I’m pretty lazy. It’s true. Ask around. I’ve been this way for a long time. If I can find a way to not do something or find a shortcut so I don’t have to work very hard, I’m in. I know this is a character flaw. I know it’s not good. I’m a work in progress. I can honestly say that I’m not as bad as I used to be, though. Marriage and parenthood will do that to you. Still, my kids insist on three meals EVERY DAY and a ride to school, EVERY. DAY.
“JUST KEEP PRESSURE ON IT, HONEY. THE BLEEDING WILL STOP EVENTUALLY! DADDY NEEDS TO FINISH BINGE-WATCHING HOUSE OF CARDS!!”
Ok, so I might be exaggerating a bit. It is true, though, that if I could move through life without having to change or be inconvenienced in any way, I’d probably do it. I’m guessing most of us would do the same. We like things the way they are. The problem is this: There is no way we can develop into the person Christ has called us to be without an openness to growth and a willingness to put in some work.
These past few weeks have been nothing short of astounding. News headlines have included devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, tension with North Korea and Iran, controversial protests surrounding the American Flag and the National Anthem, political infighting, and the horrific shooting incident in Las Vegas, NV. All of these situations are serious. Some of them represent (or have represented) an immediate life-threatening circumstance for those involved. All of them have something else in common, too: Every single one of the headlines mentioned touch (at some level) on some polarizing issue in America. These issues include distribution of taxes, climate change, foreign policy, the role of government, patriotism, racism, systemic injustice, classism, free speech, the struggle for power, gun violence, and mental illness. These are issues we Americans have been wrestling with for a long time. When mentioned in conversation, on social media, or in the news, they reveal a passionate America, at great odds with itself. They are among the most divisive issues of our time, and are a great way to ruin a dinner party.
So, what can be done? How can we even begin so solve some of these problems? Will things ever turn around?
The simple answer is that only God can make things right again. As Christians, we are followers of the Prince of Peace, committed to living Christ’s teachings as revealed through scripture and the Church. In fact, we read in Galatians that the evidence for the presence of the Spirit is ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.’ (excerpt from Galatians 5:22-23). These are the fruits of the Spirit.
So, that’s where we start. We support only what is of God and reject anything else. It’s radical, simplistic, and probably sounds unrealistic, but it worked for Jesus and Mary. Sure, they were perfect, but that’s the goal. Heaven is filled with people who, while not perfect in their earthly life, tried and lived the fruits of the Spirit, like Jesus and Mary. It is possible, but it won’t be easy. I submit that real change will only happen when we, individually and then collectively, open ourselves to God’s will, show a willingness to part ways with (or at least alter) long-held passionate stances, and submit ourselves to the very healthy experience of deconstruction and growth. Only then, will we catch a glimpse of God’s magnificent Kingdom.