"There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him. The task of the shepherd, the task of the fisher of men, can often seem wearisome. But it is beautiful and wonderful, because it is truly a service to joy, to God’s joy which longs to break into the world." - Benedict XVI - Homily at the Mass for the Inauguration of his Pontificate - 24 April 2005

Saturday, May 21, 2011

New sandals


So, I know that one of my characteristics that others might find annoying or odd is that I like to read into ordinary circumstances and pull out some conclusions that give them a deeper meaning. Silly, right? Well that's how I am put together, so if you think it's wierd then go read someone else's blog.

I've had a 50 euro bill in my pocket for a couple of weeks. It had been a principium destined for a much needed pair of sandals. My old ones were killing my back and feet (and legs and ankles.... maybe it's just old-age starting to arrive!), but since my minutes of the day are usually counted and I had no idea which shop to go to I just carried the money around waiting for the shoe-store with the sandals I wanted right in the display case, to just appear from out of thin air. Today I decided that this isn't likely to happen, so I began my search. I started at Termini station where every one in two stores is a shoe store. Only junk. So a go down Via Nazionale, more shoestores, more expensive junk. Then, "Oooh, those are them! - no, too expensive", and again. So I gave up. I resigned myself to the fact that Rome does not have the right shoes for me at the right price, and I dreamed of the Carousel Center where I would certainly be able to find whatever shoe or sandal I wanted (which isn't even true, because a few years ago I went on a wild-goose chase even there while looking for sandals).

So I decided to just go eat lunch and for the moment just put up with my poorly-fitting, flat-soled, flipity-flopity footwear. In the mean time, I took the "back route" to return and there was a nice little shoe store, a little more modest than the others, but much more welcoming. They didn't have many styles, but they had just what I was looking for. So I tried them on and bought them, and hope to live happily ever after (at least for a year or two... if I'm lucky, even longer).

So after my sandal story, everyone already got bored and stopped reading this entry. If you are still with me, that's great because now I'm going to get at what I've been getting at.

Some points in our lives are just like my sandal search. First we wait for the right thing to just fall out of thin-air. That period can be more or less long, depending on the kind of person we are. Some people never get past it, but they will most likely die waiting. Others know that it is completely unproductive but, like me and my sandals, they just don't make time to do anything about the issue. So they go about being busy with many things, trying to forget that their shoes don't fit the way they are supposed to.

When and if it sets in that it is actually necessary to go shopping to find the right "shoes", normally we have no idea where to start. It might be easy, we ask someone who has the shoes we want where he or she found them, and we go get a pair for ourselves. Or we could take the easy road and just buy any old shoes - like them or not - and simply make do. When the "shoes" are life decisions, the first scenario is acceptable but not very exciting and not always guaranteed to work out. The second situation is just plain sad, tragic really. I would catagorize it as giving up on life, ceasing to fight and search, relinquishing the right to desire. I might dare to say that every loss of liberty comes precisely from this - from a "that's just how it is" attitude.

Then it happens that some just look, and look, and look. They are window shoppers, and aren't actually looking to buy anything. They want to keep their options open, don't want to buy anything because then they are stuck with it, and they may discover to not like it. Or another problem, like in my shoe-search, they honestly don't find the right style, fit and price.

This last possibility is most likely the most frightening, because it doesn't depend entirely on us. If I don't find the right sandals, my life will continue, but if I don't find the right path in life then much more is at stake than just my back. If I've searched and tried, gone at it and taken risks and I still find that my toes are pinched, maybe I'm going about it all wrong?

Lastly, just like in my sandal-search, comes the time to surrender and remember that I am a child of the Almighty. He has created me while at the same time creating the perfect pair of sandals for me. They might take a while to dig up, they may need breaking in, they will probably need fixing a few times in my life, they may even need to be changed at some point. The fact is, there are the right sandals out there and they just might turn up when it seems like all is lost.  

At this point, He is the only answer. He can be the only hope and the only promise of true life.

"You will show me the path of life, fulness of joy in your presence. At your right hand happiness forever"