Thursday, November 15, 2007

Survivor's Guilt

O.K., I'm starting to come to terms with this whole priest deal. But here's something that's been on my mind: Survivor's guilt. There were three people in my discernment group who got a recommendation for the priesthood and there were four who did not. Now, the seven of us were in the fire together so it feels weird, here, on the other side. We all met for beers and pizza the other night and it was awkward as hell. What was once so easy and free, our conversation(we were all so scared, together) was stitled. I felt that everything I said, answers to questions, was gloating and pompous.

But this is part of that going out on a limb, that was hidden until now. Your going to make friends with these people, you will bear your soul to them and they to you. Some will get what they were after, some won't, and who knows how you'll feel. Most oif this is probably in my head, but I can't help but think that I'd be a little bitter if I hadn't received a yes.

Maybe this is where the grace lies, a realization that everything that I have is given as a gift. Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, he's like a Bishop for the Orthodox Church, talks about this a little in his book Beginning to Pray. We have to simultaneously hold two divergent concepts in order to see our place before God. One is that we have nothing, we hold onto nothing, we possess nothing. This is sel evident if you think about it for a second. Meditation is a good tool for learning this lesson. The other concept is exsistance is a gift from God, the things that we appear to have are blessings from God, to help us in this life.

For me this is a wonderful paradigm to think about because it at once allows us to be grateful for the things and people around us but also be detached from them as the source of our happiness.

How did I get from survivor's guilt to here? Oh yeah. When I got the yes recommendation my father in law was visiting, he congratulated me and said that I must have done a good job to get it. My wife corrected him and said it's not what you do it's who you are. This hit me like a 2X4 up the head. Nothing I could have done would have gotten me the recommendation. Maybe this was an actual call for God.

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