Saturday, 21 September 2013

Stop the Tantrums

Peter, the fisherman, was out at sea for a catch. An experienced fisherman he was. He sailed his fishing boat to the place where he would always enjoy a huge catch. He knew always to go back to that spot where the water was always teeming with life. However, on this night, Peter caught nothing. He was in disbelief and was disappointed. 

The next night, Peter went back to his usual spot, thinking that this night, the fishes would have returned. But it wasn't as he had thought. This continued for 2 weeks before Peter finally gave up and went in search for other good fishing locations. It was only later that he received news of a ship wreck that occurred a short distance from his favourite fishing spot. It carried with it toxic chemicals, which were released into the ocean during the wreck. This sent the marine life away from the contaminated water and it was only when Peter started to venture further from here was he able to bring in larger catches. 


Sometimes, when we are so used to visiting a certain location, a certain spot to draw life, we tend to always want to go back there because of the security and certainty we have been enjoying from always finding there what we are searching for. It becomes a place of comfort, of familiarity, of abundance. It is easy to become attached to the location, to cling on more and more as time goes by. But when a day comes when this location changes, perhaps because it no longer could give us what we had always enjoyed from it, we always find ourselves going through a period of insisting that it returned to what it was before, a period of refusing to let go.

Yet, sometimes, God does not mean for this location to be a place of permanence for us. Maybe He wants us to move on and go elsewhere. And it is a common question of why God puts us through such difficult experiences. It is never our task and ability to understand the way God works but in His wisdom, perhaps, what He means for us to learn is that nothing in this world is permanent. While we enjoy our possessions and take them to be our gods, we need to be reminded that everything is temporal, all is passing, and that only God is constant now and forever. God teaches us what is our true everlasting treasure, and the order of priorities we need to have if we are serious about seeking the truth and an eternal life.

To let go of false permanence is to free ourselves from the bondage we have with that location, with that possession. So that we are no longer trapped there but are free to move with the Spirit to where the real treasure is found.

It is undoubtedly very difficult to accept that something that was once life-giving may no longer be life-giving. For instance, a job that once filled us with excitement but has now become a dread, a relationship in which we were once happy in but has become broken and hurtful, etc.

What was life-giving before may no longer be life-giving anymore. But what is it that we really want? The location/possession or life? Is my life worth playing for? Is your life worth playing for? (see link for explanation) Sounds like a brainless question since the wisest answer is "yes"... but it is not always easy to choose life over letting go of something precious that we have lost. Yet, we can ask for the graces to love ourselves more so that we can choose life. We can ask for the grace of acceptance to accept that which is no more. Slowly, we can let go and be freed. 



Loving Jesus, dearest God,

You know best how capable I am in throwing tantrums especially when things turn out the exact opposite of my wishes. You know what is best for me while all I can do is to stubbornly cry out for what I want, even when what I want is nothing more than a ship wreck in the middle of the vast open sea, no more of that beauty it once was. 

You have picked me up and placed me in a boat, urging me to row away from the wreck to seek beauty and life elsewhere. My gratitude to You for this at this moment remains as an obligation in the logical sphere of my mind but I hope in You still that one day, I will be able to thank You from the depths of my heart. But now, dear Jesus, now, all I want to do is to relive the moments before the ship was wrecked and hope that somehow, the broken pieces may gather again, rejoin with one another, and be restored to what it was before. I know that it cannot be possible but I still hope it would be. All I want to do is to pretend that the ship was never wrecked and that I can continue to enjoy sailing in it. Again, it's impossible.

In times like these, when I am crippled by my hurt and pain, stubbornness and inordinate attachments, I have nothing in me that can possibly act according to wisdom's directions. My only hope is in You, my Lord. That while I throw my tantrums and cling on to my attachments, that You will take the rope of the boat You have set me in and pull me away from the wreck. You who walk on water and have everything as You will, pull me away from the wreck. Never mind my tantrums and immaturity because one day, I shall arrive at the greater beauty You have planned out for me, and then  I will stop my tantrums.

But let me not wait for that moment... but trust right now that this greater beauty awaits me. It will surely come because my boat is pulled by You and no other, not even myself. Turn my eyes away from the wreck, accepting it for what it is and for what it can no longer be. Help me to give up hoping for what is not possible. Not possibly because Your love for me is too great to give me what is less than perfect. Help me to accept, to let go, to trust, and to let You bring me to where You will. Help me, dear Jesus, to surrender and be free. 


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