Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Well, DUH!

Here's what I've learned recently: People like to read posts by me when I use words like "pissed off." I suppose I like to write posts where I use words like "pissed off" too, because then I'm writing raw which sometimes means I don't bury my thoughts in 5,000 pounds of words.

Admitting pissed-offed-ness is healthy for me in many ways, or it can be. The best thing, I suppose, is when it is quickly followed by a "well, duh!" moment as I start to see what my problem is, or what I can learn out of it.

So, yeah. Here's my "well, duh!" moment.

God is teaching me to pray. It is as simple as that. And as mind-blowing as that.

Cuz what have I just said, anyway? I've said God is real, He is a person, relational, and He has initiated a relationship with me in which He interacts inside my personal life without my sometimes recognizing it right away, and He is guiding me, instructing me, working with me in a back-and-forth as I walk through my particular life circumstances. One can extrapolate from this that because God is purposeful and not random, He is doing all of this for reasons, purposes that He knows all about and I don't, and I'm coming to understand bit by bit.

Yowza. That is actually spine-tinglingly amazing and makes getting out of bed in the morning a freaking adventure.

Prayer is not a sort of "I'll be good and let everyone walk on me while I put up with it" stance. It's not "I'll persist in the irrational thought that good wins if I just endure enough self-flagellation." Prayer's goal is union with God. And God is awesome merciful power, love and justice. I forgot that. I lost sight of a lot of things.

Like I forgot about a post I wrote during Advent where I wrote about my need for greater gratitude. Here's something about gratitude: it explodes when you thank God in faith, in advance, for things that haven't chronologically happened yet. Long, long ago I read the book Prison to Praise that basically goes on and on about this principle. Getting too into "principles" can produce strange Christianity in many different directions. But let's take this novena that I'm praying right now, the one that was the spark under my last pissed-off post. The practice here is that for 27 days you ask God for the desired graces and then for another 27 you thank God for the graces He is pouring out. I have always struggled with this part. Start thanking God when you don't even see the astounding things taking flesh?! Well guess what?! I have a hard enough time giving thanks for the things I do see, let alone what I don't see! But as I was able to admit I was getting mad over praying for this person (and see the last paragraph for why) and I purposefully picked up my two prayer feet, stood them up and started walking them forward, thanking God, well, things have changed. In fact, all of a sudden I realize that life is really completely made up of billions of things for which God deserves all thanks and praise and which I spend a great deal of time taking for granted, or whining that I don't have it better.

There's something else I learned. God seems to like to use (I'll put it this way) this certain subset of persons with whom I get annoyed to introduce new things to my spiritual life. I should get that by now. But I suppose the nature of new things is that they spring up without being able to anticipate them.

Then there is Elijah. Even though I knew this on one factual level, it is hitting me on deeper levels that part of my Carmelite vocation is as a prophet. Like Elijah. I can't say I grasp all that that means, but I do realize a greater depth of its truth. And the life of a prophet is a little weird. (Check.) And prophets do their bit, and it's done and that's all. Let it go. But then pick up and move at the slightest nudge. There's a heck of a lot of interior detachment required here. But God knows when to send a raven with some bread...

So,  yeah. I shall not fear becoming pissed off, only getting stuck there.

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