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Several years ago, I really enjoyed the movie “Bridge of Spies” with Tom Hanks and have adopted, in my better moments, the recurring line offered by the Russian spy “would it help?”.  Complaining, comparing, disparaging, judging harshly, bitching, moaning, have at it, but I will suggest none of them help and all of them waste time and energy. Yes what I am trying to get at here is that my way of life just like yours has been turned upside down painfully so, and it is important now more than ever for me to try to use my time and energy to do my best, to waste nothing of what is precious and often in short supply. 

And no, my best is not enough, but it is what I have to give, and I know this:  the giving makes room for more giving.  I do give myself about a half hour a day of pity party time, of bitching and complaining and moaning time, usually accompanied by some Maker’s Mark which sharpens my mind, and focuses my cynicism; and then at the end of the time I say to myself “self, did it help?” universally the answer comes to me, “not at all, except for the bourbon”.  But isn’t it delicious to criticize, to detail the idiocy and shortcomings of others, to look for the ulterior motive, the selfish motivation?  So easy to criticize, to find fault, to complain, to run down others, so easy to do that which accomplishes nothing and destroys in the process. Not only easy but amazingly seductive is this negativity.

It is important to notice, that the good is good to do because it is the good, and it works.  And that which may be so tempting, and so momentarily satisfying diminishes us, drains us, makes us less and less alive.  We don’t choose the good to make God happy, God is.  We choose the good because it makes us more, makes us more and more into what God has made us to be.  That helps.

So if you absolutely have to complain, choose the weather, remember this is St. Louis it will change in hours.  Give yourself the time to grieve what we have lost, what we must live without hopefully for only a while.  Give yourself the credit that doing your best may not accomplish everything, but it will make things better.  It will help.  Leave everything in God’s hands, especially that which is more than your best,  God will help.  Let’s drink to that.

Fr. Jim

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