There are too many moments throughout the day when I am re-humbled. I don’t know why at this stage I still get it in my head that I am now to be propelled forward to magnificent heights. Nobody really thinks nearly as high of me as I do.
The lows come quickly and easily, too. Who do I think I am, anyway?
I think I might be tapped into something deeper, though. Or maybe it’s just a sense of do or die. I can’t go back because there is nothing to go back to. I can’t move forward in an inordinate fashion, because nothing fits or works outside of these small parameters.
What is there to be angry about, if you are nothing special or especially deserving of a great reward? You can’t be angry about the way the world is going to hell, you can only help a few souls find their way out of it.
What a weird, seductive thing it is to be temporarily convinced that you can effect change with just your mind! You can’t do anything at all. You are only capable of changing that which God says your particular combination of talents can change. Stop thinking you are the man with ten talents when you are really the man with one. The parable might have been extended to see this other fellow with just one talent who continually overplayed his hand and got nowhere. He was probably just as foolish as Jesus’ man with one talent who hid that talent. You are that fool. Wasting ten talents is terrible, but surely wasting one talent because you couldn’t recognize it for being just one talent is just as bad.
How many times has life somehow managed to get you out of what would otherwise have been a sticky situation, but in the nick of time? Is it really an ambiguous entity like “life” getting you out of these situations?
The will to sin persists. The will to do great evil arises when the ego is especially wounded. What a lovely thing, you think, to be cast into a role like in some Clint Eastwood western, where you have nothing left to lose!
But, were you to lose everything but your own life, you know that becoming a man of great sin and evil would be playing directly into the Devil’s hands–it would be doing exactly what mankind thinks is an appropriate response from a man who has lost it all. Instead, your correct response should be to love the Lord even more–to seek out ways on this earth to live in an even more direct engagement with God. This is true rebellion. The rebellion that the Devil urges you to participate in is a cheap and easy rebellion–it is the rebellion of millions of unwitting souls.
The life of the monk is a beautiful thing. You are stripped down to a nakedness of self that so many poets and artists have craved in worldly ways, but have allowed whatever drugs and worldly things to come their way and carry them off into a hedonism that is anything but stripped down and naked. Surely the best way of being in this world is not the way of being that receives the least amount of criticism from other human beings, but the most criticism. Being a monk garners you criticism from fellow Christians who would want you to be out doing more to help the poor, as well as many atheists who see it as a pointless, navel-gazing exercise. Criminal activities garner immediate and singular criticism–murdering, raping, stealing–these are bad and immediately condemned with little else to say of them. But the man or woman who chooses the monastic life is to be criticized indiscriminately, indefinitely, and routinely from across many human social configurations. Monks simply are not useful, and the fact that a configuration of society exists to support them becomes a bothersome thing for members of the society who would have it be neat, tidy and perennially useful.
But, the humble one who prays may be one of a few who hold up the earth, preventing it from collapsing into the chaos it once knew.