Monday, March 19, 2018

An Essay to be Shared

So often, I have heard many parishioners, friends, and family members talk about feeling that they themselves or someone they know or are related to feel  like there is something off about their life but just can’t pin point what it is.  The world is filled with all types of unrest.  The other day, this paper was emailed to me with an apology that the name of the author and where it appeared was lost over the years. I felt it was worth sharing with all of you. I am sorry that I am unable to provide the author and the source of this essay. I feel that it is definitely worth sharing with all of you. It is about changing your way of life and what needs to be done to “be the change.”

“First and foremost, you MUST want to make changes and be willing to do the work. You do not need to justify your behavior to anyone, past, present or future to any person not even yourself. You need to develop a new respect for your fragility. A ROUGH START is better than NO START. You need balance. You need to learn when to work at something or walk away. You can only change yourself, no one else. You need to learn to swim upstream, against the current, not downstream. You need to learn how to think inside the solution in order to bear the fruits of the solution as well as not stagnate in the solution but find more and more possibilities. You will go way beyond success which is fleeting.  The goal should be “self-fulfillment.” Just a slight change in attitude, actions, etc. can make or break you.  You need to build your life on rock not on sand. You can’t let things, words; people, etc. get to you.  You need to be aware of what changes your mood positively or negatively. Try not to let your life be an echo of disturbing thoughts. Do not sway away from your goals. Be confident in your decisions. Use common sense.  Don’t waste your time or money on get rich schemes. Those people make money on losers, poor people, easily impressionable, and dreamers, all trying to get rich quick.  You know that if you put your hand in a fire, you’ll get burnt and hurt. So, why do you allow negative thoughts and actions to fill your holy days? It takes the possibility of joy away, your appreciation of who you are and what you have.

When Adam and Eve lived in Eden, they were happy and at peace. It just took a few negative thoughts to convince them that things could be better and look what happened. The lesson isn’t whether Adam and Eve existed. It is never look at what others have. If God created all of us and gave us unconditional love which we rejected and continue to reject, how do you think God feels or does He?  We don’t throw God off balance. He loves us unconditionally. He is the source of a peace that is not of this world.

Become a voice of the present with eyes on the future, not an echo of the past which repeats itself over and over in the vast emptiness of a life not being fully lived. Don’t reminisce and lament with past life stories/events.   Look to new stories filled with potential and renewal, a new self-image.

Jesus continually asked the question, “What do you want of me?”  He asked the Roman Soldier, the rich man, the woman with the hemorrhage, etc.  God is continually asking you the same questions, “What do you want of me? What do you want me to do for you?” Is Jesus saying, "Know what I can give you, like a million dollars?” No, God is not speaking of things. God is asking more specifically to focus on the now.  It is up to you to decide on what you want to be as a person and what you want to be about in this world and the next.

We are settled in our way of thinking. Oh, we talk about wanting to change … maybe. We don’t really want to change.  What we do want is everyone else around us to change. We are stuck in our attitudes, our cultures, in our mindsets and our ways of thinking and doing things.  We think that we are always right and everyone else is wrong. We want to believe that we know more than other people but we are lying to ourselves. We are stubborn, a second cousin so to speak to arrogance.  PRIDE always proceeds a fall and/or failure. We are too proud to say we were wrong, we were at fault or we made the wrong choice. We are too proud to admit that the things we believe happened or recalled happening are wrong or even perhaps not exactly correct, that someone else actually may be right. That we made a mistake. We are too afraid to say we gave into our human frailties.

Failure results because we think we know it all. We refuse to try another way of doing things, and we are determined to remain inflexible and ignorant. We are dooming ourselves to failure with this attitude. When we cannot forget the past, when we refuse to stop reliving the past, we cannot move forward.

How often do we repeat our parents’ negative patterns? How we swore we would be better parents, more successful, and then, one day we wake up and say, “I’ve become my dad or mom?”  Then, we do nothing to change the pattern.  Having children is not the answer to being loved unconditionally.  Babies seem to love unconditionally. But, are they really or do we teach them to be self-centered?  We cater to their every cry, every smile, and every laugh. Soon you hear, the word “No” from them, then later, “I didn’t ask to be born.”  They go out into the world to meet their own needs. Parents wind up alone and wonder why.

Many children feel obligated to care for their parents.  Many parents feel that their children should be obligated to care for them.  What causes this? To let it not happen, you have to love yourself unconditionally before you can be loved by another unconditionally.  If you have no conditions or expectations of others, you will not be disappointed.  If you do something for someone and expect something in return, it is not unconditional love. It is an obligatory response.”

My prayer for each of us is that we accept the grace from God to be willing to take up the challenge to be the change that can not only help ourselves but many others in our lives.

Fr. Marek Chmurski

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