If you’ve been following My Sunday Best for awhile, you know that occasionally I get a little cheat-sy. I’m supposed to post a picture of what I wore to Mass. Well, what I wore this week was pretty much the same as last time.
So I offer the substitute picture of me and Bea from my sister’s wedding on Saturday. Bea did re-wear her dress to Mass on Sunday, but I opted to re-wear last week’s outfit instead.
We made it about 5 minutes into Mass before someone (we’ll leave out names to protect the not-so-innocent) had to be told to stop nose picking.
“You’ll get a bloody nose if you keep picking,” I gently reminded.
“Once more,” was the counter offer.
Seemed like a reasonable agreement, so I accepted.
The next thing I knew the treaty had gone awry, and there were puddles of blood on the pew in front of us.
Unfortunately we were in the middle of the pew, so I firmly clamped my hand over the offending nose and began shuffling out as if we were in some sort of crazy three-legged race. Except we were still four-legged and connected face-to hand instead, madly crunching the feet of our pewmates in order to prevent increasing the surface area of the biohazard.
My sheepish little dripper handled the escape fine, and we were able to stay in the back of church and get it taken care of. Unfortunately it meant I missed the readings, but we had read a devotion on the Gospel this week at home ahead of Mass. That meant I was already clued in.
In the homily, the priest talked about how when we hear the voice of God, it’s generally not like a loudspeaker or billboard. It’s more like a series of happy accidents.
I’m down with that. I’ve seen it in my own life. The coincidences that mathematically are improbable. Learning about something and then immediately needing that knowledge a few days later. The closed doors that initially cause tears, but reveal another previously unseen exit.
This connected with the Gospel of the Good Shepherd in that old-timey shepherds would sometimes break the leg of a particularly roam-y sheep in order to build a relationship and keep the sheep from straying, even once the leg was healed.
Okay, so I think the big idea was that our struggles might be used for good. For sure that’s true. But as a mom of a child whose hips are almost actually broken, I can’t think about it too literally, as if Cee (or we?) are being taught some sort of lesson. I can get behind the idea that our lives impact and touch others’ in the beautiful tapestry of life. I can’t get behind the “I’m teaching you a lesson” semi-smote philosophy that this dances up next to.
One question David and I have had to continually had to wrestle with and ultimately set aside is, “What are we supposed to be learning from this?” If we could just learn the right lesson, come to the right conclusion, pass the right test, then it would all go away. Our life would return to the days before we knew what CRP, MAS, and SJIA meant.
Although our trials do in fact help us evolve into better people, and good can come out of bad situations, life isn’t a series of levels like a video game– a string of tests we have to master before we can win.
Or maybe it is exactly like a string of tests. Except the challenge is simply “choose love” to whatever happens. Life going great? Choose love. Life going crappy? Choose love. Take care of people. Smile. Apologize. Boom. You just saved a princess. Rather than there being a different goal to achieve with each test, it’s always the same.
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Luke 10:27
Fortunately, we get lots of chances every single day to play. Unfortunately, there’s no way to earn extra lives. We all only get one.
Our little lamb legs are broken. Everyone’s legs are broken in one way or another, because we all have struggles. In choosing love amidst our challenges, we have the opportunity to grow closer to The Good Shepherd. The choice we are offered is whether we fight against our brokenness or embrace it. When we’re shoulder- deep in the throws of pain, suffering, loss, or addiction– it may seem like a closed door to the life we imagined. But in reality it’s an invitation to snuggle in to The Good Shepherd as we wait for the next door to open.