Wednesday, November 26, 2008

hopefully it occurs to me...

Because of a sudden and inexplicable burst of holiday spirit that came over me last night, I found myself craving a Christmas movie. So, after realizing that my dvd collection is severely lacking in holiday movies, I popped in Elf. I was really happy for a little while (the combination of Will Farrell and Zooey Deschanel is a force to be reckoned with in my consciousness), but then it finally dawned on me how much this Christmas is going to suck. I've been ignoring the fact, or at least not giving it much thought, that I'll be stuck in FL, by myself, working on both Christmas Eve and Christmas itself. This is a potent combination of terrible circumstances: no family, no snow/chance of snow/or even cold enough temperatures where you could make a fire and pretend like its snowing, and work. Blah.

It might be different if this was a job that I really enjoyed, engaged in. Don't get me wrong, I like my job, it's decent, and I'm good at it, but it's not exactly what I'm shooting for as a career.

So after a little solo pity party (which may have just continued in those last two paragraphs... sorry) I picked up the book I've been reading lately - that is, if you can call it reading; it takes me about fifteen minutes or more per page because it's so dense, and I'm not exaggerating, but that's a good thing, because it's fantastic - No Man is an Island by Thomas Merton, and got a much needed dose of perspective. The chapter is called "Sentences on Hope" and here's what I read:

"Supernatural hope is the virtue that strips us of all things in order to give us possession of all things. We do not hope for what we have. Therefore, to live in hope is to live in poverty, having nothing. And yet, if we abandon ourselves to economy of Divine Providence, we have everything we hope for... Hope deprives us of everything that is not God, in order that all things may serve their true purpose as means to bring us to God."

This kind of blew my mind. What we hope for we do not possess, so the act of hope, in itself, without fruition, is actually despondency disguised as a positive emotion, and the loss of hope is actually that which truly edifies, because it causes us to abandon ourselves to the economy of Divine Providence. Amazing.

This is not to say I have no right to be sad about this upcoming Christmas. I will still be sad. But this just gave me a little tap, reminding me of precedence.

And although I'm working all day tomorrow (Thanksgiving) there is plenty to be thankful for. Like this book I'm reading, with gems like this: "It is lawful to love all things and to seek them once they become means to the love of God. There is nothing we cannot ask of Him if we desire it in order that He may be more loved by ourselves or by others." And music. And friends, who hear that I'm working on Thanksgiving and send me text messages like this one: "Aw, well if you want a meal or leftovers or quality family time, my house is open :)" (Thanks, katie). And fresh air. And sweater vests. And corny movie moments making you tear up. And family. And love. And joy. And peace. And patience. And kindness. And goodness. And faithfulness. And gentleness. And self-control. And love. And love. And love. And the fact that all these things are available to us even when a potent combination of terrible circumstances converge. And that feeling of placing the last period on something you wrote and knowing that its true.


Ashlyn Alyce said...

This made me think. And smile.

RLS said...

awww, steve. :)

if it makes you feel any better, I found flight of the concords. I hope that makes you smile. I nearly had a heart attack. ;)

excellent entry. the merton quotes were much needed.

dMonti said...

Hey thanks for writing this, I needed to read this. I'll have to look up that book sometime.