Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Greater Good

Sometimes I forget what is really, truly important in life. We all do. It happens. We get caught up in the small mundanalities of living, and forget to spend much time contemplating "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable" (Phil 4:8).

But sometimes it hits me over the head - what the real goal is. Who I am really trying to please. What is absolutely, finally important.

If in the end, I please God, everything else is right.  If in the end, I am so busy chasing my tail to please everyone else (including myself), nothing -NOTHING - is right.

That is what St. Augustine meant in his famous quote from The Confessions - "You have formed us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you."

 Of course, it always comes down to the greatest juxtaposition - how to live in the world without being of the world. In other words, how to truly be present to those around us, how to understand the world and the things of this world without becoming absorbed in them. Without getting sucked in and forgetting, losing sight of that greater vision of what is true and pure and worthy.

My children are what keep me grounded on both sides.They certainly keep me in the world. Trying to figure out how to feed and clothe them, how to teach them social graces, how to navigate through life. I become firmly turned towards how to work in and with the world. Ask me about Spongebob Squarepants, Star Wars, computer games, Wii games, the proper use of the adjective "beast" in a sentence (as in, "Hey man, did you get the level up in Pokemon HeartGold? Awesome! That is so beast!") - I can totally do that.
I can also blend in a crowd, watch Modern Family, and get information off of Slate, Yahoo, and Mental Floss. I can so do the world thing. Sometimes too well.

But my children also help turn my head back towards the good and pure. Their innocence, their purity, their honest goodness. The very act of struggling to find the right way to raise four boys into good, strong men of character finds me falling to my knees at night.

Even still, I forget. I lose my way.

Not completely. I never forget God is God, but I often forget to give Him His due.


This is the lesson I am trying to absorb this week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! For your perspective and for writing about it so meaningfully!