Thursday, September 5, 2013

Of Seizures and Charity

I don't usually wear the fact that I have certain kinds of convulsive seizures on my sleeve.  Life is about much more than that.  Indeed, most people who know me do not realize that I am prone to such traumatic fits.  And those who do know tend to forget it quickly.  A sweet friend told me recently that she frequently forgets that aspect about me and was rather amazed that I accomplish as much as I do in spite of that condition in my life.  These seizures are violent, potentially lethal, inspired by trauma, and severely limit or completely destroy my ability to function in certain respects. 

My friends, not one of us has a perfect life.  We all face trials and troubles.  We all have things that hold us back and frustrate our aspirations.  But it doesn't have to become our identities, and it doesn't have to be the primary focus in our lives.  I think of Jesus leaving Gethsemane, literally dripping with pain, suffering for the sins of those who had injured Him, and finding Himself arrested.  In the midst of that dramatic moment He turns from His own pain to heal the much slighter pain of the guard whose ear had been sliced completely off.  Were you or I in His place, would we have stopped to care about a comparatively minor thing like that? 

We have the commandments of God before us, to remember patience, faith, hope, and charity.  Period.  We do not have the command to be selfless and think of others provided we have nothing dramatic and frustrating in our lives.  We do not have the command to live a Christlike like except when we are under exquisite pain.  I firmly believe that when we meet the Lord at the judgment bar, He will not say "what trials did I give you?" but rather something more along the lines of, "how well did you strive to handle the commandments of gentleness and kindness that I gave you in spite of the trials I knew you needed?"  What happens to us does not matter nearly as much as how we choose to retain our Christlike charity in spite of any opposition.