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I had a friend at work yell at me a couple times last week. His displeasure toward me was expected since I was making some decisions with which he disagreed, and he has strongly partisan opinions with a forcing/explosive personality. I am vulnerable to his intimidation because of my people-pleasing tendency, generally wanting to avoid confrontation. But at least in this vignette I rejoiced that I seem to have outgrown some of my immaturity. Seeing him blinded by his passion and self-thinking, I felt like Jean Valjean: “The bereavement and misfortune of others attracted him, because of his great gentleness.”

Although I reminded my friend of truth when he verbalized clear distortions, I did not press the points preferring for him to feel like he was listened to and vent his emotion, for he was not open at all to listening to reason. Reason “proves weak or untrue” for all of us, and let the most obvious pitiful examples such as these outbursts remind us all of our vulnerability to self-rationalization that greases our skid through life without the friction of examining the bare state of our own soul. Such examination is tiresome, troublesome, and never ending. So even though I was gratified both personally and publicly in the conflict by taking the high road of gentleness without abdication of truth, even now I can see the host of my mind’s selfish reinforcements settling around the campfire of my soul to celebrate the trophy that seems so rightfully won, awarded and treasured. Tis easier to skim God’s glory in a moment of victory than in shameful defeat – to take a break from tiresome and troubling and never-ending.

Rather let me glory in His Glory. That I get to run with the team, and He has me experiencing gentle compassion, not selfishly celebrating, but looking steadily to to that eternal home which infuses verve for the works of selfless love.

“With his eyes raised to heaven, he listened with a sort of aspiration toward all the mysteries of the infinite, to these sad voices, which sink upon the brink of the dark abyss of death.”

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