Choose Your Own Adventure

In grade school, my favorite series of books that started to put a zeal for reading in me, were books called, choose your own adventure. They were short stories that within a couple pages you got to decide what you would do. How would you fight the dragon in front of you? You make a decision, read the next few pages and come to another place where you again were to choose which path to take. I would read and reread the book as many times possible choosing all the different options within the story. I would imagine what was the best story? Which way was the best way to get to the happy ending? I would imagine new ways to solve the problem that were not wrote in the book.

When given time, I often handle problems like that. If I see that I am not getting along with someone for some reason, I play out all the various ways the story could go. If I see a dragon how am I going to fight it? Granted, the story may not end how I wanted but the thinking through and bringing it to prayer is all apart of the current adventure. In the end, we all just want to get to the best story that ends in the happy ending. We want the most harmonious way to handle things. That takes prayer, practice, sacrifice, and patience. Oh, so much patience in others and much more patience with ourselves. Patience is learning to suffer well.

If you ask the prideful me about my accomplishments, I would clearly tell you I do suffer well. I suffer all the time. I have more than my fair share of suffering. As a matter of a fact, I can move 10 beads of St. Terese Sacrifice Beads in just one encounter. Not an encounter with you, your my true friend but an encounter with someone out there in the world. When we find ourselves annoyed for some reason, wanting to be patient and seeing it as a suffering to be who we’re called to be. It is in those moments we suffer with Jesus. It is all not just for our own sake. It is so easy to forget why we choose not to do the most comfortable decision in the moment. There is an eternal purpose to the suffering. Granted I may see more ways to suffer, where others see joy, but I do believe the suffering is real, even if it is big or small. Even if it is as simple as giving the benefit of doubt, patience or another dose of mercy. Even if the person is like “What the heck, I’m the one giving here.”

I know other people want to have a great debate. There is nothing wrong with solving problems that way but generally that leaves me feeling drained and frustrated. Sure it may be fun in the pursuit of truth but often times truth within a problem, with an actual person boils down to still disagreeing. I see it my way, you see it your way. There is going to have to be some sacrifice. On one side or both sides.

Maybe I can understand that; yeah there are easier, more efficient ways to get to the happy ending but God doesn’t necessarily call us to the most efficient route for a reason. Logically that may work but we are not all just logic but emotional too. We are to guard our hearts. Give to ceaser what is ceaser’s give to God what is God’s. Which is an obedience and not necessarily a sacrifice or maybe it is always both. It is also not a sacrifice to follow God’s commandments but in wanting to be obedient cause that is what God most wants. With any disagreement maybe a compromise can be attained. If it has than it deserves a fair shot. Even if in trying it requires the ability to obtain patience.

There are times when in the mist of a problem, I have to remind myself this problem in front of me has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with their own internal struggle. So we give grace and mercy and hope when needed it is returned. It is especially difficult when it seems like one day your this person’s friend and the next day you are not even looked at, talked to, or acknowledged. It emotionally hurts when people are not available, when in the meantime you did nothing wrong. Yet, suddenly you are not a friend even worth their attention. I get it. I understand why. I just want the people to be aware of a perspective that others are being constantly put in. Perhaps we are already aware and capable of seeing that perspective.

My idealist side and realistic side get into arguments, sometimes. Ok often. In the end I always side with aiming for the ideal even though I understand that may not be 110% attainable. Shot for the stars. Aim to do it perfectly. After all, I will never achieve what is possible if I do not try. You will never achieve an amazing A aiming for an the average C. At least I can not do that. Maybe you can pray and just simply grace your way to a closer virtue but to me it takes effort.

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