Friday, May 15, 2009
St. Therese Friday
Thank God it's Friday! I thank God it's Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, too. But all day yesterday I thought it was Friday, even though I knew it was Thursday. I almost went for the wrong Sacred Mysteries.
Now it really is Friday and we have some fish to fry. The questions have piled up:
The title of the book pictured for this post is "How to Deal with Annoying People: What to Do When You Can't Avoid Them." When push comes to shove, I am always able to avoid annoying people. My problem is that my friends think it's not very Christian of me to do so. They tell me that avoiding them means I haven't forgiven the annoyance, even if I do. Is it really a sin against charity to avoid annoying people?
There is nothing wrong with avoiding annoying people, per se. For one thing, you might be side stepping a near occasion of sin. Or an actual occasion of sin if you end up popping someone in the snout.
The problem arises with your judgment of whom to avoid and why. If I'm working with the Ladies of the Catholic Charities sorting the socks and that poor smelly man comes in for a sandwich and I sprint to the back and let everyone else deal with him, that is as your friends say, not very Christian. If I'm at a party and the world's biggest bore corners me with a blow by blow description of her bus ride through Nebraska, and I call you over and introduce you and then I run for the beer cooler, that's not very Christian. If I see her coming and know she was just on a sixty day bus ride through Nebraska and she can't wait to tell me every detail and I give her one of those, "I'd love to talk, but see, I'm on my cell phone" waves, that's not so nice.
I have to see her humanity. I have to see God in her. Tall order.
God loves Nebraska.
Your best tactic is to steal yourself and deal with annoying people, to build up your ability to handle being annoyed. Offer it all up for the Poor Souls in Purgatory.
I have two further thoughts on this matter, thoughts that are in direct opposition to each other.
One: What is everyone so irritated about all the time? When I listen to the things people complain about, being lactose intolerant, or having their car air conditioning break down (both things can be very miserable, I understand), I can't help but think of all the people who have been attacked en masse and marched across great expanses or stuffed onto trains or locked into huts and cells. I hope none of these things ever happens to any of us. But at the rate we're going, if it does, we will be the first to keel over dead during the Baton Death March to whatever is in store for us.
Two: The first hermits were people who just could not maintain their relationship with God while hanging around with other people. They moved onto the desert and when their followers found them there, they moved even further. One moved on top of a tall pole and when that didn't work, he just kept getting a taller pole. These people are all saints.
Ironically, even though they couldn't stand other people, they couldn't stay sane alone. Eventually, these people of like mind formed the first monasteries and convents.
Sister, I am not sure if you have ever discussed 1 John 4:20 before, and if you have please just send me the link to when you did. But if you haven't, can you please help me understand it? I find it very difficult as it seems to me that it should be the complete opposite of what it says. Ie, easier to love God, who has no flaws, than to love people we know whose flaws we know oh too well!
I have not discussed it before. Oddly enough, I seem to have been discussing it today. It's not rocket science, this one. To begin with, let's not take this passage out of context. John has been going on and on about loving your neighbor and your neighbor being made in God's image. So when we get to John 4:20 we could also state it this way:
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar. Yet no one can claim to love God who hates his brother. We cannot love the unseen God when we hate the brother who is in God's image.
No matter how annoying he is.