Monday, December 3, 2012

the unwarranted graces of snort laughs

I'm a shamefully shameless snort laugh-er.
It gets out of control sometimes.  
It's been toned down a lot this semester because I've gotten much more sleep.
 And because I've-grown-up-and-become-more-lady-like, and left behind my childish ways.
Just kidding. I've just gotten more sleep.
But a sleep-deprived Renée will snort laugh at the least little thing that tickles her fancy.
But that's the magical thing about snort laughs.
Snort laughs are a sign of utter lack of control.
You let go of any worries about how you look or sound. You forget yourself: you are just utterly enjoying the moment, you think of yourself not at all.
You just are. Let the others think what they will.
I love snort laughs.

One thing that it's taken me a while to love, just like snort laughs is the Litany of Humility. I've always thought was utter hogwash (snorts, hogs, see what I did there? I decided to keep with the theme). Not really, but like, yes really.

  That others may be loved more than I,
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should

What? What is all that? I thought. This whole language of comparison was getting me in circles. If others become holier than I, then aren't I praying for the last to be first, and once they become first, then aren't I the last, which makes me the first and AHHHHHHHH 
 I couldn't make heads or tails of it. I would throw down the prayer book in frustration and go play Debussy on the piano. Because if you're frustrated and can't make sense of the world, the only thing to do is go play Debussy. Because his music is essentially a lyrical melancholy fairytale incarnate in sound. (Plus also, it's the only piano piece I remember from when I stopped taking piano lessons eight years ago. I hope Miss Lungwitz is proud.)

But then I realized that what I thought was the gloomiest of prayers is actually the giddiest.
The entire prayer should be said laughing.
Because in a world of self-giving love, the language of comparison is just rendered ridiculous and laughable. The prayer, as I see it, illustrates and illuminates that so beautifully by turning the language of comparison upside down.

There is no comparison or competition in self-giving love.
As we attempt to shine our brightest, we should never fear that our own light could ever possibly drown out the light of our neighbor. If you think about it logically, the only rational reaction to the brilliance of another human being is delight.
How funny and peculiar that we too often let the brilliance of another dim our spirits. That's the gloom that the litany pokes fun at.

If all apples were the same, then it might be tolerable to compare apples to apples.
Each apple is a unique creation. It's not even apples to oranges it's like, as a friend of mine is fond of saying, oranges and bananas.
And how silly to think that an oranges' orange-iness detracts from the banana-ness of the banana.

It's called the Communion of Saints, not the Barfight of Saints, for a reason.

As we grow towards sainthood together, all we have to offer is ourselves. Not another person, they will offer that. Our contribution is ourselves. Our journey of becoming, as Danielle Rose sings, the-saint-that-is-just-me, is a unique journey, particular to our unique self.

Love means saying:
“Whatever you want to take from my hands, you may take. Whatever you want to place in my hands, you may place”. --Fr. Frank Quinlivan, C.S.C.
 We proffer our hands to receive what they are given, and to give what is needed to be given.

Our offering, as my friend reminded me this morning, is simply offering who you are and who you have always been. 

Offering who you are and who you have always been. There is neither a simpler nor more painful offering that could be asked of us. Nor could there be a more joyful one.

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