More small things

Generosa really likes Tim. He is the handsomest of us all. She is an older, small filipina and today when we picked her up from dialysis and she looked at me while she clotted. When I said hi she greeted me back. “You look like a Chinese, are you Chinese?” “Yes, I am half Chinese.” “Oh that’s good. Of all the Chinese, you are the handsomest one.” “Thank you, I appreciate that.” (But I also remember that time two weeks ago when you wouldn’t come with us to your appointment because none of us were handsome enough. That time you said “If Tim comes, I will go. But you are not handsome enough.”) Women are fickle.

Julia is even older and smaller. Her medical history reads like a terrible war novel. Her against her body, when Nature and Time join forces they are a powerful antagonist. She is pale, frail and will only lay on her left side. She came in for a bout of “Altered Level of Consciousness” and the guys have transported her before. We do what we can with the gurney straps and as I tighten them she whispers, “You’re murdering me.”

I was singing “Your love is extravagant” on my way home from work today. And then I got to thinking, “Is it?” Extravagant. I guess it is, I thought. But it seems strange. I’ve heard it so many times before, God doesn’t mean for you to be happy, he wants you to have Joy. In a way it’s true, I guess. You can be happy and joyful, and unhappy and joyful. But I think God wants us to be happy.

It’s just that, like so many things with God, we get the scope wrong. He wants me to be happy, sure, but the truth is he wants EVERYONE to be happy. Do you understand? I can be happy sometimes, but why not all the time? I am happy when things go well and when I can forget that they do not go well for others. God desires that we grow in many ways, and one of those ways is in our ability to remember the Other. If I had everything I could ever want, I could still not always be happy knowing that there are young boys and girls who live in fear of violence or slavery and oppression. Even if everyone I knew in the world had everything they wanted, had the life they always dreamed of, the idea of the Other suffering would sometimes break through and dim it all.

Even Jesus, who was One with God, who was perfectly confident and powerful and well loved, was a man of sorrows. God wants us to be happy. God wants us ALL to be happy ALL the time. But it seems that we are to wait for that. For now there is Joy. Joy that is rooted in the peace that comes from hope. Every tear will be wiped away. Every tear has been accounted for. Not a one has fallen to the earth that will not burst forth as great laughter and strength in the days to come. That one of our greatest treasures is a longing, a want, a lack, is a great mystery. But one, I think, when we wrap ourselves in it, will keep us warmer than any hard fact in this long, cold night.

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~ by justinhong on November 16, 2011.

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