Thursday, September 23, 2010

When I Am Weak

It's been a hard day, and a hard time in general, I suppose.  I am everywhere conscious of my inadequacies and my loneliness.  I know I was supposed to rejoice with my Facebook friend over her status: "I get to snuggle my newborn. I get to chase my 1 yr old. I get to watch my 3 year old practice cart wheels & I get to teach my 4 year old how to read. On top of that I get to be married to a loving, faithful husband. Praise God!"  but instead it made me want to roll my eyes a little (um, that's a euphemism).  Does anyone deserve such happiness?  No.  But so many of our problems, whether we have such happiness or not, stem from the simple fact that we keep forgetting that we don't deserve it.

Today I felt overwhelmed by loneliness and frustration, and I asked God to show me He was thinking of me.  I turned on the radio and heard . . . Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.  Well, I love it, of course; but if God had really been thinking of me, the tune would surely have been something very specific, a duet, say, by Schumann or Brahms, not a symphony by Beethoven.  He could have been thinking of anyone at all to that soundtrack.

I had made a promise to Padre Pio on his feast day today that I would go to the hospital chapel that is in walking distance of my house and sit in silent adoration.  But I kept putting it off and putting it off, until finally I had a window of about ten minutes for it.  That's when I went, and I sat and cried.  God knows I'm angry and frustrated with Him, but I begged Him to give me some guidance through the Bible before my ten minutes with Him was up.  I opened to 2 Corinthians 7-10: "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."  Um, no, God, that's not what I had in mind.  And besides, it doesn't describe me at all.  I was thinking something more along the lines of my friend's Facebook status.

Then I came home, and there was a message from a reader of this blog, who said that reading it had helped her through a very dark time.  I was amazed.  And then I thanked God.


Rodak said...

I had a prayer answered today--completely unworthy though I am. And I was also presented with a trial to pray over tomorrow.
We deserve nothing--that is the key concept that so many people who are unhappy primarily because they think that they deserve happiness. Here's a scoop: sustained happiness is the stuff of toothpaste ads and beer commercials. Real happiness has the shelf life of a snowflake. What we should be striving for (I think) is contentment.
Your sharing is, as always, an inspiration. You make me a little less lonely in this world than I would be without it. Thank you, so much.

Pentimento said...

I agree with you about happiness, Rodak, and I think that believing we deserve it is the scourge of the happy and the unhappy alike.

And I am so, so glad that you feel less lonely because of this blog. I feel less lonely because of it too.

eaucoin said...

When God wraps up a gift for you, do you complain because you are not sure he had only you in mind when he picked it? Do you then begin to think that he wasn't actually concerned about you at all, although the gift is beautiful, because everybody enjoys that gift so probably it's not even about you. This feels like grief to me. You need to find a quiet place daily and tell Him that you are going to stay with Him alone for a little while so that He can just love (heal) you. Eucharistic Adoration would be the ideal place--expect the devil to try and keep you away.

Pentimento said...

Yes, I am pretty much an ungrateful wretch. That is a really good suggestion, Eaucoin, and I am going to try to do it.

eaucoin said...

You're no more of a wretch than the rest of us humans, and that wasn't my point. I was just describing your symptoms--the symptoms of grief. You beat yourself up for how you feel about your cross--it's too heavy right now, so you're railing--it's a sign that you need rest (the kind of rest that only comes from the Lord). There is a quote about Jesus' life on earth in the Bible: "During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death..." Hebrews 5:7 Now, we know Jesus never did anything sinful, but He felt grief, and "loud cries and tears" were His reaction and He fell three times while carrying His cross, so don't think feeling grief the way you do is sinful or in any way ungrateful. St. Therese's feast is coming up, and her perfect prayer (for a missionary--and she asked him to say it for her as well) was to ask "to do the Holy Spirit's will, to be consumed with love of God, and that all her misery glorify God." She also mentions in her diaries that to be unknown, and to live a life of suffering, is like being royalty (what might be described as getting "the royal treatment" from heaven). St. Catherine of Siena once railed about God's treatment of her and He apparently told her that He treats all His friends this way, and she remarked that "it's no wonder He has so few of them." What I'm saying is: "you're not ungrateful, and you're in good company, and, when you're railing at God, it's still called praying, just don't stop. Things will get better by times, but don't stop talking to your Father in heaven (who knows perfectly well what it's like to mourn in anticipation of the hardships in a dear son's life).

Pentimento said...

Thank you, Eaucoin. I actually moved my schedule around yesterday so I could do Adoration, at your suggestion. I think it helped.

You are right about grief. I always pray that if I have to feel it, that God will use it to help someone else and for His glory and honor. But my secret wish is to be happy. :)