"Having a blog is like wandering around your house naked with the windows open; it's all very liberating until someone looks in the window. However, while being caught unawares is one thing, it is quite another to stroll up to the window and press your naked, flabby body against the coolness of the glass in a hideous form of vertical prostration for all the world to see..." These posts are the smudges that are left behind on the window.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Living with Weeds

My mother drives me crazy sometimes. She is in supportive housing, which is the step just before a nursing home. She understands a lot, but not as much as you think, which sometimes makes for major confusion, which I end up having to straighten out. It's like have a child, except with a child things eventually start to progress. With her, things will only get worse.

The slow, steady, almost imperceptible decline is very frustrating at times, and I'm afraid I don't handle it very well sometimes. You think that you are supposed to be reflecting the image of God in every situation, and just when you feel you are getting the hang of it, one of these situations comes up, and everything seems to go into the crapper.

Very frustrating.

I've been reading a book of daily devotionals by the Franciscan monk Richard Rohr. Most times I have no idea what he's talking about, but every now and then he comes up with these gems; like today.

"God is like a good parent, refusing to do our homework for us. We must learn through trial and error. We have to do the homework ourselves, the homework of suffering, desiring, winning and losing, hundreds of times."

And then a couple of days over he comes up with this;

(He's talking about the parable of the wheat and the weeds, where the servants discover weeds, but the landowner says not to pull them up until the harvest) "Folks now chase after the yin and yang of eastern religions as if they are new, honest teaching. As usual, Jesus already said it: We just didn't hear. ...we don't often translate mythic language into the human patterns that the myths point to. Maybe it never computed into 'half will be dark , half will be light, again and again.' Or, 'No matter where, when or what, life will be both agony and ecstasy.' 
The field contains both weeds and wheat, and we must let them grow together.... ...You cannot really pull them out, but don't ever doubt that they are there. Thus, the sacrament of penance is not the sacrament of the annihilation of sin, or even getting rid of sin. It is more reconciliation with, and forgiveness of, those dang weeds in the field."

How often have we heard it preached that this passage is about Christians and non-Christians and how God is going to separate the two, with one group going to heaven and the other to eternal damnation. And yet here he is saying that it's about character, personal actions and choices, which makes way more sense with my recent universalist leanings, and less than stellar performance concerning my mother. That it's about how God is going to separate our good actions and choices from the bad - eventually. But right now we are going to have to live with both, and accept the fact that we will screw up, but not to worry about it, just keep plugging along.

We will always have failures, but what is important is that we keep trying, doing our homework, and eventually we may start to move closer to the image that God is trying to create in us.

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