Sometimes life throws us lemons. It's hard to stay calm in the face of a shit storm, but at the end of the day we are only human. Our inclination is to drown in self-pity, seeking sympathy for our misfortunes. If only others knew how hard our lives would be then everything would be OK. We use our suffering as currency to exchange for misbehavior, making excuses like I just cooked so I don't have to clean, I am on my period so I get to act like a total bitch, or I worked all day so now I can bum on the couch and not help around the house. In these situations we have two options, to be a blessing or a curse.
I look back at my own years of suffering and it seems stupid, I know. I was just a lonely kid who needed a couple of friends. Objectively, in hindsight, there are infinitely more horrible situations I could have suffered through like cancer, or tuberculosis. But subjectively I knew at that time there never existed a feeling more painful in the world, at least my world, then loneliness. At the time I sure did not feel it, but in my pain I was being given more then senseless suffering; I was given a shot at future redemption, an opportunity to turn my curse into a blessing. My curse was a gift, I just needed to open it and see what was inside.
What I saw was pain, a feeling I never wanted anyone else to feel. Not just my pain but others as well. That kid sitting at the lunch table by himself with shifty eyes pretending to be busy on his phone so he feels a little less lonely. The bully who unknowingly puts others down because that feeling of superiority feeds his own insecurity. That quiet boy who speaks ever so softly because he thinks surely no one will want to listen to what he has to say. I saw the suffering in others because I was blessed with the chance to walk in their shoes, given a chance to relate and connect. To inspire others with my story and to be inspired by theirs, to guide a fellow journeyman in his quest, and to follow in the foot steps of another who has made it before me.
To be a blessing.
I am not always so graceful. Often times when I find myself deprived of sleep, tired to the bones, I get cranky. I lash out at simple things and people for the smallest occurrences. When I am in a rush I get impatient and have no time for stupid questions or a simple good morning. That asshole who just cut me off on the road deserves a middle finger and a 5 second honk. I allow myself to be selfish, letting my problems dictate my actions and prevent me from acting as a Christian. I become this evil person, a curse upon the world in times of discomfort.
So what hope is there for a sinner like me, a self-serving douchebag. The answer is God. He is our only hope for salvation. I have to humble myself before him every day and remind myself that I have a choice. A choice to follow in his foot steps and to be a blessing, or to disobey him and allow my discomfort to govern my actions.
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.Deuteronomy 11:26-28
Being tired is a curse.
To be entrusted to carry out His work is a blessing.
Being ignorant is a curse.
To be able forsake my false ideals so that I may put my faith in Him is a blessing.
Being foolish is a curse.
To dream of possibilities and risk doing what no one else will is a blessing.
Being afraid is a curse.
To be put in a situation where I can muster the courage to inspire others is a blessing.
Being hurt is a curse.
To be healed with a grateful heart that seeks to return the favor is a blessing.
Being betrayed is a curse.
To be asked for forgiveness so that we may show grace and love is a blessing.
_______________________________________________________Inspired by St. Francis, Prayer of Discomfort as mentioned by J.S. Park:
"May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and shallow relationships,
So that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them
And turn their pain into joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
And the Blessing of God, who Creates, Redeems and Sanctifies,
Be upon you and all you love and pray for this day, and forever more.