Before a Fall...And After
If I sit calmly and think about the past 5, 6 years of life, I see an arc of purpose stretching over the journey. I am a Christian, and to me that means God is actively involved in shaping my life. He is in control ultimately, and while I have free choice to do as I please, I fully recognize, if I don't bow to, His sovereignty. His job is shaping the raw clay of our lives, those of us who invite Him to do so. I think it was the great Christian writer and educator C.S. Lewis who said something to the effect, to think that people "find" God is something like thinking a mouse "finds" a cat. Healthy respect for His purposes, His plans and His lordship is the foundation of the arc, and humility the broad stretch road overall from then until now. Not that it hasn't been in the past, but clearly, now this is the lesson, the journey, the goal...I must learn to obey.
From the moment we realized our son was in serious trouble, my prejudices and pride have come into bold relief. I was loath to enter a police station, a courtroom, have our names in a paper connected to crime, a county lock-up, a prison, a recovery meeting...you name it, it stung my pride like a thornbush pricks flesh. I hated it. Everything I thought myself to be, or so very much, was based on outward and worldly good looks. I did well, I looked well, I performed well, my family was well (sort of-enough to get by). But my heart was not well. I despised people who were uneducated, dirty, uncouth and ignorant-and that was outside the prison bars. I made assumptions, and God blasted every last one of them. I have had my hard heart broken by people I thought I could never love, I was led by the hand by inmates into understanding and compassion, through circumstances I was sure would ruin our family and that made it better, stronger and more real than it ever could have been without the suffering and shame. It is a paradox that continues, so against the grain of all I had been taught. Loving unfortunates was fine as long as you weren't one of them.
My journey continues at a secular job I need desperately, customer service, $11 an hour. Once again, that stubborn streak of "I'm above this" show its ugly head in my performance and my attitude. I had thought that I'll simply put up with what I MUST do for now, and then when I get where I need to be financially, I'll do what I really should be doing, show the world how really talented I am. Chuckle. Except that God has other ideas, like, listen to your bosses and DO what they say. Respect your co-workers. Respect the job. I shared with my husband and another friend that I keep thinking about the scene in the movie The Devil Wore Prada, where Stanley Tucci's character is berating a whiny Anne Hathaway for her self-pity, complaining about her monster of a boss. He reminds her she has no respect for the industry and the people who work in it, and that there's a line stretching out the door of people who would kill for that job. Our job market here in the Northeast is depressed. To find something with some security, benefits, good working conditions, weekends free, is really tough. God forgive my lousy take on this gift, which it is, and hopefully I'll be a good student of life and listen this time. What else could happen? Oh no, wrong question!!!!!