Saturday, September 6, 2014

Living and Learning to Love

Young Janaro, complete with hair!
Faithful readers of this blog (heh heh, is anybody there?) remember that it was about this time last year that I discovered the ancient hand written "blog" of the Young John Janaro (1990-1992). The year has come round again, and I am looking at what I wrote 24 years ago today.

These words are a little bit ironic, having lived almost a quarter century after their writing. I cannot say that I have any special intuition on this point today. I still work with a sense of purpose on certain projects that need time to mature. Sometimes I sketch out ideas in this blog that I hope to develop further. Others remain in the stage of creative procrastination. In any case, my life and the scope of my accomplishments are in the hands of God -- a fact that I can affirm much more concretely after 24 years. Here is what I wrote on September 6, 1990:

It is true: a single act of perfect love for God is enough. Living one moment in the heart of Jesus is enough. I pray and hope that God is drawing me into His love, and I've experienced a lot in the past quarter century of the "much labor" and the "many sorrows" in life. Learning to love God is, indeed, a work of a lifetime, but its length (like its depth) is hidden in His wisdom. That is where I place my trust.

I still hope to live a "long life," but insofar as this is a reasonable hope today, it has to do primarily with the desire to be there for Eileen and the kids for as long as they need me. In 1990 I had no idea that these particular human beings would be so decisive for my future. My life has been very different than anything I could have imagined. At the same time, some of my goals have been fulfilled, and the investment of considerable time has borne fruit (in ways that I planned, and also in surprising ways).

The family is one of the surprising ways of fruition in my life. Eileen and I both got into the marriage and parental business a little late (as is often the case with people in the academic world). It is a business that requires planning, learning from mistakes, and looking forward even while being open to the continual surprise of real human relationships.

As for the (more or less healthy) remaining years, my first goal now is to be with Eileen and raise these kids, and then the two of us can go back to Italy and just... look at beautiful art together for a long long time. Actually, we'd be happy if the kids (and grandkids?) came with us. But that's just my dream. Only God knows the real plan. In any case, in order to see everyone down to Josefina through adolescence, young adulthood, marriage and grandchildren (if they are called in that direction) and into middle age, I will have to live into my nineties! Given that I have days now when I feel like I'm 90 years old, this prospect is a little overwhelming. Whatever lies ahead, I can only take it one day (indeed one moment) at a time. This present moment is where love is possible.

I have no idea of what the future may bring. There will be joy and there will be suffering. I pray that, holding fast to Jesus, there will be the love that I am called to give, moment by moment. That is what matters. That is what will bear fruit.


José Tomás said...

Yeah, Bro, I am here! :-)

I bet many others are too. The problem with your blog is that you attract fellow chronic depressives like me, who are prone to be more like lurkers ;-)

Concerning length of life, I share your feelings.

I often (as in: almost all the time) feel that a long life would be an unbearable Cross, but I know that I must stay here for my daughters.

Sometimes I wonder if I could be a better parent from the other side, but that is obviously not for me to say.

So, yes, a day at a time seems a good program.

BTW, thanks for your book, I did me a lot of good, and (I am sorry) I should have thanked you when I bought and read it almost exactly two years ago.

I'll tell you how it did me good on another occasion. :-)

John Janaro said...

Jose, thanks for being here, and thanks for commenting frequently. I'm not really good at responding to comments, but I do read them all and respond when I can. I *always* appreciate them, but I know there are some people who just read and that's fine too. The chronic depressives and OCDers and bipolarians and also Lymies and Fibro folks (I have been diagnosed at various times with ALL of these things) and everyone else in pain -- we all can help one another on these peculiar paths that have much in common; we can help each other to remember that Jesus is with us on every step of the journey and that He is drawing us to our destiny. Others may think we've "lost our way" and we ourselves may fear that we are really lost. We must trust in Jesus. I am certain that He permits us this particular kind of share in His passion out of the depths of His wisdom and goodness, and also so that He can touch the hearts of others who have fallen in the darkness, who do not know Him. He loves them and He asks us to share in His love and compassion. He leads us to use our gifts in new ways that we never would have chosen, but above all He asks us to offer all of it, to recognize that this is HIS SUFFERING in us. In the measure that we give Him that "space" (even in interior places that are deeper than our conscious awareness), His compassion is incarnate in us and it changes us and the world. Let's never lose hope in God. Never give up! God bless you.