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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Same Mess or "Same Crosses," But New Creation in Christ!

As a kid, we all had chores, and naturally my mom would be on us about them. The worst was when we'd do our own particular chore but, because there were eight other people in the house, it inevitably got undone. My mom would point to whatever it was and say "that is the same pair of shoes as yesterday," or "that is the same coat/dish/toy/towel/game/throw pillow as two hours ago!!!" And, knowing that I'd very honestly put those things away, I'd shout "Well, this is the SAME HOUSE! Did you expect the neighbor's shoes?"

I was defensive because, often, she was accusing us of shirking; Mom thought we left work undone and was upset. But I have to wonder if sometimes her source of exasperation was the fact that we make those same messes over and over. It was the same house, the same people living in it, with the same bad habits. I found myself wondering absurd things, like if she'd be happier if the messes were 'nicer' messes, instead of things she was bored with looking at. Or if they were made by less-annoying people: we were raucous and sloppy, and that never changed. Or were in a less-boring house.


I'm almost instinctively ashamed, talking to people about my spirituality. Mostly, I only do it when I feel I need help or some kind of connection, typically for the same reasons every time. I wondered vaguely if it wouldn't be 'nice' to fight with something different for a change. I was berating myself for that, just now, over this page, telling myself that of course I'm fighting the same demons, same sins, cleaning the same messes: its the 'same house.' And it hit me how resigned that phrase felt in my head. Resigned to being a living mess: to taking out the trash, falling, then sweeping up again. When I make those same mistakes, I guiltily present my confession, with my only defense being 'same human, same demons.'

I remember once responding with confusion and not a little bit of horror when a priest suggested I move from sinning against myself to sinning sexually with another person because he felt that the first was a result of 'loneliness'. This priest was wishy-washy, and before I could say a word he could see by my face that I didn't like his idea.

"Well, You aren't giving me any cues. I don't know which one you feel is more acceptable. I don't know how I can help you. Its not good to be alone." I responded that I wouldn't replace one grave sin with another grave sin, especially if I wasn't already struggling with it! Amidst his reassurances that he would never truly encourage me to do something wrong, that he merely wanted my thoughts, that "but you know the Pope told us" that we couldn't judge committed homosexual couples since we "don't understand truly what love is meant to be," I began to understand that we all had certain battles to fight. And praise and thank GOD that at our roughest times, He only allows us certain battles!

I avoid this priest's confessional like the plague, now. The suggestion that I put a ranking on grave sin, then choose the lesser one was mind boggling, just like the idea that a different mess in the same house would improve the problem somehow. It wasn't a matter of 'what kind of sin should you be accepting of' but "what kind of person do you need to be to finally say 'NO MORE!' "? Same 'house,' same 'messes,' different person.

Baptism, confession, communion, prayer, those are supposed to make us new! I struggle with the 'same demons,' but each victory is stronger and higher and more of a magnifier for the glory of what God has done through His Spirit in me. I'm free, now, and even the devil knows it! How can we bend to mere temptations aimed at pathetic us when we are so saturated, so filled with Christ when we are created into Him?

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