I got a more than healthy portion of humble pie at church last night...from 2 different people.
One I know very well...our beloved Deacon Tom. He gave the homily last night and it was about the concept that life...isn't easy. That in fact it will be filled with challenges from birth to death and it is a measure of who we are as to how we handle whatever our own difficulties might be.
And that in the face of our own personal struggles, yoking ourselves to God will be the comfort, solace and easing of our burdens that we seek with desperation.
And of course he is right. To feel lonely, like I said yesterday, is to turn ones back on God and prayer. And while it is totally human to do just that...it is good to be reminded, from someone I love, that it's neither healthy nor productive.
My other dose of humble pie came from someone I don't know and had never seen before.
A beautiful young family came into church just a few minutes before Mass began. Mother, father, 3 adorable children and grandparents. Nothing too unusual in that on a Saturday evening.
It was the dad who stopped me short and caused me to become internally embarrassed at my previous belly-aching and pity party.
Clearly he'd been in an horrific accident of some kind...and not too long ago.
The first thing you saw was his head...devoid of hair due to burns. There were patches of dark fuzz but only patches; the majority of the top of his head was red and raw with a few places of healing new skin.
His face was much the same...no eyebrows, tightened into a grimace of painful healing.
His right arm was encased in a burn compression bandage; he couldn't straighten the arm and the bandage covered his hand and fingers. His left arm...was missing above the elbow. What remained also had a compression bandage on. He walked with difficulty even though he used a cane.
Yet there he was...at Mass. He stood for every prayer despite the difficulties and pain it clearly caused him. I covertly watched him go up to receive Communion; no one asked to have it brought to him, which in his circumstances would have been completely expected.
No...with determination drawn from someplace deep within, he left his cane at his seat and walked up to receive the Body of Christ. It must have taken a focus and iron will to make that walk. A focus on what he was about to receive and the spiritual nourishment it would give him.
I only watched him for a moment. But it was enough.
Each of us has our burdens, that's true. They are unique to our own circumstances and we bear them as we can. And I don't mean to diminish one iota the weight of an individual's struggles.
But sometimes you experience God's Grace from a different perspective. It changes the composition of your own picture. It forces you to confront your own self-absorption and navel-gazing...and see it for what it is.
A pity party that has gone on long past its end time. I'm the last guest at the party and it's time for me to move on.