life from us and God with us.)

“With” is about relationship and community and communion. (Its not too far from being able to say “I don’t know, lets find out together” or “Can you help me?”.)

Silence is “being” time. Pray as conversation, not communication.

Do. Be. Do. Be. Do.



People are not successful by accident. And success leaves clues.

What does the difference between someone who isn’t successful and someone who is look like? What are some unusual characteristics of successful people?

(Many of these things sound like they're describing people who are materially successful — who do well in the business word. But they also apply to people who are spiritually successful. We spent most of the small group hour after this talk discussing that, but I don't have any notes from that part.)

Say yes. Spiritually, that means church, retreat, confession, and so on. They do something. They get out of the paralysis of inaction.

Work harder than anyone else; success comes before work only in the dictionary. The difference between a good and great baseball player is the difference between hitting the ball about 2/10 times and 3/10. Its a small difference, but the point is that the great player can get that better outcome consistently.

(Pen and Teller: Often magic just means spending more time, effort, money, and energy on something than any reasonable person would consider.)

Be comfortable being uncomfortable. For example, I went to confession for the first time in 25 years. It was profoundly uncomfortable, but that’s what makes us grow.

Visualize themselves as successful way before they actually are. Action reflects thought — act as if you have something, and the minds treats it as if it were already there, and it will find a way to create that reality.

Vividly imagine what success looks like. Tell the story in reverse — starting from the future success and ending with today.

Believe in something bigger than yourself. That means doing something for someone else without expecting anything in return/advance. The world finds a way to repay you far more than you imagine.

Extreme patience. Any type of success takes way longer than you every expected. Especially at the beginning.

Failure is a stepping stone, not a stumbling block. Successful people try to fail better, not less.

Tenacity and the ability to adapt. If something isn’t working, change it! Don’t worry about admitting you were wrong. In the end, you’ll figure it out. It’s not giving up and quitting it’s learning from the mistakes.

Gratitude in failure. You don’t drown by being in water, you drown by not getting out of the water. I could lose everything I have, but I know I can get back what matters. (Not a perfect analogy; in that case, you can’t get out.)

There’s a good ROI in not caring (more than you should) what other people think. Too many people limit their thinking and they feel better if you do too — it’s important to pick carefully whose opinions you pay attention to. This has been one of the hardest things for me to come by.

How do you tell the difference between failure and not-yet-success, to pivot or wait? No easy answers… Be objective about it, as you analyze it. And get other people around you giving advice about it, who you trust, and who don’t care about what you want to hear. Thank them for giving you “bad news” when they point out a failure.

When I’m hiring a manager, I look for people who have qualities I lack. For example, I’m really bad it accounting. Don’t look for just like-minded people.