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...