Change Myself –
The older I get the less knowledge and wisdom I think I possess. They say the beginning of wisdom and knowledge is two-fold; fearing God and knowing you know nothing. As each year passes the second part seems to get easier.
There was a time when I believed I knew much. Not just about myself but also about others. I could perceive motives both inward and outward, judge with impunity, and thought myself better and more able to live a life pleasing to God and myself than most other people. Then, I began to grow up.
The word growing brings with it a sense of serenity but growing is painful. It is bursting through old barriers, going places that are uncomfortable and unknown, daring to die in order to live, braving the challenges and elements that surround you.
With growth comes the realization you cannot force others to change. You do not have that power. You cannot stop the world from spinning out of control. You don’t have that ability. You can’t even get past your own hurts, habits, and hangups most days. You, I, am a perfect example of imperfection.
Wisdom and knowledge. They are as different as night and day but compliment each other when embraced and allowed to exist mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact, please you.”
On Tuesday afternoon I ran into a store to pick up a snack to woof down on the way to a presentation. I hadn’t had time for lunch and I needed something on my stomach to make it through the two hour law enforcement training seminar I was taking part in. As I perused the snack aisle I felt someone tap me on the shoulder and turned around to see a friend who has recently been going through a season of suffering. She told me she was doing okay and trying to make the best out of a difficult situation. I listened and was able to share part of my journey these last eighteen months.
I’ve been discussing with another friend the quote from #ThomasMerton above. Here is some of what I wrote to him this week;
“I think longing for perfection leaves no room for the gift of acceptance of the myriad of things of which we have no control. For life to be our definition, version, of perfection is to not suffer. But some of our greatest lessons are found in suffering. We learn to treat others in the way we were not treated, to speak words of encouragement instead of insult, listen not condemn,
understand not assume, embrace not push away, give not take, be lowly not arrogant, the servant not the master. Grace, humility, surrender to the truth of our powerlessness is only found in suffering.”
Suffering is a needed and necessary, albeit unwanted, part of our journey. To resist suffering, to try and control, force, manipulate, coerce, make the world and others in our image doesn’t eliminate suffering but intensifies it.
The lust for perfection comes from our ego. Suffering, if we allow it, can purge our sense of self-importance and replace it with a sense of peace and purpose in the midst of hardships and heartaches.
“So, with the Alleluia of victory, the triumphant cry of Easter on her lips, the Church renews the Paschal mystery in which death is conquered, the power of the devil is broken forever, and sins are forgiven: the mystery of the death and resurrection of the Savior who is born to us on this day.
Today, the Church sings; ‘Dies sanctificatus illuxit nobis,’ which means: ‘A day of salvation,’ a day sanctified by mystery, a day full of divine and sanctifying power, has shone upon us. And she continues; ‘Alleluia, Alleluia. A sanctified day has shone upon us: come you gentiles and adore the Lord: for this day a great light has descended upon the earth.’
The Church summons all the world to adoration as she prepares with great solemnity to announce the words of the Gospel. This is the Prologue of John, in which with mighty power given him from God the greatest Evangelist proclaims; ‘The Word, Who was in the beginning with God, is made flesh, and dwells among us full of grace and truth.’
. . . let us open our eyes to the rising Sun, let us hasten to receive Him and let us come together to celebrate the great mystery of charity which is the sacrament of our salvation and of our union in Christ. Let us receive Christ that we may in all truth be ‘light in the Lord’ and that Christ may shine not only to us, but through us, and that we may all bum together in the sweet light of His presence in the world: I mean His presence in us, for we are His Body and His Holy Church.”