February 26, 2017
“Do not worry about your life.” (Mt 6:25)
What is the real source of worry, of anxiety?
For me at least, it is not food, clothing or material possessions, but the pressure to succeed, to achieve, to get things done, and thereby to gain approval. I work hard to be what I think I should be, what those around me seem to want me to be, what God seems to want me to be.
My idol is not Mammon, but Oscar. Like the little statuette, my unreal image of myself is strong, beautiful, perfectly formed, gleaming gold and much coveted. But it only makes up a fraction of full human stature.
Will the real God please stand up! Will he make his real desires known! What does God want, really? How does he see me, really? If I could live under that life-giving gaze, I believe I wouldn’t be either so exacting of myself on the one hand, or so self-indulgent on the other. I do push myself beyond reason to gain approval and avoid the fearful reproach that hovers at the edge of my field of vision. And I do seek secret compensation for self-imposed servitude in the form of wasted time, accumulated resentments and a failure to open the door to other people and their real needs.
Who am I, Lord? What is my real identity?
“Consider the milkweed, how it grows. Its gnarled grey pods point this way and that. Broken open, they have spilled their close-guarded contents to the four winds, to be carried to some unknown patch of earth. They stand empty now, like forests of open hands, with gold-leafed insides out.
Do not worry about your life, it is held and given. It is taken by the wind to sow new life in an unknown patch of earth. You stand broken open and empty, your inner beauty revealed. Do not hide the palms of your hands, the lining of your soul. Some frightened thing may wish to nestle there.”
And who are you?