Day 24 – A picture of something you wish you could change.
Oh, I was gonna be clever and post a picture of my fat Cuban ass. But, the TV is on in the background blaring its white noise and for a moment I caught a glimpse of the footage from Japan and I turned all my attention to the report. Again. And again, as I have done over the course of the last many days. Suddenly my fat butt wasn’t so funny any more.
My initial thought is, of course, I wish there was a magic wand to wave and make things better. Some folks are a bit more vocal and blame a God who allows these things and rage against him, or place blame in unreasonable places.
Whatever the response to those things we don’t like in our lives, the fact remains that we have the flawed human tendency to want to control our destiny, to play gods in our lives so that we can lay out our own perfect paths.
The problem with that is that we are imperfect, and thus, incapable of laying out that perfect path.
I think the root of our discomfort and sometimes even despair when faced with things we cannot control, whether huge like the earthquake in Japan, or personal, like illness or loss, is the feeling of impotence in the face of something out of our control. We think there is nothing we can do, and that’s not quite right.
We can pray, and here’s something that I think I have understood, at least at an intellectual level, and that is that we can submit to God’s will. I can say that not having faced desolation, you know? My home wasn’t washed away, and my family, while a little scattered about, is thriving. But I, too, will face that test one day, as we all will.
So, while we can’t change our circumstances, we can change our approach to our circumstances. The power of prayer has changed things. Produced miracles. Some that I have seen with my own eyes, but more often than not, the prayer for those miracles speaks to a lack of faith, or at least signal an immature faith. That’s the hard part, and surely the part that I personally struggle with daily. This submission to God’s will is huge.
It’s so huge that I can’t see what the real miracles are…not wanting to look to the good that may be inherent in tragedy because my mind and my heart are too small to see the greater picture.
I have little glimpses of this…little moments when I understand, albeit fleetingly, that God’s plan is greater than anything I can comprehend, and it gives me a moment of peace before the next wave of anxiety hits.
I ponder what good can come of destruction and death. I ponder why a small child becomes subject to a government’s bureaucracy instead of the comfort of his parents at home. I ponder man’s inhumanity to man in any number of abuses in what should be the safety of one’s home to all out war and oppression.
And then I see that there is something that I can do. I can counter the inhumanity with humanity. Perhaps in these tragic moments God gives us an opportunity to redeem ourselves by showing that we are capable of goodness. That in making us in His image, we can rise above the depths of the human condition and show the potential of the human condition.
When we pray the Rosary, in the opening prayers we call for an increase in the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. How beautiful to grow in our faith and feel confident that God does indeed have us in the palm of His hand. How encouraging to experience hope and know that things will be all right because He said they will. How humbling to demonstrate charity to one another, as we allow ourselves to love and be loved by one another.
That last one is the ticket, you know. To love one another.
In that spirit, I submit to you the picture of something I can change:
One thought on “Day 24”
God knew this about us, and so in his wisdom the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity are infused in us with the grace of baptism. But as I’ve shared elsewhere, that’s just the starter kit. What you are talking about is fidelity to our baptism and, oh, so much more.
Another one of the crazy paradoxes of Christian faith –even crazier than giving mere mortals graces — is that Jesus, the God-with-a-face, God Incarnate, was born as a human person. God, as it were, takes on our image so that he loves us in a way that allows us, finally, to begin to understand and receive that wild and radical love. And as we come to love him, we may indeed come close enough (to him) to change.
A gutsy post, and a beautiful one. Thank you.