Yesterday’s epistle (Extraordinary Form) was from Corinthians and Father reminded us in his homily that whatever we do, whatever we say, if we have not love, we have nothing.
IF I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. . .
I’m an introvert by nature. I have a tendency to internalize things and put up a wall of distance. I’m not sure that’s always the best approach but I think we are shaped largely by the experiences of our life and this is who I am. I’m sensitive. I was the child who cried easily and felt the sting of things keenly. As an adult I have had to become thicker skinned in order to survive the world but the sensitive nature is still there. I don’t cry as easily as I used to but I still hurt and I have had to spend a lot of time in prayer learning to lean on the only One Who can heal that hurt. Gratefully, I know that He can and I know that He does.
The last six months of my life have been particularly difficult. I haven’t talked about it because well, it’s complicated and I have no wish to expose the details of the pain and difficulty that involves not just me but those I love. I do share my struggles somewhat with close friends but they are few and that’s OK.
I don’t think my life is unique in that I believe life is difficult to some degree no matter who you are. Everyone struggles with something and while I do ask for prayer occasionally I generally find it best to keep things somewhat private*, in part because I have found that the more others know the more they tend to criticize and gossip which only adds to the pain. This seems to be particularly true when it involves my children. I can, for the most part, handle the nastiness (because that’s what it is) when it’s directed at me, but it becomes incredibly more difficult when it is directed at my children. Lately, the weight of that has felt very heavy and I am heartbroken. Heartbroken by gossip and judgment and unkindness that astounds me.
Yes, it hurts but my purpose of posting this isn’t to point fingers at anyone other than myself. I know I am not always kind, patient, merciful, forgiving or loving. I know that have hurt people and I regret that. Oh that we could be merciful with one another –that we could love one another!
It is my experience that you don’t have to go looking for pain and sadness, it will find you. Joy on the other hand can be harder. Seeing the good, true and beautiful in every day can take some effort, especially if you are in the midst of sorrow. That’s what I try to do. I try to see the beauty in life. The blessings which are abundant, the joy, the sweetness, even in trials. It’s where I work to keep my focus so as not to allow myself to be drawn down into the bottomless hole of negativity and sadness that this life can become if we let it.
What I realized recently is how that approach has meant to some that I am a liar. A “fraud” who presents a perfect life that is in reality far from perfect. I find this very sad. No one’s life is perfect. I said it before but I’ll say it again; there will always be something negative, sad, painful and ugly to deal with –you can count on that. I can focus on those things or I can focus on the good, true and beautiful that’s always there, even though I may have to search harder for it sometimes. But the more I look for it the more I see it. The more I focus on the blessing and goodness the more it is revealed to me. That’s the life I choose to focus on and I sincerely hope that no one ever reading this blog or connecting with me anywhere ever thinks that I am trying to present my life as perfect. I am not and it most certainly is not. My goal here and elsewhere online and off is always to uplift and encourage. Certainly never to discourage or make anyone feel bad and if you’ve ever felt that way because of me I am very sorry. Truly. I will pray for you. Pray for me too.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
*CCC 2489 Charity and respect for the truth should dictate the response to every request for information or communication. The good and safety of others, respect for privacy, and the common good are sufficient reasons for being silent about what ought not be known or for making use of a discreet language. The duty to avoid scandal often commands strict discretion. No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it.