Well, it has certainly been a while since I posted any of my reflections from the Little White Book. Have you guys missed my random musings? 🙂
LWB, Saturday 4/5
Today, we talk about the apostles being in the boat in the Sea of Galilee as a storm is going on, and how in the midst of it, they see Jesus walking on the water towards them. And how this is reassuring (because 1. He is not conquered by raging storms 2. He can come to you no matter where you are and 3. as long as Jesus is with you, there is nothing to fear).
I know I tend to be an odd mix of fearless/wild/reckless and timid/scared/hesitant. Which pretty much guarantees that I’ll respond inappropriately under any circumstance. Isn’t that great?! 🙂 Thank God for God. With Him as my anchor, I can both be confident when I need confidence and strength; and I can be tamed when I am all over the map. It is so good to have a reference, so that I can come back to center when I drift too far afield. (Please note: I am still VERY much a work in progress!)
My original reflection on this was that it goes back to that original question, “Do you trust God?” Adam and Eve didn’t. If you believe in God, why would you be afraid? Even if you would die, you would just be (hopefully) going home.
LWB, Friday 4/4
To paraphrase the LWB, we are talking about the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, and how the apostles thought the situation hopeless, but that Jesus fed everyone with plenty to spare. Similarly, we often think that there is no way that we can make a difference in the world’s problems, because they seem so far beyond the scope of capability of one individual. *I* cannot possibly end world hunger, or gain world peace, or eradicate racism/sexism or any of this. So, just as the apostles thought that it can’t be done, so too do I often think that it can’t be done. But the mistake is seeing God as limited.
This is GOD! He can do ANYTHING! He created the universe, after all, and I’m thinking that he can’t do….what?
Ah. I need to come to know, really know, that things occur due to *God’s* initiative, and not of my own merit. I need to let His grace flow through me, and not be impeded by my personal doubts.
Fr. John was talking the other day of when he was in seminary in Rome, standing before the Pope and getting the impression that he was telling him to simply, “Be great.” Listening to it then (way back Wednesday, two days ago), I thought of that in the way he presented it. At the moment, when I think of that story and try to apply it here to me (‘cuz it’s *all* about me), I think that my “being great” has to be about letting God work through me. If God has no limits, and I do not put a limit on what He can accomplish through me, who knows what good I may do? His will, not my will. Seems to be a recurring theme this week. How about that? You don’t think someone’s trying to give me a hint, do you?
LWB, Thursday 4/3
Today’s Gospel and reflection deal with the fact that God the Father does not ration His gift of the Spirit. The LWB goes on to elaborate and show us how none of the persons of the Trinity are anything but ridiculously generous with us in all that is given to us. And it isn’t just quantity which is heaped upon us, the gifts which are given are of the finest quality.
How can it be then that I can go through my day (week/month/year) and not recognize these amazing gifts? Oh, yes. That’s right. Because of my amazing capacity for taking things for granted. It gets worse, too. See, because not only to I take things for granted, but I also am arrogant enough to have…expectations. Oh, yes. Jenn definitely has her own opinion about How Things Should Be. She might not necessarily tell you — she’s contrary like that — but the sentiment exists nonetheless. Especially when it comes to HER plan for HER life.
Far be it for me to say that Jenn could have had some thoughts like:
1. At age 18, I definitely should be living on my own with my own house, or at the *very* least, my own apartment.
2. I *absolutely* wanted to have a husband and start having a family by the time I was 25, although I was fine with starting earlier — you know, like at age 19. After all, I had already lived so incredibly long that I might as well get on with it before I got — horrors — old.
3. I *certainly* wanted to be finished having all my children by the time I was 30. My mom had her last child when she was 30, and she still has enough energy to run around with us. I wouldn’t want to be so old that I couldn’t play with my children and do all the things with them that I wanted to do. (Remember, too, that Jenn had grandiose dreams of attending all the Gymboree classes, and Mommy and Me classes, and Toddler Aquatics sessions, etc. etc. etc.)
4. And somewhere in there, I was going to finish the 4 or 5 degrees that I wanted to complete, have a job that I loved, find time to have an immaculate and well-organized home, start making healthy and well-balanced meals for my family, get all of my childhood photographs into artistically done albums, become really good at ice skating and tennis and skiing and swimming, learn how to dive, write amazing books which would inspire millions, become a doctor, find a cure for AIDS and those cool little hemorrhagic virii while working in a world-class center like CDC or USAMRIID, and generally do all manner of astounding things so that . . . people would love me.
Really, I just wanted to be loved.
I just felt that I had to *do* something — otherwise, there was no reason for anyone to love me. And the more I wanted — needed — to be loved, the more elaborate the goals (which of course, became fantasies, and the more I realized that I was not living up to what I thought I should be doing, and compared my life to my arbitrary measuring stick of what it should be like and found it wanting, the more depressed I became at the utter failure that I was).
Okie dokie, we are *really* healthy now, right? 🙂
So, current day, where are we?
1. Well, I *am* living on my own, in a house. I’m not currently paying the mortgage as I should, but that’s another matter.
2. I *had* a husband, and a baby.
3. I am now — oh, my — 30, divorced and working on an annulment, and do not have any (living) children.
4. Well, I did manage to eke out one degree, but none of the others, although I have added a few more degrees to the list of ones I would like to have. I *do* have a job that I love; well, at least people who I work for whom I love. Hahaha, clean organized house — gimme a break! I *did* start towards that healthy meal thing this Lent. Um, yeah, photos still in shoeboxes…14 shoeboxes to be precise — at least I did kind of get the shoeboxes grouped into rough categories, although the last years photos…not so much. And please excuse me while I roll on the floor for a while laughing maniacally at the rest of those items.
And getting those people to love me? Well, I’m told that some do, and that God *certainly* does — just for me, not for anything that I did. And I am trying to work on understanding that concept.
So, my plans have largely gone the way Of Mice and Men. Maybe I’ll be able to start letting go of my vision of my future, and be open to His plan for my future…since, you know, He probably has a better plan than me anyway. 🙂
LWB, Wednesday 4/2
Today’s Gospel speaks of darkness and light and our choices (Jn 3:16-21). The LWB reflection reminds us that we are wary of letting others into that core of us, that most of us have some sort of façade that we display in public. We wouldn’t want to “air our dirty laundry.” We generally want others to think well of us, and so we promote that which is good, and try to hide that which is bad in our own character. We can become so good at doing this that we end up lying to ourselves about our inner natures — thinking that we are better than we actually are. It is so much easier to gloss over the (many) parts of my day where I was sinful or neglectful or apathetic or selfish, and think instead on the (few) times of the day where I actually projected Jesus onto others. So, I would have to answer the book — no, I don’t often allow myself to look honestly at myself. Why not? Because that is quite often a pretty ugly picture.
So here comes the hard part — actually taking a good look at yourself. Here, too, it can become easy to shift from one extreme to the other, and think that everything that you do is bad or not good enough, or simply that you could have done more. This in itself *can* be a healthy way to grow into a more holy life. However, I am a little more messed up that that, and when I do take a look at myself, I see *only* the bad, and start developing this unhealthy disgust with myself, to which I like to combine a little self-loathing and feelings of futility at the whole project that is me.
Which is why the wise people who wrote this little book told you to invite the Lord to this self-inspection. He knows everything about me, after all. The good, the bad and the ugly. And you know what? He loves me! No matter how far astray I’ve gone, He just wants me to turn back to Him and work on getting home. And He’s here to help, and He’s here for the entire journey. I can’t find my way on my own. I’m my own worst enemy at times (okay, most of the time). But if I trust in Him and follow His guidance, I will certainly get to my destination. But, what will happen if I continue to play ostrich to my faults and failings? Perhaps the day of my judgment will come before I have had a chance to work out my problem areas (especially given the fact that I *love* to procrastinate, particularly with those chores I dislike the most).
Now for perhaps the hardest part of all: tuning out my inner chatter so that I can listen for God when He tries to nudge me in the right direction.
End of Part I:
Since the next few days begin the “Bread of Life Discourse,” I will end this post here, and finish catching up later. 🙂