Tuesday, 3 February 2009

A time for reflection- let it snow

For the last two days I have been existing in a strange London where everything was forced to a standstill on Monday. So I haven't had much to blog about. No big red buses, few tubes and a lot of snow. We don't cope with heavy snow here in Britain and the last couple of days have proved that. However, it is no bad thing to stop moving for a little while and watch the world. I admit to feeling strange and a little frustrated that I couldn't get into work but I have come out of it refreshed.

Do we live in a society that keeps moving because we are afraid to standstill and look ourselves in the face? Maybe. I know there are lots of other reasons people were irritated- we all have things to do and losing money in the current financial crisis is unpleasant. However, there does seem to be a fear in people that they won't be able to control things and make things happen the way they want

Maybe the snow brought some humility to London this week. We like to think we are in control of everything in our lives including life itself. We can stop it and start it when we like. Yet this is merely delusion and it is possible that events like this, small and seemingly insignificant as they are, bring this fact uncomfortably close to home. If a little snow can put our plans to waste then what else might be out there?

I think that in the end we have to learn one simple thing; of course we have free will and God allows us to make our choices but in the end we are not in control of the great mysteries that touch our lives. To accept that is to admit that before God we are small but that doesn't make us worthless - on the contrary it makes us all the more valuable. To admit this is to be touched by a little humility. Most saints were able to see and understand this clearly. They allowed God to work fully in their lives because they knew they had value and they wanted to share that value. They accepted they didn't know everything.

When I was in Africa I didn't see any snow but each person I spoke to had a belief in some greater power, not always the same power or a power they took time to worship - but a God. Why? Because in certain villages not being able to get where you want and being subject to the elements is every day life. You can get malaria, your children can be taken from you by a disease we can cure easily in the west, you can find your things washed away and there is no ambulance or police service at your door. You know you are not in control. I am not suggesting this is always a nice thing but that perhaps adopting some of that humility might see us a long way.

In a week it will be the 11th of February when the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes occurs. This is the anniversary of the first apparition to St. Bernadette - a silent apparition. This time 151 years ago saint Bernadette was going about her life unawares of how it was about to change and the grace she was going to receive(FROM BARTRES). Part of what amazes and inspires me about her is her willingness to accept the will of God even though she knew from the outset she "would not be happy in this life". She accepted each part of her life with love and grace. Equally John Paul II (TOTUS TUUS ), Thomas More, Karl Leisner (Inspirations on a Sunday - Part I ), Edith Stein.....pretty much any saint you can think of. We are not in control but this is not limiting it is liberating because we are in control of how we confront our lives, how react and interact with the situations we face and how we speak to speak to God.


Joyful Days said...

I want to just blame it on this generation, this culture thinking they are "in control." But truly it has been a thought of every generation. I wonder if the lesson will ever be learned.

But, as you say, it is liberating to acknowledge our lack of control and just focus on our response.



SQUELLY said...

You are quite right- I think it is a general human condition. Perhaps we just have a slightly more severe dose because we actually can control things a little better due to science and technology.

Tracy said...

What a wonderfully thoughtful post.. thank you!!


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