ISSUES OF FAITH: Examine your life for some equilibrium

Take a step back and forward can change our perspective in meaningful ways.

PERSPECTIVE CAN BE a great thing, though it is not infallible.

Perspective can come from experience, knowledge, faith or just common sense.

Sometimes we are so close to things that we can’t see them clearly.

Of course, the opposite is true, too: We are very close to something and can see it for all it’s worth.

It is good to take a step back from everything, not always literally, and see where we are.

This applies to relationships, work, social life and, yes, God.

I personally believe a lot more marriages would be saved, or even thrive, if a figurative step were taken back and the union examined.

That sounds somewhat technical, but it’s easy to get lost if you don’t look at the road you’re traveling together.

The same applies to jobs, friendships, life in general.

If one doesn’t look at these things on a regular basis, giving your heart and mind a chance to weigh in, so to speak, we can take things for granted or forget about them entirely. Not a good thing.

Most of us have had that sensation where someone you haven’t thought about in a long time suddenly pops into your head.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that this is God tapping you on the shoulder.

Many years ago, I used to take Holy Communion to some homebound residents.

I built up relationships with some of them, very old people who couldn’t take care of themselves.

And then I stopped going. My responsibilities at home and work left me little time, and so I just stopped.

About a year later, something amazing and strange happened, too unbelievable and lengthy to explain here.

All I know is, God tapped me on the shoulder and I wasn’t about to say no.

The same residents were still there, and over the course of the next couple years, they started to pass away.

I brought them Jesus in Holy Communion, and they looked into my eyes and gave me something that once again goes beyond words.

Most of us, I think, as we get older, narrow our interests.

I remember having a discussion at Bill’s Tavern in Cannon Beach, Ore., with a few nieces and nephews on this subject.

We all had, and have, our interests, things that are the tip of the spear for us.

Can we look at these interests from the outside, with some perspective, so they don’t become weird obsessions?

This does not mean less passion in the things you like but more an idea how the things that matter in our life are healthy in mind, body and soul.

But then it seemed apparent to me, in a booth, with some blackberry ale, that if we listen to the call of God, seek the solace of Jesus, we will naturally be led to a nice equilibrium that is healthier in every way for us, and in turn those who surround us and are meaningful in our lives.

Looking at ourselves can be a hard thing to do. Someone once said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

That sounds pretty drastic, but then, how should you examine your life?

First, raise the bar high.

Ask God, “What do you want me to do?” Allow yourself to listen. The saints didn’t become saints by seeking their own will. Remember in the “Our Father prayer”: “Thy will be done.” Focus on this.

Second, put yourself in a position to be found or touched by God.

How? Pray. Visit the church, sit in its pews, whisper and listen to God. Read the Gospels and put yourself there.

Third, examine your day. Begin by asking for guidance from the Holy Spirit whom Jesus calls our “advocate.” When we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us we are opening our world immensely, and yes, this is a leap of faith. You have to learn to trust the “advocate.”

I read a great quote from C.S. Lewis and here it is:

“Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

God loves zeal and passion but directed in a way where glory is given to God (see Paul).

At the end of the Gospel of John, Jesus tells his disciples on the Sea of Tiberias to once again cast their nets over the side of their boat after a bad day of fishing.

Who is this guy, the fishermen are thinking; we are the ones who have been in the boat all day and caught nothing.

But they do what Jesus says, and in their world and on that day, it makes all the difference.

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Mike Acheson is director of religious education at Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church in Port Angeles and St. Joseph Parish in Sequim.

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