Sunday, March 12, 2017

When?

Sophie's mom writes:

I don't think I'll write much.
She's starting to lose her hair.
It's real.

Three lines.
All it takes.

Reminds me of Hemingway's famous three lines: For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

Unexpectedly, I'm handed a check for Sophie. I don't want to look at the amount, as I don't want to seem greedy. Though I am greedy for Sophie. I thank the donor and walk it to my purse, slip on my glasses and see the amount: $1000. I start to cry. I never expected such a generous amount from this person. I rush back to her, hug her and thank her for the huge check.

She responds, "Well I can't eat it, I don't have many bills to pay, and they need the money more than me." Which translates to me, It's sitting in the bank, let's put it to good use.

I chatted with an old friend who was collecting household items for an incarcerated woman who was about to be let out of jail. The middle aged woman had been accepted to college and my friend was helping to furnish her college apartment.

The old friend had made a life shift from a corporate position with a nice car, clothes, etc, to doing pro bono work for people in need. I noticed right away she was driving an old car and wondered if material wealth and goods no longer mattered because she saw the greater needs and the greater joy of helping people.

When will I love people more than I love the money set aside to remodel the master bath, my car, my  house? When will I have enough faith to let go? To consider the lilies of the field?

Tears. Desire. It's a start.

Gotta start somewhere.

In Luke 18, we read of the ruler who asks Jesus, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" The Savior lists the crucial commandments, and the ruler can vouch for his accordance to every last one he has kept since his youth. But the Savior has more in store for the ruler than just keeping the commandments: Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. The ruler shirks from his call.

We the readers assume the man is lost except to the pages of history as a bad example for loving money more than people.

I see a different twist. Yes, the ruler lost the immediate opportunity of a lifetime~~ to have joined with the Savior in real time~~but I imagine him overtime, slowly shedding his attachment to the security of his money. He will ponder his encounter, he will shed tears; he will regret and give and give until he has given all.  His blessings will come as one of the last laborers.

The dramatic conversion is rare. Few people have angelic calls to repent; more often it is the accumulation of time and experience that slowly propel us forward into the ability and inclination to think of others more than ourselves. The climb to sainthood is a Matterhorn not a rolling Scottish hill covered in heather.

Or maybe, like the ruler who couldn't let go of his riches to benefit the poor, I too am lying to myself about the greater worth, about the time it takes to adjust to the Lord's call, about letting go of shiny trinkets for heavenly treasure gained from sharing abundance now.