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Monday, January 28, 2008

Here's the Good News

It is not me.

As someone who is trying to consecrate her life to Jesus Christ and sobriety, I am taught to always look first at me when I am troubled. What did I do wrong? What did I do right? What could have been handled in a better fashion? If I find a place where I can improve I put effort towards that - always knowing that perfection is out of reach but should be resolutely pursued. The difference between being imperfect (and knowing it) and striving for perfection (knowing you will never reach it) is the definition of humility, in a very REAL sense.

At times, however, I can fall into the trap of taking responsibility for OTHER people's behavior. If E treats me like I am a piece of poo-poo she stepped in I must not be approaching her properly...if I do not understand directions given to me by E or V I must be really REALLY stupid.

Tonight I have come to a realization that I knew intellectually but I now understand in a very practical manner - taking on too much responsibility is just another form of Big Shot-ism. It is egomania in its weirdest form. At some point, one must be prepared to say, 'I have tried everything. I will keep this person in prayer but I am not in any way, shape or form responsible for her rudeness, her bad behavior and her condescending manner'.

I realize that about E. I am just plain not responsible. I cannot try and make her feel any more comfortable. The reality is, she is an ill-bred nasty woman and I look forward, with a smile, to the day I can find another place to work.

Here's the tough part for a Catholic. Knowing that it is not my fault does not excuse me from the responsibility of treating her with respect and dignity. I have to treat her the WAY I would like to be treated, as though she is Jesus Christ in disguise. I cannot fall into the trap of hatred or anger or disgust. I must act from Love.

I heard someone on Catholic Answers the other day say that as he has begun to study the why(s) and Wherefore(s) of his evangelical church he realized that it is a lot tougher to try and be a good Catholic than it is to just try and be a good Christian. He made an interesting observation about us. "No wonder everyone freaks out when one of you fails...they know how high your standards are, and if you fail they can point to the STANDARDS and say they are too tough and to YOU and call you a hypocrite".

I never thought of it like that - because I am not on the outside looking in, as this man is right now. It makes sense, however, because it is why we are so upset when a police officer is arrested for breaking the law, or a teacher is arrested for cheating or a religious is accused of indecent behavior. The standards of the individual office are high. However, it is only the Catholic Church that is later accused of having standards that are TOO HIGH. With one hand we are slapped as hypocrites and with the other we are soothed by secular humanism with a 'there, there, you couldn't possibly be expected to do all those things every day...that mean old Pope'.

Ok, I'm being funny but it does make sense. E has shared with me that she suffers from depression and has diabetes. There is a good chance this is the reason for the mood swings. The problem is it FEELS like I am in an abusive relationship. I never know when I walk through the doors of the office if I am going to be greeted warmly or slugged in the face.

Anyway.....

I think what I need to be able to do is keep her in prayer long enough so that if another position comes along I can apply for it without hatred or resentment. Instead, I can just look for something on the East Side of the County that will lower my gas bill and let me back into my real life at home.

St. Therese, pray for me.

1 comment:

Macile Hooper LeJeune said...

My cousin that gave me the 'pray for your enemies' prayer ... said 'If I am not the problem, there is no solution'. I think she meant ... if you are doing what you know Jesus would want you to do ... the problem lies with someone you are interacting with.
That is what I hear in your writings now. You used to always be willing to take the 'blame' ... and if you are not acting wrongly ... then you cannot fix it by taking the responsibility that belongs to another.
I love how you take us on these learning trips. At my age, although I am not in the workforce (and never was much, but parttime jobs) ... these machines of mine ... brings the 'good news' that I can learn from others ... even if I have not been in that certain situation. Your logic fits ... even in social scene if you constantly see someone who acts in a confontational way toward you. Praying ... ma cherie, and especially for E. As a diabetic, I never thought of it causing mood swings. Maybe it does for others; and maybe if I would keep a diary, I would see it in me also. HL would be glad to find out why I have bad moods. :-p
DIEU TE BENISSE!!! Cajun Sissy