Tuesday, November 1, 2016

quarter-life crisis beatitudes

Last week, around this time on Monday evening, I lay awake in my bed, wondering: how long until my knees stop working? When will I experience back pain so debilitating I can barely walk? How long will this 20-20 vision keep up?

And other thoughts like: how is it that I am still in school, while friends are married with babies? Why am I twenty-five and in the middle of god-forsaken Indiana when I could be in New York? What am I doing with my life when some friends' careers take them traipsing around Dublin, Abu Dhabi, and San Francisco? How have I not been to as many weddings as she has? Will I ever make a salary?

Then I woke up and turned twenty-five on Tuesday. And was hit by the full force of the fact that those are the only first twenty-five years of life I get. There's no re-doing the first quarter of my life (assuming this is the first quarter, and not the first half, or the first two-thirds); what I've made is what I've got.

Somedays, I sit in church, feeling the ring of nutella-fat around my waist that's bulging over my jeans, feeling the scab on my chin from (again) fretting at the same blemish, and feeling utterly immune to grace.

Blessed are those who desire these things.

The beatitudes, Fr. David suggested in mass, are perhaps not a checklist of actions and outcomes, of achievements and rewards, but are a roadmap for our desires. The person who desires peace will keep seeking peace, and eventually find it, in their imitation of the perfect Son, becoming, like Him, a child of the Father. The person who desires to be meek: to temper their anger with gentleness, and offer up justice for grace will find that their kingdom has expanded from their own sorry little perspective to the entire world.

Blessed are those who can desire happiness, not of others' devising, but of their own making. And blessed is she who can stay true to that happiness, even in moments of difficulty. For she will never compare her lives with others, and be content with what has borne fruit in her life, and what has been left undone.

For the person who desires to change, grace promises that they will.
Grace promises that we will grow. That there's a constant invitation to happiness that is being extended to us, that we can ceaselessly attempt to accept. And if we do not, the invitation is still there. 

Grace means I think to myself: I will not let this scab return. I will not fret at the blemish on my skin. This is the last time I will see this scab.

And in two months, when this scab is back, grace says that there is always next time. And so it will continue, until finally grace breaks through; and one day the scab disappears.


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