Very introspective today. Life is just not going smoothly. And it is not just for us; many of our friends and contemporaries are suffering in many ways, as well. Today there was a bloodless coup in Egypt. I have no idea where that situation is going. Meanwhile we have Syria, who allowed the anarchists to behead a Catholic priest along with two others. And for whatever reason (something I just do not understand) our country is backing those rebels. There is unrest here in the USA over our economy, the healthcare plan being forced upon us, and the issues of choice versus pro life. On and on it goes. There seems to be no relief in sight. Recently, I read this little piece online from an Orthodox blogger who stated that as they were incensing their house, their daughter explained to her mom why she avoided the TV set. She said, “Because of that evil man sitting on top of it.” The mom agreed that indeed, Satan enters our homes through the TV in oh so many ways.
We are pushed to compare ourselves to those around us. Even though I used the above graphic in my last blog post, it keeps coming up. People say they are better people of faith because they do this or that, or they do not do this or that. We need to look to Christ, the reason we proclaim a life of faith in the first place. The Lord Himself proclaimed to us that He did not come to bring peace; He did not come to unite, but rather to divide. (“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34).
And boy oh boy, do we have divisions!! There are eastern-rite Christians; there are Latin Rite Christians. There are Protestants, and Jewish, and Islamic believers. There are Budhists and Zoarastrians. There are Republicans and Democrats. There are also Tea Party members who claim neither political party. There are law-abiders, and law-breakers. We have earners and takers in financial realms. We have givers and takers across all areas of division. We have that theory of 10% in everything. What theory? It says that in almost every organization – schools, companies, cultures, churches, families, groups of friends…that about 10% of that particular group does all the work. All the work to keep the group intact and functional. In our country, that 10% is very wealthy, with 90% doing the direct labor, or no labor at all. There are those in our churches and parishes who are always around, doing everything. They clean the hall, they mow the lawn, they work in the kitchen, sweep the sanctuary, attend and perhaps even plan, all the events. Those 10% are the people who always vote; who help out in local politics, who volunteer at organizations across the country.
All of this brings me to the above graphic of comparison…we need to stop comparing and start appreciating. I understand that some things people do or are involved in are not appreciated (people who bomb to make a point; people who kill or steal, or otherwise harm others…the list is long). I understand that some belief systems will, and do, clash. Islam and Christianity have been clashing for centuries and will continue to do so. The haves and have nots will continue to clash. Bread lines may start again and those who have may need to assist those who have not. Witness Egypt today where millions took to the streets to clash with their government. I understand and know that we cannot appreciate everything; conflict is inevitable. I am guilty of conflict myself, when my baser instincts take over my better self. And I seek forgiveness for that all the time. That being said, I am also pensive and introspective today about all this conflict. I am digging deeper to try and find that sweet spot of peace I once held so closely. I am clinging to the edge of a chasm of despair. But the despair is not one of faith; I know God has my back. It’s all this around me, crashing down on me. I know that to give in is to admit defeat. But once in awhile, even the steadfast need a break.
God has my back and I know the struggles I have are all from my choices and decisions in life, but are all allowed through Him and His will for my life. I also think that my grasp is beginning to weaken, and that rope I am clinging to is running out of space to cling. And still my heart sings when I pray. When I hear my grandson’s joyous and infectious giggles or when I see the twinkle in my grand daughter’s eye, or when I feel the life of my grand-daughter-in-utero wiggle, I weep with joy. God has blessed us with an incredible family and incredible life. It has come down to about as basic a life as it can get. The only way things could be less would be to be homeless. And when you get down to the nitty-gritty, the basics of life; when the only direction you can go is up, perspective is an interesting component of life. I look up – the only direction left to me – and I see God. He is smiling. He is waiting. He is there. For some unfathomable reason at this time in my life, we are all waiting, almost holding our collective breath. We are waiting for that break, for that one thing to happen that will change all of this.
As our pastor used to tell us, “You are not guaranteed your next breath.” Oh Abouna, how right you are! So today, even though it feels like Chicken Little is running around yelling about the sky falling, I am breathing. So I am blessed. And today, even though I swept and mopped floors, the most exciting thing I have accomplished all day, is that I was allowed to breathe. So I will count my blessings and hang on for another day, breathing one moment to the next, waiting with My Lord, for things to fall into place, just as He has planned for me. (Inhale) Jesus son of God, (exhale) have mercy on me, a sinner.