“In all truth I tell you, unless a wheat grain falls into the earth and dies, it remains only a single grain; but if it dies, it yields a rich harvest” (John 12:24).
Recently, I was at a pub having a couple of beers with a co-worker, enjoying the opportunity to get to know him a bit better in a context that wasn’t a noisy woodshop. I was telling him about my faith and my life, and how a guy who’d gone to college to be a protestant minister wound up a Roman Catholic stuck working in a woodshop. My co-worker remarked at a comment that I made somewhere in my various anecdotes that I really don’t belong where I am, and that I should be doing something else.
As I’ve written in the past on this blog, I’ve struggled with this very easy conclusion that somewhere my life has taken a wrong turn or something, and that I’m not where I should be in life. I’ve joked in the past with my best friend and fellow convert, that if we were still Pentecostals, we could be raking in the dough as televangelists or something. In our desire for the truth and our obedience to that truth, though, the consequences seem to mean not being where we always thought we should be in life. At Mass yesterday, the deacon who was preaching the homily talked about how we all tend to have dreams, and very often, we reach a point in our life where we realize that our dreams will never be fulfilled in the way we’d hoped. This realization is what causes that “midlife crisis” so many go through. The deacon made the point that at this moment of crisis, we can desperately cling to that dream and take drastic, unreasonable steps to try to achieve it, or at least something that resembles it—which leads to anger, resentment, and depression—or we can let the dream die, and in so doing, be able to move on and truly bear fruit in our lives. When we abandon ourselves to divine providence in this way, we open ourselves up to God’s mysterious action in our lives, and truly make ourselves conduits of grace for others.
I’ve been blessed to see this truth in my own life on many occasions—the most recent of which was that very beer shared with my co-worker. For you see, we were killing time after work before I took him to an appointment with the associate priest at my parish. My co-worker was going to his first Confession in over twenty years.
No, I’m certainly not where I thought I’d be; but I know I’m exactly where I should be!
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