St. Paul, my favorite spiritual writer of all time, reminds me not to give up. He encourages me to persevere. He inspires me to build my character. He promises that with hope, God's love will pour into my heart through the Holy Spirit. What a guy! He's like a best friend I only hear from through written correspondence. All week, I've been reading a quote from one of his letters to the Romans: "Hope does not disappoint us"...it's on the reader board next to my parish office. I've really needed its message.
Today was a hard day. My body didn't work right. I wanted to persevere physically but couldn't. "My character doesn't need any more work," I used to tell my mother when I was having a hard time in my youth (replying to her statement, "It'll build your character.") I laid on the couch tonight for an hour, hoping to revive myself enough to drag my body to the dinner table. (It worked, by the way.) My beautiful big sister, Lucy, made a healthy, tasty feast for my entire family. There it was, piping hot on the table. An enormous amount of love went into creating that for us.
I've always liked the word persevere. It conjures up comforting, strengthening feelings inside me. (Joe just said he doesn't like it--he only sees the root word, severe.) Character is relative, isn't it? We "build" it, but to whose satisfaction? Who measures this? Hope is a word used in so many contexts, and I wonder sometimes if it's used properly by some people. Now, love...LOVE...ah, that word is the best word. Love is the reason we change poopy diapers. Love is the reason we stay up late talking to nervous spouses about the stressful events at work. Love is the reason we keep our mouths shut when our little kids relay absolutely ridiculous and pointless stories of their school day. Love is the reason we stand over the stove cooking dinner for "ungrateful children" at the end of a long, hard day when we don't think we can stand up one more minute...but we do. Love is MY reason for just about everything I do in my life. And God's love for ME is the one, true thing that calms me down when I feel like I just can't take it anymore.
So St. Paul reminds me of that love. THANK GOODNESS, because my pitiful cobweb of a mind forgets from time to time. As Lucy always says, "It's all about the love..."