Mercy Me! I've got work to do.

Mercy Me — I've got work to do! making the world a better place – starting with me.

My Peeps

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Guess who has a birthday coming up?!  No! Not Beyonce!  Well, okay she does, but I am not talking about her or any other celebrity born in September — Pippa Middleton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Keanu Reeves or Harry Connick Jr.

Mercy me!  I am talking about my own birthday!

As it turns out, I am not going to be 40 forever.  Who knew?

I am actually excited about turning another year older, and not because I have avoided death for yet another year, although that’s kind of a nice bonus, but because of this space here where I have spent my 40th year sharing my journey doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

It’s hard to convey what this past year has meant to me.  So, I am not going to bother.  Not yet anyway.

Instead, I want to take a moment to thank a few people.

First, there is my friend Jeannette, who helped me with the design of the blog.  If I knew when I asked her to help me, how much I was truly asking, I assure you I would have never asked.  I didn’t know the first thing about setting up a blog and she patiently sat with me and helped create this site.  She absolutely hates recognition, and so I am hoping she will forgive me for thanking her in such a public way.  I won’t mention that she is incredibly bright, talented and kind because it would probably send her over the edge.  Instead, I will just say thank you for making this possible for me.  It has been an incredible blessing that you will forever be a part of.011

Remember, Jeannette, it is a work of mercy to forgive others.

Second, there is my mother who sort of inspired this space by telling me half in jest that I wasn’t good at doing works of mercy.  WTH?  Really? I have to be good at doing works of mercy?  It’s not enough that I didn’t end up on drugs, that I finished college, had a career, married, gave her grandchildren, go to weekly mass, and still call her despite the absurdity of saying things like that?

No, it’s not enough for her or, as it ends up, for me either.  Thank you for requiring more of me — especially when it comes to increasing my capacity to love and serve others as God has called each of us to do.  I can remember countless examples growing up of simple kindnesses that my mom did for others. Indeed, she is better at doing works of mercy than I will ever be.  But it was her spiritual work of mercy, to instruct the uninformed, that caused me to pause, reflect and begin this endeavor.267

Third, I want to thank my husband and children.  My husband has patiently listened to me read to him every post that I have written.  He has inserted semicolons and added commas on my behalf.  More importantly, he always listened to what I had to say beyond the post.  Over the course of this past year, I have said a lot, much of it repetitive.  This repetitiveness is not a result of early senility, but of my inability to grasp the disparity and suffering in our world which contrasts so sharply with the blessings in my life.  Thank you, Honey for listening to me lament every time – like it was the first time.114

I am going to sound like a proud mama bear here, so bear with me.  My children have been incredible with their willingness to volunteer often under very hot or uncomfortable circumstances.  Of course, I didn’t give them a choice, but neither did they complain.pulp

I learn so much from their unjaded hearts about unconditional love and acceptance.  The way they view the world – its simplicity, its limitless possibilities and its loving God makes me feel ageless and inspired.

I always tell my children, he who is last is first, so it’s fitting that my last thank you is for my dear friend, Helena.  I have jokingly referred to her as my editor because she has read and given input on every single post this year (except this one, SURPRISE!)  But really, she is a friend in the truest sense of the word.049

While I have known her since high school, it is not the duration of our friendship that makes it so special.  It is her.  It is the way she listens to me with compassion not judgement.  It is the way she encourages and believes in me.  It is the way she has sat quietly behind the scenes of this project as a virtual unknown, but whose support undeniably made it happen month after month until finally we are here at month 12.   Thank you for tirelessly cheering me, comforting me, and listening to me.  Your humility and unselfishness astounds me and your friendship blesses me.

Whew!  I am pretty sure if I was on one of those award shows saying all that, I would have been shooed off the stage like ten paragraphs ago.  And, I am sorry if that was terribly boring to read assuming you made it this far.  But really, one can take a journey by themselves, but not without encountering a fellow traveler.  These were mine and they refreshed me when I was ever weary.

With almost a month to go, I think of some words that Mother Theresa said.  “I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”

So, I am.  Except in my case, I’m not the pencil,   just a girl with a lap top.  Either way, it’s His story. He’s the true author. He’ll write it as He wants it to be told.  All I know, is that because He is the author, however it unveils itself will no doubt, have a happy ending.  Knowing this, I am assured that when the month ends I will have more to celebrate than a happy birthday.

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Author: Lara Patangan

Mercy me, I’ve got work to do… is a blog I started on my 40th birthday to chronicle my experiences spending the year doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy. No longer on the cusp of a new decade, I am still here finding that much work remains – in the world, my community, my relationship with God and perhaps most challenging, within myself. Please sign up and join me as we share the work that matters most – being better people. In hopes that when the decades cease to pass the world will still whisper of the graces left in our wake.

22 thoughts on “My Peeps

  1. OMG! I can’t believe it’s over!! It has been a wonderful year! I have SO enjoyed the journey with you …..I will miss the beautiful orange posts!

    Happy Birthday!!
    Kellie Rice

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    • Thank you Kellie! I still have 25 more days to go before I am official. I have not decided what I will do with my little orange site yet but it will be a relief to have at least fulfilled the commitment. Then maybe I could write about something fun — like shopping! xo

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  2. Congratulations Lara!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You did it… you made it through. We are all very proud of you. You have a lot of determination girl to create and engage in such an admirable and monumental project. XOXO. Teresa and family.

    You are going to continue another year, right?

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    • Teresa,

      You are so dear! Thank you 🙂 I have not made it yet and still actually have one more to do — but at least at this point I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Oh, how I have missed that light!! I haven’t decided what I will do for year 41 — maybe you and I can do a yoga challenge!?

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  3. Oh… but I forgot…

    Most importantly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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  4. I cant believe it has been a year already. I have loved reading your blogs! And I loved this blog in particular. Happy early birthday. Now what will you do for your 41st year? get wild? Just kidding.

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  5. Lara,
    I am thankful that you decided to take on this journey. I have learned so much from your experiences. Your went in with your eyes closed not knowing where you were you were headed. You trusted God, and he became your compass, guiding you were He needed you the most. Now that your eyes have opened a year later.. your goodness has contributed to helping others who needed your voice. Your selflessness lead you to feel compassion, and your caring dimished all judgments. You became God’s special servant, and what a blessing to be part of such a phenomenon.
    I am so proud of you and I am proud to call you my friend. Thank for inspiring us all to be more conscious of the world around us. Thank you for sharing the journey in which God accompanied you. Happy Early Birthday ! xoxo

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    • Racquel,

      That was just beautiful. So, so beautiful and undeserved. You have really humbled me and I don’t even know what to say!God did inspire this journey and I have learned to trust Him more because of this endeavor. I am terrible with letting go. So that was huge and painful. But today I was thinking of all the blessings that came from it. I am more conscious of the world, but I am afraid I am still more clueless than I ought to be. But I am closer and I am trying. I think that’s all He asks. Thank you Racquel, your kindness is one that I will not forget. (This is HUGE because I forget almost everything! 🙂 I am just going to go to bed tonight with the fullest heart ever.

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  6. Although I will miss your little orange site, I am so blessed to have the creator of it as a friend! You are a true inspiration and a humble and honest servant. Thank you for sharing this with all of us!!

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    • Susan,

      Trust me, I am the one who is grateful that you followed along with me. I am grateful to everyone who took the time to read even a single post. There is no way I could have sustained this without the accountability of sharing my experiences. You kept me going. While I mean that in a broad sense, I also mean it personally. You were always generous with your encouragement and like most kind things we do for others, you will probably never realize what that meant to me.

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  7. LARA!!! I was wondering why you posted without me knowing about it! I figured I have been just too overwhelmed lately so you skipped a step! But – truth be told – you have not needed my editing since maybe blog number 3 – TRUTH. Wonderful job you have done and you have truly brought the religious and the spiritual and the reflection and the belief back in my life. I love you anyway – but I love you for that. Like I needed to cry again…….. Always here – Helena

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    • Helena – I felt like a little kid with a really big secret! It was fun and terrible all at the same time because I wanted to tell you! Anyway, it’s not your editing that made me send them to you. It was your insight, your reactions, your encouragement. It gets kind of lonely and quiet sometimes in the blogosphere so it was so helpful to know how each one touched you or didn’t. But it was more than that too. Way more. It was just how you have been there to listen to all the trials of the project. I don’t know anyone else on earth who could have endured that much whining (except maybe Pat!) I may have strengthened your faith in God which is enough in itself to have made this all worthwhile. But you in turn, strengthened my belief in myself. For that I will always be grateful.

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  8. Lara, I too have loved each and every post- always inspiring, down to earth and so beautifully written. I really can’t believe how fast your 40 th year has gone bye. Selfishly of me – but I am praying you will continue your blog ! Happy, happy 41 dear friend! Love you, Mary Jo

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    • Thank you Mary Jo! I love that you have followed along. I have not decided what to do with my blog, but love that you want to keep reading! I will prayerfully consider what happens next — but right now I really want to relish the now. And in the now, I am just feeling so blessed. Thank you for being part of that.

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  9. Next month I turn 40 and let me just tell you by doing this blog you have inspired so many people to look outside of themselves and find true purpose in their lives to give back. I am on board and very thankful to know you. I look forward to hearing more and knowing you better.
    Thank you,
    Wendy

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    • Wow Wendy! 40!!! I know its not a big deal to some people but for me it was just an impetus to pause and begin anew. I think whatever can get any of us to pause in our fast-paced world is a blessing. I hope 40 is a blessing for you and LOVE that you have already been a blessing to our school and community by gathering us for Bible studies and retreats. You have such a gift of ministry so I look forward to seeing what you do next!

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  10. Lara, I sure hope you will keep blogging. I’ve enjoyed your short time at CSBN. I thought the best thing about turning 41 was not being 40 any more. I was one of those people whom it hit hard. Happy birthday!

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    • Ha! That makes me feel better! And truly I do look forward to 41. Everyone made such a production of 40 and then I was starting this project which involved “putting myself out there” so that made me feel more like a 12 year old than a 40 year old. I may have to adopt your mantra though “at least I won’t be 40 anymore!”

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  11. Don’t stop. We need you! We need your thoughts. Saw Godspell over ther week-end performed by these incredible young people. I thought of you. Why?
    Who knows?

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    • Bill,

      Always nice to hear from you and it is so nice to be thought of in connection with young people! The kids will be back to school soon so maybe we can volunteer together again soon. I have missed your insight and your contagious Christ-like spirit!

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