Thursday, February 3, 2011

Going Crazy for Christ

CenturyLink. I'm going to kill them.

The service is "down" in our area. Why? Who knows. There was no snowstorm here. I was working merrily along when all of a sudden KLUNK. I called the tech support. Oh, it might be 24 hours. Will they deduct that from our bill? Right now I am using an old dial-up connection that we still have. I have spent hours the last two days dealing with technical problems involving dysfunctional computer programs and internet connections.

I was on the phone with this nice tcch support person with RAGE building up within me when suddenly something inside me said "offer...." I usually get angry at times like these because I think, "this is such a waste of time!" No. This is not true. What is the real meaning of this moment; what is being asked of my freedom right now?

And in that moment--waiting on the phone--I thought, "This is suffering. Think of the world of suffering you live in. Offer this stupid out-of-sortedness. It doesn't have to be meaningless. Someone is suffering now: maybe God wants you to help that person, to suffer with that person. Offer yourself to Him just as you are--don't feel like you have to manufacture a pious mood in order for it to have value. Offer the big ugly mess that you feel like you are right now." God I offer it to you. I offer this. I offer myself.

Did I go into a rapture of spiritual delight? Noooooo. The internet still doesn't work. But how can I call this suffering, this paltry inconvenience? Think of the people in Egypt, in Iraq, Afganistan, North Korea, starving people in Africa. Think of the people I know personally who are in real pain or real trouble right now. Can I really call this spoiled, pampered snit-fit that I am having suffering? What matters is that, here and now, it is "I" who am afflicted; the circumstances of this situation are calling on me to make a sacrifice, to recognize the mystery of my own life and to say, "Lord, this belongs to you, this moment belongs to you, 'I' belong to you."

The world is a communion of sacrifice. How little we understand of what God can build out of the circumstances we consider worthless. Love does not have to feel sweet. Anyone who has changed a poopy diaper knows that. The power of sacrifice is beyond our measure. Offer everything. When I offer, there is--however faintly it may seem--the recognition that "I," my circumstances, the whole world, belongs to Someone Else, to Christ--the Christ who suffered and triumphed and inaugurated the New Creation. It is His. I am His. Nothing is wasted, thrown away, lost, stupid, meaningless. Real life is the affirmation of this through sacrifice, through letting go of my idea, through the constant abandonment of my limited perspective, my measure, my attachment to my own expectations, including especially my expectations about myself. I am frustrated with myself. Offer the frustration. Do not cease to love, to aspire, to cherish ideals, to struggle, to do good, but remember that it all belongs to Him and that He shapes everything according to a plan that He knows is right for me.

God will change me, in time, in His way. God does not want to make me St. Therese of Lisieux. He wants to make me John Janaro. I don't know who John Janaro is, or who he is destined to become. God knows.