February 12 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

9-CONSCIENCE

It is not easy learning to let go and let God

We must accept ourselves with all our faults and failings, but we can, and must, strive to grow up, says SR ROSEANN REDDY

The system in writing these few words every month is that they have to be written well in advance of the actual date on which they will be published. As you can imagine, this can present a problem. I write of crisp, warming, spring weather, which you then read in a Baltic snow storm; I write of snowdrops and daffodils popping up their little heads, while you look out on frost shoving their little heads right back down again —you get the picture.

This thought made me reflect upon how transient things are in our modern world, how quickly time goes by and yet, at the heart of life, most things—the really important things—don’t ever change much at all.

A bit of reader participation here: how many of you have already said, ‘I can’t believe that’s January over already! It seems like only yesterday I was putting the Christmas tree up?’ I do it all the time and I know I’m not alone. I’m already speculating that no sooner will this month’s hearts and roses be consigned to the bargain bins than next month’s shamrocks and leprechauns will be bouncing about, sprinkled with Easter eggs (lest we forget the next big commercial opportunity coming our way). Admit it, you do it too. I can hear you all now, ‘Easter eggs in February?—Ridiculous!’ And you’re right.

Amid all the commercialism which seems to surround every aspect of our lives, from seasons to sport, from birthdays to death, there is, I think, a real human story—we look for order and process, we like times and seasons. All of the events of our human existence give a rhythm to our lives and for most of us, these things, these occasions, matter. Even if we don’t go over the top about it (as seems to be the order of the day), most of us will celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, feasts and festivals, and most of the time we will celebrate with others. These times are a good excuse to get together and, let’s face it, if convention didn’t force us to do a bit of ‘family visiting’ etc. there would be people from whom we would simply drift away and never see from one year end to the next. Seasons and celebration have their uses.

We human beings are very simple on one hand, and yet very complex on the other. It is hard to get relationships right. We all struggle with duty and desire, with intentions and reality. We all have shades of light and darkness within us, and it’s interesting how these come into focus when dealing with one another, both as best friends and as strangers.

In my experience, it’s much easier to be kind and understanding towards a stranger than it is to give the same consideration and understanding to those closest to us, and I’m sure many of you share the same experience. I consider myself a reasonably kind and generous person. When dealing with other people I try to look at the situation from their point of view. I try to compensate for their loneliness and fear, for their anxiety and confusion, and most of the time I manage to pull it off, at least on the surface, while I smile, reassure, counsel, encourage and support. It’s just underneath the surface, in the ‘dark side,’ where I mumble, ‘Eejits’ and ‘What’s wrong with these people?’ and ‘Who do they think I am?’ and ‘How dare they?’ and so on. It’s there that my true colours often shine through and sober me up entirely, and it’s then that I’m struck, time and time again, by the fragility of our human existence and the need for mercy and gentleness both towards ourselves and others.

What, I hear you mumble, has this to do with times and seasons, with the patterns and pace of life? Well, everything really. My point is that it’s important first of all to know and accept ourselves with all our faults and failings, but also to realise that we can, and must, always strive to grow up, to get over these things which keep our spirits down, which sadden and disappoint us but which we should never allow to overwhelm us.

The wisdom of a daily examination of conscience and then of regular confession of our sins is what ultimately saves us from despair. It’s what saves us from ourselves when we look at our many failings. I really can see progress: now, at least, I manage to keep all the mumblings I previously mentioned under the surface. I’ve learned to become kinder and less judgemental. I’ve learned to try and understand situations and people better and that which I struggle to understand I just give over to acceptance. I just let it go.

I don’t now need to fight every battle either within myself or with others. I’ve become content with just accepting things as they are and realising that often the thing that needs to change most is me—in both my attitude and my actions.

 

It has been an incredible insight for me to just literally let go and, you know where this is heading, let God. I know it can seem very trite to say ‘let go and let God’ but actually it’s no easy thing to do. In fact it can be very difficult to do, especially when you’re someone who all your life has taken charge, has been a fixer upper, a solver of problems, a doer.

What I’ve come to realise is that I can still be all of these things; I can still be honest, true and be myself, but without the need to prove something, or always be right or in control.

It’s just a case of being more aware and more merciful. So I hope you, like me, will take a little time this month as the great season of Lent begins, to think, pray and act on those areas of your life where you need to accept things as they are, where you need to let go and let God.

 

—Sr Roseann Reddy of the The Sisters of the Gospel of Life.

https://gospeloflifesisters.wordpress.com/

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