When I was really new in sobriety, a very wise old timer said to me that the good news about getting sober is that we get to grow up. The bad news, she winked, is that we have to grow up in public.
That is true. I have made it a point for many years to do a lot of my growing up online, in blog form, for many people to witness. I have tried to be fair to myself but I have also tried to be hard on myself. I can look back on this blog to posts two or three years ago and see where I was really being a whiny baby brat and where I was legitimately frightened by the actions of others who had taken a dislike to me. I can see growth. I can see failure. I can see hurt. I can see triumph.
There is, however, a reoccurring theme and it is the need/want to be loved and accepted by family and friends. I would bet I am not much different from others in that I wish for love and acceptance. What I am seeing, however, is the struggle I have between wanting to give my full attention to God and wanting to be loved and accepted in the world. It manifests by how easily my feelings get hurt when someone attacks or gets angry or rejects. I see my wanting to be a better me at odds with wanting to be a loved and popular me and I would bet this is what keeps me from being a saint.
Mother Angelica used to end a lot of her programs on EWTN with the admonition to be a great saint. I would like to be a great saint. I think there should be a St Leslie somewhere (there isn't - I have checked) and I think my Feast Day should rotate and be celebrated on Superbowl Sunday every year. I think that a Touch Down Celebration that includes dancing to the Rolling Stones 'Jumping Jack Flash' would catch on like Kapernicking.
Seriously, my time in Purgatory will be spent being purified in the Fire of God's Love from my attachment to people, to things, to the NEED for a love other than the Love of Truth. If I stumble today, it is when my overdeveloped need for personal vindication takes center stage in my mind. When I get jealous. When I feel 'left out'. So what do I do when that happens? How do I calm my mind when the thoughts of rejection slam into me - usually in the middle of the night, when I am trying to sleep, after a long and hard day at the office.
How? Well, I remind myself of some important stuff.
God is not a liar and God has not left me an orphan. God promises me Eternal Love and I believe Him. I know He cares so much about me that He has never once stopped thinking about me, even when I was committing mortal sin He loved me and was waiting for me to come Home to Him.
He knows how the loss of those I hold dear hurt like an almost constant bruise - the thorn in my side, so to speak - and I believe that He can take that hurt and loss and strengthen me through my suffering. God has not left me to my own devices. My comfort in times of distress comes from Him, usually when I am able to sit quietly in front of Him in the Blessed Sacrament and gaze in quiet contemplation on my Creator.
Thank you, Lord, for my life today....it can't be any better than it is right NOW.