Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Morning Meditation #115: About Misery

Good golly, it is closer to Monday evening than Monday morning. This morning I was completely exhausted and zonked out in my hotel bed, which, just a tad earlier, I was certain that I would never see. Because we had a "security concern" on my plane from San Jose (turns out to be the guy sitting right in front of me and with whom I had exchanged some pleasant words -- pretty sure he was not really a security concern and even the police who removed him said after the fact that there had been no real problem but nonetheless he would not be allowed to fly that day), I missed my connection in Phoenix, which caused me to miss my connection in Charlotte, which, in turn, caused me to arrive in Fayetteville significantly after midnight. I had planned to take a cab, but there was no cab in sight. I called the All American cab company, whose card was at the taxi post (but no person was there). The dispatcher said he had no intention of sending a cab to the airport -- too far, too late. I found the number of Currie cab whose dispatcher promised to send someone and gave me a number to call if no one showed up in ten minutes. No one showed up in ten minutes, so I called that number, which, it turns out, was the number for Yellow Cab. By then, it was getting quite late, and everyone had left the airport except me. Yellow Cab promised to send a cab in 10-15 minutes. None arrived. I called back and was told another 5 minutes. After three more calls and being told "any minute" now, one finally arrived. The police officer who was supposed to lock up the airport an hour earlier kindly waited with me until the cab arrived. I reached the hotel at 2:00 in the morning, only to get up and find the person I was to meet missing. It turns out I was at the wrong hotel! So, I had to pack up and move out to another hotel. I think everything is back on track now. (I hope.)

Anyway, I finally (quite late) was able to settle in and read further in  Micah. Moving into Chapter 7, I had to laugh when I found the following written:
1 What misery is mine!
I am like one who gathers summer fruit
   at the gleaning of the vineyard;
there is no cluster of grapes to eat,
   none of the early figs that I crave. 
After relating that litany of "misery" and then reading the verse about "misery," I had to admit that my life, by comparison to what befell the Israelis (even if admittedly through their own fault much of the time), is full of joy, not misery. After all, I did find a cab (was not left abandoned or on foot), and I did find a bed (albeit at the wrong hotel).

Reading: Micah 7:1

Meditation: I am going to move away from the literal text of Micah and reflect on my position as an American. Times are difficult, especially economically, in the United States, and while I have not been affected as severely as most people, my friends, family, and I have not been left untouched. Still, it is a matter of degree and of comparison, as well as of expectation. Most Americans (with some exceptions) are in better shape than people in some of the third-world countries I have visited. Yet, it seems that it is human nature to want more than we have and to blame God for not taking care of us when our lot in life changes. (Makes one think of Job and how he continued to praise God, no matter what. That is hard to do, isn't it?)

I have been worried about two friends who recently have ended up in financially difficult situations. Both strong believers, they have seen their faith tested by this unexpected, rapid, and severe reverse in fortunes. I would like to be able to help them, but they have pulled away from those with faith and have indicated a desire to "handle" their situation on their own. Not knowing whether or not they are serious about being alone, I have pushed a little in both cases, only to be repulsed. So, I do the best thing I can do: I pray for them.

Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to praise God for being with us even when we do not know it or will not accept it, even when we blame Him for troubles that He never caused. I will thank God for giving us challenges for it is through meeting and overcoming challenges that we grow. I will, of course, also Him to be with my friends and to repent for any times I may have caused Him sorrow by blaming Him for any of my sorrow. Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.

I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:

Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)

For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.

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