Thursday, October 28, 2010

(Will &) Grace

I have written somewhere on this blog about Thomas Acquinas' belief that sin is misdirected love.  I love this definition because it does two things for me.

First, it shines a light on the dark parts of my heart.  Parts that I would not notice if I were just thinking of sin in terms of the usual lists.

Second, it softens my heart toward itself.  It increases my compassion for me, a form of compassion that is often sorely lacking in my life.

Here's how this worked for me just this week.

Tuesday night was hard.  I had spent the afternoon alone, and all of my fears were triggered by some truly severe weather warnings and watches.  When I am fearful, it is easy for me to jump to anger.

I picked up Marcy from a friend's house and proceeded to ruin our evening.  (Now, Marcy would not like that language right there, but it's shorthand and it works without giving too much detail.)

Somehow these explosions of emotion disregulation always lead to learning.  If you are aware and can watch it from the inside, you can glean a lot of important information.  This is when leaps can happen.

Normally after one of my episodes, I am filled with shame, and Marcy has been trying to help me see that this response is unnecessary.  That there is nothing for me to be ashamed of.  That I do not DO this on purpose.  That I am working hard to overcome so much.

Wednesday before heading off to the college where I teach writing, I went to daily Mass.

And as I knelt and listened, I heard some things.

It became apparent to me in a way it never has before that I am screaming "NO!" to life when I repress fear and allow it to grow into anger.

This life is beautiful...all of it, and it deserves a hearty "YES!" at every turn.

It also became crystal clear that I am denying the vast and deep love that is in my life when I do not open myself to exploring and expressing my fears as soon as they arise.

I am denying Marcy the opportunity to love me through the fear and thus past the anger.

I am misdirecting love.  And the word sin does not only NOT bother me but it seems completely fitting in these situations.

The word sin does not make me feel badly; it makes me want to do better and to be stronger and more courageous -- to assert my powerful Will.  It tells me that there is something else toward which I can work, from which I can derive what I need, for in every thing there is its opposite and its solution and in this case that would be Grace.

So now I kneel and I ask for Grace and Courage and a Trusting and Open Heart, and as I ask, I can feel it happening. I can feel the softening. I can feel that light shining in my dark.  I can feel love directing...


Heather Plett said...

All I can think of to say is... AMEN!

LauraX said...

Hi Christine, first "I am screaming "NO!" to life when I repress fear and allow it to grow into anger." Love what you said here. This is such a wise insight. Second, I wanted to share that in Hebrew, the word that gets translated into "sin" in English is cheit. The literal translation is more like "missing the mark" as in an arrow that does not hit the target it was directed at. I think this is a similar teaching. Often when we act out in anger it was triggered by fear and the fear was triggered by dearly wanting to protect someone or something we LOVE desperately...and so in trying to do the mamma bear protection thing we sling our arrow of love and it misses the mark and comes out as anger or aggression.

YOU are working so hard. Listening deeply. I am so proud of you and your focused intention to heal.

gentle steps dear one

Anonymous said...

Hi. Thank you for this post. I feel like it is speaking directly to me, as just yesterday I exploded with anger on my boyfriend about another friend of ours that has been passive aggressively gossiping about me behind my back for months now, that I had to visit yesterday. I left his house in a fit because I had to go and "be phony" with her again. I should have just told him, "hey, want to go get some coffee before I head over to the beast's? I need to talk" instead. That would have been a lot more graceful.
Thank you for your posts.
I ordered 'element ballet conditioning' through netflix and I am in LOVE with it. Thank you for suggesting it.
Take care!

Renae C said...

Simply beautiful Christine. Sin & Will & Grace.... what a profound look at all of these. Wishing you as much love as your newly opening heart can hold - and more.

Naomi Colb said...

Thank you for this brilliant insight into my own process!!