Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
July 29, 2007
Are We Still Able to Care? We have probably all experienced what we call having a “meltdown”. As adults trying to balance a home, a career, not to mention involvement in our community and our church, there comes a time when we just throw up our arms and say, “I just don’t care anymore.” If you have never had this experience, Thank God. Chances are very good that you either know or live with someone that has had this experience or is presently going through it.
I recently read an excellent article written by Martin Pable in the America Magazine on this very topic. Pable had some excellent advice for those of us who occasionally have
“meltdowns.” One point that I found very comforting was that even the saints had these experiences. One specific example that Pable brought out was one of St. Francis of Assisi. During his last year or so on earth Francis began to see a decline in the commitment and attitudes of his friars. He saw that they were not what he, Francis, had had in mind when he founded the Friars Minor. During prayer one day he said to God, “Lord, I give you back the family you gave me? (Read: “I don’t care any more!”) Because Francis was a very spiritual man and indeed a man of prayer, he listened for God’s response and God helped him to see the light. The point being however, that we are all human and we are all subject to fatigue and discouragement.
A second point that Pable made was that we must maintain our focus on those things that are important. He quotes the ending of T.S. Eliot’s poem “Ash Wednesday”. It reads: “Teach us to care and not to care/teach us to sit still/even among these rocks.” Not being a very poetic person by nature I needed a bit of help to understand the full meaning of this excerpt. Luckily Pable did explain. The bottom line is that we must learn to differentiate between the essential things in life and the none essential. We cannot and should not care for everything all at once in the same manner and with the same intensity. There are some things that just don’t matter in the long run.
As members of a society that finds busyness as a positive, we are often subject to fatigue. We also often loose sight of the forest for the trees. If we don’t want to lose our way
completely, we can ask ourselves, “at the end of the day, in the long view of life, does this really matter?” If the answer is yes, then we stand firm and take whatever heat may come. If the answer is no, then let it go. I believe that we if asked ourselves this question on occasion, we would remain more centered and focused on those things that really matter and we wouldn’t feel so guilty about letting those other things go.
You may be asking yourselves, “and what were those rocks, T.S. Eliot was talking about? What do rocks have to do with this reflection. The rocks are those things in our lives that get in our way. Some are big and others small but they are problems that arise and we must deal with them. We must choose to avoid them, climb over them, bury them or sit with them. We all have rocks in our lives. What are your rocks? Some rocks that we probably all share are the divisions in the church, the lack of dialogue, the clash of egos, the division of resources to rebuild the physical rather than the spiritual church. Can we work together to rebuild our spiritual church?