Tuesday, May 23, 2006


For those of you among my legion of online fans who have wondered where the heck Doogie got to these last few days, let me put you and your freshly gnawed fingernails at ease. [Forgive me, my ego is dancing a jig right now.]

I'm still here.

This post is untitled because no title can possibly fit. I've just spent a weekend on a TEC retreat and can't really put the experience into words, for reasons which you can only know if you go on a TEC retreat yourself (see the "Other Web Sites" section in the above link to find a local TEC).

You should go. Really, I really, really mean that. If you're Catholic (or can at least tolerate Catholicism in your quest for closeness with Christ) you should go. Don't ask me for more information, as I can't provide it.

What I can share however, is how God touched my life over this last weekend.

Of the many things I am, some of the more unpleasant ones include angry, hurt, and scared. I'm not sure what causes these emotions in me. So I brought them to Christ in prayer and asked him to fix me. What he has revealed to me is that my "introvertedness" is really just me hiding. It's not an innocent personality trait; it's almost a disorder of sorts.

An image came to me of a small concrete bunker surrounded by coils of barbed wire in the middle of a vast wasteland. That's where I hide when surrounded by people; even if I venture out of the bunker and act like a fun-loving, chair-jumping, sudden-piggyback-ride-imposing extrovert, there is still an emotional barrier between me and the people I'm with. The barbed wire is still between us. As soon as the distraction of fun is gone, I usually encounter an uncomfortable silence between me and whoever I'm with where I don't know how to really commune with them. So I have to do something else really bizarre to hide the discomfort.

This behaviour makes real intimacy hard in marriage. It also makes real communion with the Church rather difficult. God and the Saints can reach me in my bunker, but earthbound mortals have no chance.

So I prayed for God to break it apart. I prayed for him to ignore my cries of protest as he swings his wrecking ball of love at my fortress of solitude.

Currently, it still stands, but it's not quite as intact as it used to be. I now know that I must be present to my earthly brothers and sisters. This bunker should not be a part of my life. God intends for me to be able to function without it.

I do realize that there is still great merit to be found in private meditation and reflection, but the fruit of that reflection should be able to be shared with the community. That's why I'm posting this online for the world to see.

Also, I ask my new friends from TEC to be patient with me, and to hold me to this growth. If I come to a social event and slink away unnoticed, please notice. If you detect a sudden distance in my eyes in the middle of a conversation, clap, or shout, or wave some cheese around, or do something to pull me through the barbed wire. I want that communion; I need it!


  1. I don't even know what to say that was so cool and Yes the whole TEC thing is a secret but you have the others from TEC that you can talk to and tell them what's going on and ask them to prayer for you that is why we are here! Anyways that was so awesome and i hope we stay in contact.
    Nicole Boulet

  2. I have an urge to say "I survived" being the only non-Catholic there. But truth of the matter is, I did so much more than just survive. The weekend was absolutely amazing and there are no words for it. TEC (To Encounter Christ) is such an appropriate name as that is what I did this weekend.

  3. "Doogie",

    I can definitely empathize with you about the whole introversion thing, but just writing a post as personal as this shows me that God has done some serious damage to your bunker. Keep supplying the Lord with ammunition of prayer and love and He'll have no problems finishing the job. You may not be my 'official' prayer buddy, but know that I'll be praying up some spiritual reinforcements for the siege. Peace be with you!

  4. Doogie, I completely understand your enthusiasm and excitement about the weekend. I walked through the world today feeling like an over-inflated balloon ready to burst at the touch of a blade of grass. The weekend and all my new friends are in my heart and prayers.

    Talk to you all soon!
    Audree P.

  5. I'm not one for inspiring blog comments but I'm glad you got something out of TEC and I thank you for sharing that with the world. I'm sure it's been difficult and might get tougher but God loves you and so do I. May the Holy Spirit and your guardian angels keep you safe and open to what ever the Lord has planned for you.

    God Bless,

  6. And to think that I thought I could tell myself that I wouldn't miss much at TEC :P I've spent the last hour or so reading over various peoples' experiences, and nearly cried several times. I'm very happy that God Blessed you as abundantly as he did. I look forward to talking to you back in the 'peg.

  7. I'm thinking that instead of a bunker, I'll build in its place a gazeebo. It'll be hexagonal (like a Settlers tile!) and will have 6 pillars, but no walls.

    There will be a garden, and lots of life, and maybe a water fountain.

    And on a table in the middle, some cheese. Lots of it. :)

  8. Ed! All the way from Poland! God did so many amazing things this TEC...all you can say it that God is good! I'm very proud of my husband and completely blown away by the blessings and answers to prayers that our family received this weekend.

  9. Hey You! I had such a great time getting to know you during the TEC weekend. I just hope that we'll stay in thouch. Are you going to the bon fire? I'd love to see you there!
    Now to comment on your blog. I don't really know what to say, I'm almost in the exact same posistion as you right now. And a lot of things are going through my mind. I just hope and pray that you'll find a way to get through your barrier, and just to make sure you will successfully. I'll be sending over some cheese and wire-cutter (I don't like barb-wire it's too pokey :P )

    God Bless, Ciao

  10. Your picture looks familiar. Did I meet you at Feed the Fire?

    Great to hear TEC went well. I was unsure of myself near the start of it since I crave all that cold intellectual catechesis and TEC is an experience for the heart. The truth is, we've all got heart. It took me a while to let it sink in during that weekend, but it eventually hit me too. Hit me like a metric tonne of bricks.

    TEC isn't completely secret. It's a weekend where you experience the Paschal Mystery in the most real way any weekend can allow you to experience it. It's a very powerful experience if you're open to it. I even gained an appreciation for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament because of an experience there. :) I'm still racking my brain about what meanings are hidden in the weekend, there are so many. The intellectual stuff comes after the weekend if that's your thing.

    The website is a little out of date. Thanksgiving's TEC will be at Camp Malo, just outside of Winnipeg on my side of the city (The west end, I live in Portage la Prairie). Ask your Parish Priest for more details.

    -Ian McGowan

  11. I was at Feed the Fire on the Sunday for Mass. I don't recall your name but I'm bad with names. Come to a Wednesday night prayer meeting at the Archdiocesan Centre in St. Boniface the next time you're in town on a Wed, about 7 PM. If I'm not there, my wife'll be. Just ask for the guy with the blog.


Comments are welcome, but must be on topic. Spam, hateful/obscene remarks, and shameless self-promotion will be unceremoniously deleted. Well, OK, I might put on a little ceremony when I delete them.