C'est la Vie or C'est la Mort?
If you choose, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice. He has placed before you fire and water; stretch out your hand for whichever you choose. Before each person is life and death, and whichever one chooses will be given. - Sirach 15.15-21
When talking about a serendipitous turn of events in my life not too long ago a friend said, "It's nice when it works." It is nice when it works and of course the implication in such a comment is that much of the time "it" doesn't. The potential career change didn't pan out when the interviews didn't confirm a good fit and someone else was chosen for the job. The project didn't come together as planned. Much of the time the things we hope for don't pan out so it is very nice when they do.
I sat down this morning to write a simple Daily Cup about church yesterday - about what a lovely service it was and how everything seemed to come together. That doesn't always happen either, and when it does it's not always the result of planning, per se. It just happens and it's nice when it does. But as for the Cup? After some thought it wasn't going to work.
A simple Daily Cup about what a nice service we had yesterday doesn't take into account that while yesterday's services may have felt lovely to me others may have had a completely different experience. In fact, after church I learned that one grieving parishioner was upset because a late submission to the prayer list over the weekend - regarding a terrible loss - didn't make it into the Prayers of the People. I called the parishioner later in the day.
Expectations are cruel beasts. So often they defy us. I've noticed that on some church websites there's a tab that will read something like "What to Expect." In clicking on those tabs and reading the explanatory notes none of them indicated that when coming to church for worship we might be disappointed. That the church will, from time to time, let us down.
On the bulletin board over my desk I have a quote from Carlos Castaneda: "The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” That, in combination with being happy when things do occasionally work out, isn't a bad recipe for navigating life in a world that is radically unpredictable and often defies our expectations in ways that leave us at a loss.
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Christ Jesus our Lord; and may the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always.