There’s a great writer who posts regularly on Facebook and today he posted this:
“Second thoughts are often wiser than first thoughts…more virtuous, too.
Silence can be powerful.
Scripture doesn’t record one word from St. Joseph.” Mark Hart (the Bible Geek)
I found his words prescient in so many ways, and also mirroring my current dilemma. I feel so strongly that God works in our lives in so many ways, always trying to get our attention. He uses people, places, and events to get our attention. I have seen billboards while driving that are completely black, with small sentences in white on them that say simple things like, “We need to talk. -God,” and “C’mon over and bring the kids! – God,” and “Let’s meet at my place before the game. – God.” He is constantly looking for our response to His Word in our lives, and always ready to be with us, console us, comfort us, and talk to us. I know that in my own life, in my own home, sometimes it is just too loud and too busy. We are loosing our sense of quiet. And quite often I find for me, the quiet is where God speaks to me the most often, and speaks the loudest.
Today, Abbot Tryphon, in his Morning Offering, spoke about Fruitless Discussions and said, “Better to demonstrate truth by holiness of life, patience, and kindness in our response. Entering into heated words most often leads to a standoff, where only the demons win in the end.” He went on to further state, “Responding to the embittered man, the angry man, or the stupid man, while hoping to win him over, does nothing for him, and eventually gives power to the demon who would devour the man’s soul, and consume your own. Thinking you have to prove the correctness of your point of view does nothing for truth, but only gives power to the demons of pride, anger, and stupidity. The power and influence of good deeds always wins out in the end.” Thanks be to God I have such wonderful examples in my life, people and sources who further illuminate this precarious pathway I am taking, on my way to eternity! I know that God speaks to me through people, places, and situations, and today rocked! And when you come to a realization in your life, not only do you feel like a huge light bulb went off, but you relax and feel peace. It’s an “aha moment” with a spiritual blessing added to it! I almost feel like doing a “happy dance”!
I have struggled most of my life with trying to forge my way on my own, using my own attributes, trying to please. I have often felt alone in my quest to better myself, in that those who I wish would praise and support me, are usually silent. I see others in my life praised and honored for things of this world. I often felt like the brother of the Prodigal Son, always there, plugging away, and not being noticed. But I heard a homily once on the Prodigal Son that made me look at it differently. The good son, always at his father’s side, was prideful and envious, and angry that his brother could go out and do what he chose, squander the gifts he had received from their Father, and yet be welcomed home. How often I have felt exactly that…and how wrong I have been. I now realize, more than ever, that I am the Prodigal Son, in need of repentance and forgiveness; I am also his envious brother. My spiritual house is certainly in disarray and I have no foundation from which to be critical of others, in their struggles. We all need forgiveness and each of us has our own path to walk to God. I cannot judge my brother, while struggling with the plank still stuck in my own eye.
Last evening, and this morning, I came to a realization that the peace I seek and the quiet I long for, are already here. I am the one, standing outside, tapping on the glass, and asking to be let in. It is within me and my relationship with God that I find my peace and serenity; it is not to be found in this world. Too many people in my life have let me down; so many have disappointed. I only ask that people treat me honestly. Do not tell me what you think I want to hear; do not treat me one way in my company and speak of me to others in a completely different light. The truth will always come out and then relationships can be irrevocably damaged. Forgiveness is always there, but along with forgiveness often comes a scar – things are never quite the same. There is a funny saying that goes something like, “Leave her alone. She is happy in her world; everyone knows her there.” Quite often when the blindfold is removed or the truth unveiled, we long for “ignorant bliss,” and want to return to our “own little world.” For me, when things like this occur, I normally “react” in kind. But thanks be to God, I can now react in peace – and silence; praying for those who hurt me. It is useless, as Abbot Tryphon stated, “Thinking you have to prove the correctness of your point of view does nothing for truth, but only gives power to the demons of pride, anger, and stupidity.” The most incredible thing for me is that I have realized I am able to turn from this sort of knee-jerk reaction, choose to change my “normal,” and become something different. I can choose to follow the quiet, the peace, the silence of communion with God. I can choose to truly, honestly, and whole-heartedly pray for those who cause me pain. What an incredible lesson! What an awesome experience! It has kept me thinking and reveling in the power God can give us to overcome this world and its disappointments, because it is showing me that my total reliance is on Him, and He alone it is who grants me total acceptance and love. The relief in my heart is almost palatable and I know God is gracing me in my journey, He is guiding me, feeding me, and protecting me. Glory be to God!