I was having such a crummy day, and had three different things go wrong before 8am, so I spent the day trying to work them all out. Thankfully, two of them were resolved by the end of the day. I felt beat, but kept trying to remind myself throughout the day to find the good. For example, I was so stressed that the pain I have been feeling in my teeth for the past couple weeks seemed to disappear. My brain was probably so hyper focused on the chaos of the day that it didn't have time to feel the pain. I also kept reminding myself that there are worse things that could happen.
In the evening, I had my last RCIA group meeting, and I was so out of it I actually thought of skipping it, which never happens. This RCIA group has been my weekly vitamin, my sanity if you will. So, I scuffled up the energy to go, and sure enough it was exactly what I needed.
Beautiful Sandra shared with us the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are within each of us, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which we should all strive for. She reminded us that we each carry all these gifts within us, which include: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, right judgment, courage, reverence, and wonder and awe (sometimes known as fear, but better described as wonder and awe). Then she described to us the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which include charity, peace, joy, kindness, goodness, patience, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, truthfulness, self-control, and chastity. More than her just educating us on the Holy Spirit, I could feel her speaking to us with such love and kindness, it was like listening to an older sister inspiring and encourage me to live the good life of Love.
As she passionately and lovingly opened our minds to remembering to use our gifts to obtain the fruits, she asked us to think of the one fruit we could use more of in our life. Between patience and self-control, and thinking of the day I had, I thought I could use more patience. I could always use more patience, but now was a good time to remember that and try to practice patience. Later we each picked out a piece of paper in the shape of a dove with one of the fruits printed on it, from a basket being passed around--much like picking a fruit out of a fruit basket. I ended up picking "joy." I thought, "Hmm, I didn't know I needed more joy in my life, but this must be God's note to me." Joy is responding to life in a positive way. The scripture written under the word read "I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete." John 15:11. I contemplated these words for a moment, and realized this is exactly what I need today--joy. God, give me the grace to respond to these unexpected complications and issues in a positive way so that I may bear the fruit of joy.
Later on, Father Ed reminded us of Mother Teresa smiling through everything. She worked with the poorest of the poor, and saw people dying every day, but always did so with a smile. Why? Because the poorest of the poor don't want to be brought down further with your long depressing face. "...the smile is the beginning of love," she once said. Now ain't that the truth?
You can have the crummiest day, but smiling makes it better. It really does. To face tough times with grace is a gift of gifts, because it reminds you to have courage, act with wisdom and knowledge, be understanding, make right judgment, feel reverence, and rest in the wonder and awe that is life. After all, there's no point in crying over your own misery, so you might as well tilt your head up towards the sun and smile.
BIG LOVE & HUGS