Oh gosh, this is only my second post in February, and it’s nearly the end of the month. I’ve had lots of ideas – the Olympics – the pressure on the athletes and the issues with the Uighers and the memories of a road trip I took to Kansas with my dad in 1992 – during the Winter Olympics. Another looming teacher strike in St. Paul. Ukraine. Arthritis in my neck and pain in my shoulder. The death of a friend and colleague. It all seemed ripe for exploration in writing, and for looking for insight from Father Clay.
But I didn’t have it in me to write. I was not feeling creative or frankly like processing anything publicly. I’m not apologizing, I’m just thinking it through. And I know you’ll forgive me the gap – if there’s really anything to forgive.
I’ve tried to hold myself to a weekly publishing goal, with some breaks here and there. But I recognize that that’s a nice aim – and there’s no consequence for not hitting it. This is what “doing the best I can” looks like. For a recovering perfectionist, this is hard. There is a voice that says “you shouldn’t have started it if you can’t meet your publishing schedule and how can you expect to build an audience if you aren’t consistent?” And I’m developing a voice that answers back, “It’s okay. Show up when you can and when it feels right. It’s enough.”
I’ve been learning the meaning of “enough” and accepting that I can be enough in bits and pieces over the past few years. I just wanted to check in with you to say hi and hey, let’s pray for Ukraine. And the teachers and students in Minneapolis and St. Paul. And the Uighers and recovering Olympic athletes. And my friend Rob and the family that misses him.
Accepting Our Humanness
Dear People Whom God Loves,
Some of our greatest burdens are the ones we put on ourselves. Our egocentric needs are an example of this.
Instead of being satisfied with using our talents as well as we can, we want to be successful. This puts on us the burden of constant striving that is never enough. Instead of accepting that we are ordinary human beings, we think of ourselves as especially good and holy. This puts on us the burden of denying the shadow parts of ourselves. This in turn makes us judgmental and sensitive to everything that is even mildly critical. We are in frequent pain and alienate people. The examples are numerous.
We are ordinary, flawed human beings who sin. That is okay. We are loved by God for who we are—not for some magnificent image that we pretend to be. Spiritual growth is the gradual acceptance of the reality of our humanness.
Smile, God Loves You.
From Dear People Whom God Loves, by Father John Clay (c) 1999