PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Friday, August 04, 2006

 

Joy is the word


"Joy (and gratitude) is the word, not complaints, not even contentment."

"The key to contentment," our parish priest explained, "is to look at life this way: Whoever, whatever, wherever we are in life is God's grand design for our salvation. If we are not as wealthy as we wanted us to be, it may be because we might become too materialistic for our own good. If not as good-looking, because we might become too vain. If not as famous, because we might be too incompetent to handle fame. If not as intelligent, because we might become arrogant."

This sounds to me a grand escape-goat not to improve our lot in life, but come to think of the time we tampered with God's grand design to save us, and take a look at the catastrophic results.

We could think of it this way: If other people may be wealthier, better-looking, more famous and more intelligent than us, perhaps it's because they have been equipped with the means to handle their own personal circumstance.

I am personally convinced by this otherwise sweeping generalization, based on my own observations. There are wealthy people who are actually detached from material wealth. There are physically stunning people who are similarly unaffected. There are famous people whose fame means nothing to them, at least not the way it means to nobodies like us. There are intelligent people who manage to keep their feet on the ground and have a heart eager to serve the less privileged or less endowed.

This is another way of saying that poor people can in fact be very materialistic, plain lookers very vain, 'nobodies' trying very hard as wannabes or social climbers, and not-so-smart ones dying to make an impression by passing themselves off foolishly as annoying know-it-alls. If I am privy to all these, it is because - you guessed it - I have been somewhat guilty.

My personal belief is to strive in life and if we have done our best, then let's leave the rest to God. If things are meant to be, they will fall into place without us lifting a finger. If not, then God has a better plan - and it is definitely not handing the consolation prize. I suspect this belief is held by a lot of people, but I'm also sure there are many among us who would rather not surrender and thus live and die as cynics, always grumbling about our lot, always wondering about what could have been till our last dying breath.

We are where we are, who we are and what we are in life for our own good. The right attitude, the priest suggested, is not just one of contentment, not just one of trust, but one of joy and gratitude. We should trust that God knows better, nay, God knows best. Why should we question God's wisdom? We should thank Him constantly instead that He didn't allow us to become what we shouldn't be, or else we would have lost sight of Him early on in the journey, or else we would have lost our way Home.

8.20.2000


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