Saturday, August 10, 2019

Why Do Loved Ones Fight?

If two people stop in a supermarket aisle, why do they ALWAYS stop next to each other, so no one else can pass?
Why is my roof leaking --- again!
Why is that guy in front of me going 20mph under the speed limit!
Why are the neighbor’s kids always screaming so loud!
Why is there never anything good in the refrigerator when I’m hungry!
Why did I drink so much last night, and will the pounding in my head ever stop!
I could go on and on.  There are so many things that bother me.  Now, don’t tell me that your list is longer.  Don’t fight me on this saying: “Well, yeh but what’s happening to me is ….”  I don’t want to hear it!  I KNOW I’m right in saying that all the biggest storms keeping falling on me; so, don’t tell me yours is worse.  Mine is the worst storm since they had to build an ark to survive --- only nobody’s building an ark for me.
Don’t you raise your voice telling me how bad you have it.  Mine is worse!
Are you angry with me now?  I’m just telling you the way things are --- and a lot of it is your fault!!
- - - - - - - - - -
Been there?  Angry at the world; taking it out on anyone near?
I woke at 6:30A this morning, very refreshed, and an hour and half before mass.  Even as I readied, I felt God’s presence around me, as I later did during the drive through the beauty of the pre-dawn skies (and with the sun shining in my eyes at this moment of writing).  And as I drove through the beauty and peace, I suddenly had brief thoughts of all the less-than-peaceful times of my life, like those mentioned above.  Those times when I was angry at my life, and couldn’t see its beauty, or its purpose.
Arriving at church early, I quickly noticed that my morning prayers continued the conversation God had started along the way.
It began as I read the Invitatory Psalm, Psalm 95:
Come, let us sing to the Lord
and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.
Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving
and sing joyful songs to the Lord.
The Lord is God, the mighty God,
the great king over all the gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the highest mountains as well.
He made the sea; it belongs to him,
the dry land, too, for it was formed by his hands.
Come, then, let us bow down and worship,
bending the knee before the Lord, our maker.
For he is our God and we are his people,
the flock he shepherds.
Today, listen to the voice of the Lord:
Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did
in the wilderness,
when at Meriba and Massah
they challenged me and provoked me,
although they had seen all my works.
Forty years I endured that generation,
I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray
and they do not know my ways.”
So I swore in my anger,
“They shall not enter into my rest.”
The first half of the psalm is praising God, which I felt like doing this morning.  The second half begins with these words, which I had underlined in my prayer book: “Today, listen to the voice of the Lord: Do not grow stubborn.  I also had circled the word “to”, and noted in the margin: “It doesn’t say for; He’s already talking.”  That’s a key point.  Sometimes in my prayers I’m looking for some particular answer from God, and I try to listen for it, “for” his answer.  And sometimes I think: “Are You ever going to answer my prayer, Lord?”  But, this psalm says to listen “to” the voice of the Lord --- He is already talking to me.  Well, if indeed He is, why don’t I hear Him.  Well, the psalm goes on to explain.
WE ARE STUBBORN!  We raise our voices, often in anger, so we can’t hear the small, still voice of God, which IS talking to us.  The Psalm goes on to say how they challenged God and provoked Him, although they had seen all His works.  God puts up with us, our stubbornness, our anger, a lot --- forty years in the example.  And He notes “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they do not know My ways.”  They can’t shut up, be calm (not stubborn) and “LISTEN to the voice of the Lord.”   And as I read and thought on these words in the quiet of the church, I knew that often, the words were describing me.
And then I read the concluding line of Psalm 95, the result of the times of my stubbornness, my failures to listen, my anger: “So I swore in anger; ‘they shall not enter into my rest.’”
I praised God with the first half of Psalm 95 --- I like to do that --- but I need to remember also the second half, and how important it is.
And as I continued my prayers before mass, in the day’s Readings I read Psalm 136.  I won’t print it all here, but one line repeats in it 26 times in that 26-verse psalm: “For His love endures forever.”  It’s like the psalmist wants to make sure we get it, and, that as we sing and pray that psalm God KNOWS we get it.  His love endures forever.  In all our sorrows, our anger, His love endures forever.
We often get so hung up in our lives, our so very short earthly lives, and we think them so important.  We so easily get angry when things don’t go our way.  These psalms, the beauty of the day, together they showed me again what is really important.  It was a lesson good for me to hear again.
Finally, I concluded my morning prayers with a prayer attributed to Pope Clement XI.  It is a prayer for Thanksgiving After Mass.  And in particular, I prayed the lines I had underlined in that prayer:
Lord, I am sorry for my sins; deepen my sorrow.
I praise You as my constant helper, my loving protector.
I offer You my sufferings, to be endured for Your greater glory.
I want to do what You ask of me, in the way You ask.
Lord, enlighten my understanding, purify my heart.
Let me love You my Lord and My God, and see myself as I really am.
Help me to conquer anger with gentleness.
Help me to forget myself and reach out to others.
Make me prudent in planning, courageous in taking risks
Make me patient in suffering.
Firm my good intentions.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish Your love for me.
- - - - - - - - - -
One of the benefits of this blog is its format, which includes a listing of topics along the left margin.  Clicking on one of those topics brings up all the postings I wrote focused on that topic.  This morning I clicked on “Anger”, and read all the postings, from oldest to most recent.  It was time well spent.  I can see that I am making progress in putting my anger in perspective, and when it occurs, finding a way to use it positively, not negatively.
And I can see with today’s gracious reminders from God that it is a constant battle.
Thank You, Lord, for reminding me.

No comments:

Post a Comment