Loneliness and Traffic Cursing
Friday Afternoon Greetings Rock Creek,
I recently heard David Brooks from the NY Times lamenting that his students are not often changed by his words and how disheartening that is.
A reader of his column in Oregon, Dave Jolley, responded with this sage and reassuring insight which seems imminently worth considering during the pressure cooker of Advent/Modern frenetic-demanding-sometimes depressing and irritating Christmastime:
"What a wise person says is the least of that which he gives. What gets communicated is the small gestures and the whole totality of their being that is to say the small gestures of kindness, of grace, of honesty, of hard truth-telling.” And then he says, “Never forget the message is the person.”
This is of course, yet another reminder that our love for one another is never to be abstract. Love always winds up getting converted into our manner at the dinner table, our attentiveness during a meeting, and our responsiveness to an urgent demand. “Lord have mercy...,” I must say when considering this fact.
Mike Mason, as you saw earlier this week, keenly observes about marriage what is certainly true about all manifestations of what Father Zossima called “love in action vs love in dreams”:
“In marriage the pressure is felt most in a whole series of tiny sharply defined issues of morality, (that) take the shape of commandments: Honor the day of your anniversary: remember to take out the garbage; don’t use the power saw when your wife is home if she can’t stand the noise. Only another person can challenge and confront us at this deep personal level of our own private will and reveal to us how petty it is.”
Our petty wills are presently receiving and will continue to encounter 1000 resistance training exercises as the kids come home from school, gifts must be purchased, loneliness is reckoned with, and traffic is cursed. What an opportunity for us each to ask the Savior whom we serve while washing dishes, driving through the ridge cut, or speaking to a complaining customer/child/spouse/neighbor/self, to “give us an increase of love for each other and for everyone else” during this Advent season.
Jesus, make our love concrete; your grace in us evident; the tenderness we have received, cheerfully shareable by all to whom you assign us to care. And forgive us our regular failures in this regard. Do not abandon, not even for a second, O Renovating Lord, the work of your hands. Amen.
See you Sunday,