On Life and Living Differently

Ends: Ice Cream Trio

Ice Cream. Life. Just how bad is it, REALLY?

A short time ago I posted “On Death and Dying Differently”. Lest everyone think I’m preoccupied with the Big “D” (And I am, given my situation, but I don’t want folks to think its a depressing preoccupation because it’s not. It’s just that I’ve always had this odd, or I think it odd, ability to stand back and watch myself with a kind of detachment that’s hard to explain and my situation and reactions can, for me anyway, be very entertaining. Hey, I save big time on cable and movie rentals. With myself to watch, who needs ’em?) I decided to look at something else. Life. Mine. And who knows? If you look hard enough you might see yours.

Life isn’t always good. I’m old enough now to know that’s not a cruelty inflicted on the luckless individual, it’s just a common experience and everyone gets their fair share. That’s life. If that was all of life it would be a depressing situation. Happily, that’s not all there is to it.

Like I mentioned above I stand on the sidelines and watch myself a lot. For one thing I’m one of the few people who can put up with me long-term and, well, frankly sometimes there’s just not much else for me to do. So I watch me and my life. And I see …

Remission. No, I’m not talking about the cancer here. I’ve dealt with that long enough now that when I watch that aspect of my life its like watching a rerun. It’s another kind of remission. The remission of sin. And its proven itself by personal experience. I don’t suffer the consequences of past wrongs. That doesn’t mean I don’t pay the consequences, I do. I just don’t suffer as a result. It’s a little hard to suffer on this side of the veil when you catch a glimpse of the joy on the other side. And that joy? It has it’s reflections in the here and now.

I ask myself “Why me?” a lot. It’s a different kind of “Why me?” It isn’t “Why me? Why are things so bad or hard for me?”, it’s “Why me? Why are things so good and easy for me?” For the past several years I’ve felt like life, good life, has been handed to me on a platter. A gold platter at that. Why? Why me? Am I deserving? Hardly. If I got what I deserved I’d be dead twice. Physically and spiritually. But I don’t get what I deserve. That’s what makes me ask “Why?” so much. I look at my life and I see good aimed at me from all directions. Like …

In no particular order, and this is by no means anything like a complete list … I’m surrounded by good parishes and better priests. The car is payed for and gets 45 miles to the gallon. I have more friends, real ones that are there when things are difficult, than I’ve ever had. The cat(s) loves me. My landlord and neighbors treat me like family. Did I mention that my car gets 45 miles to the gallon? I’ve always been frugal and still am but in a cabin that’s about 16′ by 18′ there are three computer, three TVs, two VCRs,  three ways to play a DVD, four ways to play a CD, shelves filled with groceries, months worth of my medications, and the books I’ve always enjoyed and wanted the most. I set outside in the pretty weather, inundated with cats, and leisurely watch the world rush by. Sometimes I actually feel sorry for the people I see go by who are in good health because they don’t have it as good as I do. And my car? Its paid for and gets 45 miles to the gallon. 🙂

So, life hasn’t always been good but it is now. As an aside, when I was doing chemo and sick to death I went to hospital on average once every two weeks. The nurses all got to know me. I remember one looking at me and she looked so sad. Sad for me. I told her: “Two hundred years ago I’d be laying in a hut on dirty blankets with some guy shaking a rattle over me. Now I’m in a clean bed watching EWTN and I punch a button and you bring me ice cream. How bad is it really?” So life is good NOW. And now is always the beginning of eternity. There is no yesterday, its gone. There is no real tomorrow, it never gets here. It is always today and today is good. And every once in a while I go through a mental list of all the good and I ALWAYS end up in the same place with the same question. Why? Why me? What did I ever do to deserve all this goodness? And I always get the same answer. It’s not about anything I did and I don’t deserve it. I get what I get, undeserving as I am, because …

Ephesians 2:1-10 … “1 And you, when you were dead in your offences, and sins, 2 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of this air, of the spirit that now worketh on the children of unbelief: 3 In which also we all conversed in time past, in the desires of our flesh, fulfilling the will of the flesh and of our thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest: 4 But God, (who is rich in MERCY,) for his exceeding CHARITY wherewith he LOVED us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ, (by whose GRACE you are saved,) 6 And hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus7 That he might shew in the ages to come the abundant riches of his GRACE, in his bounty towards us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by GRACE you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the GIFT of God; 9 Not of works, that no man may glory. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them.”

Why do I get what I get? Why do any of us get the good when we’ve earned the bad?

Mercy. Charity. Love. Grace. God.

Published in: on April 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm  Comments Off on On Life and Living Differently  
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The fights not over til the last round! … Friday, April 19

Boxer knocked through the ropes

You might get knocked through the ropes, sure, but that doesn’t mean you’re not getting back in the ring!

Rosary Meditation … The Second Sorrowful Mystery, the Scourging at the Pillar. “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. But thou sayest it; I am a king.” John 18:36-37. He never said that His kingdom wasn’t IN the world, or that it wasn’t a force to be reckoned with. Not being “off” the world, which is to say it’s not part of the worldly system, His kingdom here on earth, the Church, stands out against a backdrop of purely worldly empires. And it stands up as well, standing for the right and against the wrong. And He is King of all this. And More. A king about to be whipped by the worldly powers. Whipped, down but not out. A good lesson to be learned from the scourging, I think, is that just because we’re beaten doesn’t mean we’re beat. The world can throw punches and they can land. Some land pretty hard. So? I mean, so what? Knowing that we may be down but never out doesn’t make the beating not hurt. But it does give us a confidence in living that the world will never have, never know. When worldly fists hit and hit hard lets remember Jesus as He was being scourged. Remember that regardless the score kept at ring side by the judges, it ain’t over til the bell rings in the last round.

Today …

St. Expeditus

One of my favorites. The one I call the Patron Saint of Get’er done. No procrastination here. When Expeditus made his decision to be a Christian it wasn’t “I’ll do it later, when its more convenient.” He knew that it was now or never. Being a Roman centurion he knew that the punches would fly too. That didn’t stop him. Lets never let worldly blows, not illness, not oppressive governments, not the people next door that look at the statue of the Blessed Virgin in our yard and crinkle their noses, make us fearful. Lets just keep in mind that the last round bell hasn’t been sounded yet.

Consider … “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet (Here’s that ‘last bell’ I’ve been talking about!): for the
trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again incorruptible: and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:52.

Published in: on April 19, 2013 at 4:05 am  Comments Off on The fights not over til the last round! … Friday, April 19  
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