Have you ever lived with inconsiderate neighbours? Those who drag their chairs across their floor and your ceiling, and make really weird clanging noises that lead you to wonder what really they are up to in the room? Even late into the night? A great annoyance especially when the noises prevent you from sleeping very much at all before having to catch a very early morning flight for instance.
What would your immediate reaction be? I think that mine would be to storm upstairs even in my pjs and tell those inconsiderate fellers off, warn them to stop their noisemaking before I take this to the authorities. After all, I'm angry!! Rightly so!!
Brings to mind someone - let's just call her Therese, since I'm reading about the life of St. Therese. Therese was unfortunately suffering from such noisy disturbances, thanks to the family that lived upstairs. For quite some time, the noises got to her almost every night and there were many times she even rehearsed what she would say should she head right up in attempt to get some neighbourly cooperation. But of course, cooperation was not even a guarantee! For they could, if they were really nasty, create even more noises to make a statement of their displeasure at the complaint.
Then came one night when by some divine grace it seemed, she had a new insight and understanding. Therese realised that though she could very well justify her cause if she finally said her piece, she saw that this same annoyance towards the noise might be what people with some psychological dysfunctions experience too. The noise not from the outside caused by someone else but that which resounds unceasingly interiorly, in the mind; the noise in perhaps those who are suffering from depression. How hard it must be to bear them everyday!
Therese made a decision. She prayed and offered any endurance she had to make of the noises from these inconsiderate neighbours to God for those experiencing psychological unrest. Strangely enough, the noises continued but Therese was no longer the same Therese minutes before. Over time, she noticed less of the noises and the disturbances those noises made within her grew lesser and lesser. Till the time when she was not irritated by the noises at all anymore.
Isn't it interesting? A response like this. Seemingly suggesting what a coward Therese is and how she does not know to fight for her rights and make a stand for herself. Yet, what she revealed was a great interior strength and graciousness. By the grace of God. Growing in patience and humility, gentleness and compassion.
Whatever situations we may find ourselves in, most especially the challenging ones, seem to be God's classroom for our sainthood. Why do we thus thank God for our "curses" and pain? Not because we who believe in Him are idiots. But because we have been given the faith and grace to see beyond, to look deeper, to recognise how God's love wishes to shape us increasingly into His image and at the same time, setting us free by His truth. Free from anger, resentment, unforgiveness; free from the effects of sin. Because the truth is that in the unpleasant, the struggles, the cutting pain, therein lies all that God's infinite and unfathomable love wishes to do in us, for us.
What need we let go of to feel secure enough in God's love to put down our armour of war against the perceived negatives in our lives? So as to use these as opportunities to be moulded more and more into the image and likeness of our Creator? Have you signed up yet for God's classroom for sainthood?