Friday, January 14, 2005

Living Psalm 23

Happy Catholic - chipper blog
Scattershot Direct sidebar listing
I read this last week at M'Lynn's (Scattershot Direct) and cracked up. I just do not think of myself as chipper.
i happen to be a big fan of the Happy Catholic. she is way too happy for me, however, because i worry so danged much about everything.
martha, martha

Then I read this in a comments box (at Scattershot Direct) and cracked up again. It also made me start thinking. For most of my life I have been a "glass is half empty" girl. Always quick to see the negatives of any situation ... oh, and even more attractive, quick to dwell on those negatives. But these two, who I respect a lot, had the impression of me as always cheerful, "chipper" if you will. Interesting. Was that just how I presented myself on the blog or was it true? If so, I would have changed a lot.

A couple of days later it was Friday and I figured out I had to work on Saturday. Driving home after picking up the kids at school, I told them. We were talking about how the day would divide up chore-wise, etc. I said that it wasn't as bad as it could be. For instance, what if I was a regular working mom? This might happen a lot, or I couldn't pick them up from school at 3:30. Hannah, knowing about my "rep" on Scattershot, looked at me and said, "Mom, you sound awfully Happy!" I stopped, looked at her and said, "Oh my gosh. I was being chipper wasn't I!" All three of us collapsed into gales of laughter.

Oops! Caught in the act. Maybe it is true. I am a Happy Catholic. Or to be more accurate, I am joyful. Like anyone else I get frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed out ... but under it all is my great joy and gratitude to God for bringing me so far. I do what I can to improve myself but I look back at my life and see God nudging me here and there ... teaching me lesson after lesson and moving me slowly (very slowly) toward grace.

I got a real reminder of just how far I have come when I was doing that Saturday work at the office, realizing that I actually was serene about spending practically all day there. Suddenly I was stabbed in the pit of my stomach with a physical feeling of bitter, angry, overwhelming resentment at having to work on the weekend, giving up my time for this. It's hard to describe but that feeling was familiar ... much as I hate to admit it. I recognized it from other times in my life. As quickly as I recognized it, I thought that I was not giving in to that and shoved it away ... and it was instantly gone. I really believe I was "allowed" to feel that so I could appreciate just how far God has brought me.

That evening I read Psalm 23 in the Compline. Though I have a bad habit of skimming over the really familiar psalms I was suddenly interested in reading this translation to see how it compared with the familiar King James version. I read every line slowly.
O Lord, you are my shepherd;
I shall not want.
You make me lie down
In green pastures.
You lead me beside still waters.
You restore my soul.
You lead me in paths of righteousness
For your name's sake.
Even though I walk
Through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
For you are with me;
Your rod and your staff --
They comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
In the presence of my enemies;
You annoint my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy
Shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in your house, O Lord,
My whole life long.

How can I describe that sudden illumination? One of those God-things. All I know is that I suddenly felt that psalm had been written for me ... it was describing me exactly. Every line, every word. It is exactly right ... exactly how my life is. I have been pulled out of the dark valley of jealousy, anger, gossip, pettiness ... into the light of the Lord. There are still some crevices and rocks that haven't seen light yet but He is slowly and surely changing everything. No wonder I seem happy, have joy. I am being remade into the person He knows I can be.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

Praise Him.

1 comment:

  1. I can really understand this simple version Polish Cathlic