With a little help from my friends…and one Catholic saint


I have had a difficult life and I have always questioned why but then as I grew, I stopped questioning it and devoted myself to looking for the good, no matter how small amongst the difficulties. I have striven to provide encouragement to others and deal with people in a good way no matter how unpleasant they are for it is easy to love others when they are pleasant to us but we are called to love one another even when someone is at their least lovable. Even if that love is never acknowledged… Love anyway. Is someone treating you badly? Find the good in them and love them anyway. You might have to set boundaries to love yourself, because Jesus doesn’t expect us to be a doormat, but love the sinner. Pray for them. Forgive constantly. Little things done with great love especially acts that are ignored or never seen are particularly precious to Christ. A smile. Holding a door open. A random act of kindness.

I know the way and I try to love and I am often disappointed when I am not loved in return or it seems the love I give is taken for granted or ignored altogether as unimportant. That is my ego getting in the way because I want or expect to get something in return but life doesn’t always play fair. Love isn’t wasted even if it is not reciprocated. It isn’t unimportant or insignificant to God and sometimes that is my only consolation. The lesson of course is to not focus on me but focus outward on others.

I am so far away from what I wish to be in God. I have trouble managing my temper, I don’t take criticism well. I should take it in silence but I don’t. I can be opinionated. It is a struggle being decent to others who treat you like you don’t matter. But it is the right thing to do, make these little sacrifices–love those and show kindnesses to those who don’t deserve them, sacrifice your wants for someone else’s needs, suffer in silence without complaint. I believe in this I have the help of St Therese of Lisieux who came to me while I was in the midst of loving someone who did not love me and who spent an extraordinary amount of time daily showing me how little they loved me. I suffered so badly I couldn’t take it anymore after three months so I prayed for help and deliverance and on the floor beside me in this decidedly non Catholic household was a St Therese medal with roses on the back. I had to look up who she was because I was not Catholic.

When I found out her “little way,” which was precisely what I was enduring , trying to love some one who not only had zero understanding of the concept but who could not return it, I understood immediately I was not alone or invisible to God. If no one else could see my love or accept it He could. He also loved me and does, despite my many failings, and so I do not have to worry about perfection in this life for God loves us the way we are right now and we can show Christ to everyone through little kindnesses and random acts of love that may go unnoticed by others but make a difference to the one you are doing it for and God. Be kind without making a big deal about it. Find the good in suffering or as I like to say find the silver lining. Don’t complain all the time because complaining makes you blind to your blessings and we all have blessings every day.

I keep a gratitude journal to stay positive and I endeavor to always encourage others and be positive around others. I get a lot of help and positive reinforcement from my friends who have been hard won. I lost many people who were friends in name only and when I needed help or a friendly face were nowhere to be found and uninterested in keeping in touch. I was devastated when I discovered a friend really wasn’t a friend. I took it personally and believed something was wrong with me or I had done something wrong. I had to learn I am not everyone’s cup of tea and become less sensitive to rejection and criticism. For these things focus us inward and too much inward thinking makes us selfish.

The friends I have now are a positive force in my life and I hope I am a positive force in theirs. They help me to achieve more and be more and support my faith even if theirs is different. They accept me for who I am and I hope I accept them for who they are amd I try to be encouraging and positive for them.

My life may have been or may be difficult but…others suffer more than I. I look around and see so much pain and anger and suffering and loneliness in others and it hurts me to know others live in such a loveless state. In a society that is predicated on selfishness and fulfillment of the individual over being part of a community it is easy to see that such a focus on individualism breeds selfishness and self love and greed, while the poor are ridiculed for being poor and called lazy, despite poor economies that force two parents to work, or circumstances that create single mothers or single fathers, where poverty is considered by the upper classes as a moral failing, and so the upper classes use this to justify overlooking the less fortunate. The excuse that the poor take advantage of the rest of us is a poor excuse too. It portrays the poor as swindlers which they are not. Christ told us to love one another and help the widow and orphan and the poor.

On the other hand I see those who brag about how much they give and this too is selfish self aggrandizement. I too am a part of this society and still am learning to be less selfish myself so I understand the struggle and that many do not realize what they do.

So I get by with a little help from my friends, God, and one Catholic saint. They have given me a most interesting life in which I have received many tangible and non tangible blessings, been a lot of places in the world, and been given many opportunities to show love to others even if it has largely been unreturned. My pain at not being loved in return is a sacrifice given in the service of love and that pain doesn’t matter half so much as loving does.

Love matters. Its the love that matters. I am glad I have loved those I have loved. They needed someone to love them even if they did not understand it or return it.

So love anyway.

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