Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yellow Eyed Monster

I would like to think that my friends and I can agree I strive to be a caring and compassionate person. I admit that often I give way to surface level compassion that is nothing more than a placating smile, but I want to be a person that truly embarks in the act of co-passioning, sharing the sorrows and sufferings of those I am in community with.

However, every now and then there is a Yellow Eyed Monster that rears its ugly head and I can see myself and hear myself being unkind, rude, and mean to some of the people I care most dearly for. In one moment I am loving Suzanne, and in the next I am basically kicking someone (hard!) and then walking away unconcerned. I've discovered that a weird sense of control and power comes from being able to level and manipulate the emotions of people with your words. When I am feeling weak and underappreciated, it gives me sick amounts of elation to know that I am being mean. People must, or so I think, be devastated in their wake and that makes just a small part of me glad.

In my Theology of the Trinity course in college, Catherine LaCugna stated that it is incorrect to respond to our sin by saying "well, I am only human." Humans, she explains, were created NOT to sin and were created to be in perfect community with our Creator and with one another. The act of sinning, then, is not our living into our identity of humans but actually the slow process of becoming less human. That's what it feels like when the Yellow Eyed Monster comes around. My mind is not taken over by the Yellow Eyed Monster as I can still hear the voice of compassion inside me begging me not to say those words or make those decisions. And then afterwards when the Yellow Eyed Monster leaves to hibernate, which always happens instantaneously, there is remorse. There is the slow realization that my words and actions which should be binding up and healing are actually instruments of harm. There is the realization that I am not perfect and that whoever this compassionate person is that I think I am is only a shadow of the person Christ wants me to be. Praise be to God that the Yellow Eyed Monster then returns to his slumber and that I have these moments of remorse. Praise be to God that I have today to try again and hopefully get it more right.

Praise be to God that I am human and that by the grace of God I will someday be fully human.

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