Saturday, July 26, 2008

Placebo

I was recently made aware of a weakness in my spiritual cast.

Truth is, unfortunately for you, often revealed to me as the conclusion of some abstract line of thought, the real-world conclusion to some hypothetical, sometimes downright nonsensical, syllogism.

As such, it remains difficult to present to you the circuitous route my mind undertook to arrive at a very basic destination. It must suffice to say that I was at work, which is to say I was mobile, due to the nature of my work. It was mid-morning, which means I was in a haze of grim resignation, attempting to rid myself of the last of the day's packages bearing a 10:30 commit time. Some anonymous driver had committed an egregious sin against me, an automotive faux pas so traumatic that I have since blocked it from my mind and cannot remember what the particular offense was, or whether or not it was something as minor as being on the same road as I. Some deep-seated knee-jerk persecution complex constantly feeds data, no matter how minuscule or inconsequential, into a misery meter. (The earlier my little meter pegs out in the morning, the better the day, as it awakens a sense of proportion and perspective. A side note, I recently attempted to readjust my attitude only to discover that I did not wish to not be irritated.)

I soothed the irritation, as I have many times, with a platitude; a variation of, It could be worse. I do this quite often. Exemplary is an instance where I was working much later than I felt just, and delivered a package of medicine to a very grateful paraplegic who was immensely proud of being able to sign his name legibly for the package. I left him sobered and comforted.

Me, not him.

When tempted to everyday frustration, my invariable response is to compare my lot favorably with those more unfortunate than myself.

And that's helpful, but not very biblical.

The logical trouble with proportioning every distasteful thing in your life by saying, yes, but look at him, is that somewhere down the line, waaayyy down the line, somebody far more unfortunate than I looks to his left in search of comfort and finds no one lower than he to use as an emotional stepstone out of the funk. ( I say logical trouble because I recognize that each soul bears his own troubles with more grace than he supposes he would bear anothers.) But it is still logical to adduce that if we are only comforted by looking downhill, when the music stops, some poor sucker is going to be left without a seat.

Moreover, it is a pitiful excuse for comfort. It is slaking your thirst by rolling a pebble around in your mouth to generate saliva when there's a frosted Mason jar of iced tea at your elbow.

Incidentally, that poor, destitute individual you look to for comfort may be happier than you are, indeed, what an epiphany it would prove to discover that you were his comfort!

The upshot: I reckon that the sufferings of this present life (including, but not limited to slow-pokes, financial worries, health problems, stoning, beating, imprisonment, cancer, paralysis, burning at a stake, piece-mealed to lions, upside down crucifixion) are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed to us.

2 comments:

Devan said...

Once again, I am delighted and humbled. God has already provided our peace--now if we would just reach out a hand and take it. I realize, once again, what a patient Heavenly Father I have!

wncjr said...

What more can I say.I will quote your mom "That's a classic.