by Cara Ruegg
Drip…drop…drip…we are that tiny drop of water being immersed in that great stretch of Ocean, in that deep, unfathomably loving heart of God. At least, we are meant to be, but how often do we forget to forget ourselves? How often do we try, instead, to make ourselves out to be a god — to be the ocean even though, in ourselves, we are nothing? We are not even that speck of water without Him.
We forget to forget ourselves, to lose ourselves in Him. We don’t have Him beside us throughout our day. Maybe He’s there in the morning, as we mumble a morning offering while fumbling with clothes and heating up water for much-needed coffee. But once we jump out that door and start our day, do we remember? Do we continue to unite ourselves to Him? Of course, we can’t be expected to actually think of Him at all moments since our minds have to otherwise be engaged, but where are our hearts? If they were really with Him, we probably wouldn’t be so troubled when a moment arose and we had to choose between ourselves and our neighbor, or even ourselves and Him.
So often we get caught up in our own lives, in our own troubles, in our own sufferings, skills, abilities, expectations, we forget to be kind, to see things through someone else’s eyes. We show our impatience, our disappointment, our anger so easily. We say to ourselves, ‘why is this person complaining so much? I have so many other crosses and look at them complaining. Do they really expect me to care?’ We forget about Our Lord who hung on that cross, blood streaming down His face; He did not forget the poor thief beside Him; He did not forget us just because His day wasn’t going so great. He sacrificed Himself. How often do we sacrifice ourselves? How often do we put aside our own crosses to help someone else with theirs even if it seems so much smaller than our own? We are talented. We see people who lack our talent, who are reaching for the stars but just can’t seem to actually touch them. We grow impatient. How can this person be so disorganized, so clueless, so frazzled, so weak? We criticize them and tell them, more or less, they can’t reach those stars, they don’t have the talent, the skill, the ability. We don’t always recognize it when we do, but so often we do, and maybe not even to them but to us, in our own heads, we constantly are judging people around us for not being good enough. And it’s true, they are lacking, but we are too.
So often we deal with people the way we think best, which may not be the way that is best for them. For instance, we may be too critical with a person who does not grow when told all the “don’ts” but will quickly grow when encouraged and motivated and believed in. We forget that not everybody is us, that some people learn differently, have different talents and skills, and that, while it’s true there is natural talent and some have more or less of it, most skills can still be taught and honed regardless of the lack of foundation.
Let us try to forget ourselves, to let ourselves become that drop of water immersed in God. Once we do that, we will find ourselves being kinder, more patient, more willing to help others and turn away from our narcissism and pride; we will find ourselves much, much happier.