And not about appearances, not about money, not about politics, not about secular laws, not about social status, not about pride.
I wish that when priests and those who work full time for the Church made decisions, they thought *first* about how their decisions might impact the souls of those under their care, and not about worldly reputations or money or secular legalisms.
I wish that every time a priest was tempted to say a cross word to someone, he stopped to think about whether he was acting in persona Christi, and whether he was helping to push that person away from not just himself or his parish but from Holy Mother Church, and even from Christ.
As much as I hate the phrase “What would Jesus do,” I wish that those who act as representatives of the Church would take it to heart, because negative encounters like that, more than anything else, are responsible for sending people away from the Church.
At the beginning of this liturgical year, nearly a year ago now, I found myself making a huge break through in my prayer life. Then my Community’s president handed out a flyer on the teachings of St. Teresa regarding stages of spiritual progress, and one of the things she says about the stage I believe I’ve reached is that judgementalism goes away. I’m still as orthodox as ever, and I still think critically, but I really find myself more naturally compassionate and able to see people where they are.
I really wish people could learn to try and see each other where they are, that when it comes to things that aren’t moral or theological absolutes, we could look at people and their burdens and challenges in life and not come at each other with anger and judgement and criticism but with a helping hand, and most importantly a kind word. “Wow I realize you’re having a hard time, and I’m amazed at what you’re able to accomplish” motivates a lot more than, “You’re doing a bad job” or “You need to do more.” To be told that no matter how hard you’ve worked, it’s never good enough.
The world beats us down badly enough, and then our families and our churches, which are supposed to be where we get our support, join in the chorus to tell us how worthless we are.
Just a little self-examination, just a little basic courtesy, that’s all we need. There’s no reason any person ever needs to utter a cross word to anyone. Inner peace shows itself through outer demeanor.
I don’t know how big this aneurysm is, but I can barely breathe or swallow. I have constant pressure throughout my torso. I can’t stand for my intestines or bladder to be barely full. I can’t walk much. I spend about 90% of my time in bed or on the couch. The few times a day I make it out to the kitchen, I sit on a chair. Every minute of my life is torture. When I first had the dissection, I was popping several painkillers a day. A pain specialist put me on Neurontin, and for over a year I did fine on 3 Neurontin, a Vicodin & a Tramadol. Now, that’s not cutting it anymore, but I can’t take much more painkillers without being totally stoned or throwing up, so I just have to deal with the pain. And I just don’t have it in me to put up with garbage from people. The slightest increase in my blood pressure, and I feel like I need to go to the ER. My time is so precious, and my pain is so horrible as it is, I just don’t even want to bother with people who are mean or grumpy or inconsiderate.
I constantly beat myself up over what I’m unable to get accomplished. My beautiful, understanding wife says, “In your condition, you ought to be in a nursing home being waited on hand and foot. The fact that you do anything besides get out of bed is a miracle.” Here she is, she works a full time job, takes care of four kids, and has her own health problems, and she has to help me with getting dressed, bathing, basically everything. I can’t even get up and get myself a drink from the kitchen most of the time, and she’s there for me. And she tries to be everything to everybody, and no one can do everything she has to do, but she tries her best and gets little appreciation for it.
Sure, it gets to be too much sometimes and sometimes we fight, and sure we get on each other’s nerves, but in the end we always see that in each other, and we try to make a habit of treating each other with love and respect and politeness and of talking to the children that way about each other.
I can’t take it anymore. It seems like in every “inspirational story” about somebody dying a from a long and debilitating illness, they say this, but no one ever seems to get the message. I want everyone to love each other: not the superficial, “Let’s all just get along and brush everything under the carpet,” but real love: to genuinely try to walk the proverbial mile in that person’s shoes and think about everything he or she may have going on, and to keep in mind what’s really important. I wish people would think of every moment they spent with someone as being potentially the last, because it is. You never know when you’ll be left with nothing but regrets.