Saturday, June 28, 2014

Living the first principle requires enormous amounts of patience

Linda McCullough Moore begins her story, Four Kinds Of People, in her book of short stories, This Road Will Take Us Closer To The Moon with these three sentences, "I'm sitting in the late afternoon of my existence at Logan Airport reading the fine print on the backside of my boarding pass when my life walks in. Well, one of my lives, my former life. Carlton."

"The wife - I'll call her Mary Ann - asks him how long the layover in Charlotte is. He asks her how the hell would he know. Still the charmer."

"Are those your boys?" I say to Mary Ann.
No, we rented them for the trip. I make the only interesting reply.

"Are you married?" she asks me.
"Not at the moment, but I have high hopes for the thousand priests at Myrtle Beach."
"Oh," she says as though she has some clue what that might mean. I start to explain, but then think better of it. There are about four people in the world who are interested in the difference between Catholic and Episcopalian priests and their matrimonial proclivities.
"And you're not a nun, you say."
"Nope, still not a nun." I can see why she has a little trouble with the weather channel.

One might wonder how one should respond when stories of your past life encounter you unexpectedly and are filtered through the dark veil of ignorance begging for clarification which only the deeply initiated could possibly understand. In such instances the inherent worth and dignity of every person is hard to remember and if remembered hard to apply when people are clueless and naive. What does it take in moments like this to live the first principle? Patience, patience, and more patience.

Patience leads to forgiveness which leads to compassion which just might lead to gratitude. The narrator of the story is patient and has a good sense of humor the kind that can laugh at the incongruity and absurdity of life. It is important to laugh with people and not at people, and experience the mysterious alchemy which transforms pain into peace, darkness into light, banal nonsense into grace.

The older we get the more former lives we have, the more stories that can haunt us, the more experiences we can cherish and enjoy in the sharing with others. We remember the children who were only with us a short time on the trip, the partner(s) we tried to love and hoped would love us, the goals we pursued some with triumph, some with defeat, some just abandoned for various reasons that we can't name or if we can, we don't tell others or want to talk about. Because we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person our faith inspires us to be grateful for tomorrow if it comes, because God only knows how the story will continue to be created and unfold, and we are filled with enthusiastic hope for the actualization of the divine potential that we and all our brothers and sisters possess.

My Kind Of Church Music - The Boy In The Bubble, Paul Simon


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