On Giants' Shoulders

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Is the Glass Half Full?

One of the facts of life, especially for idealists, is that we live in a fallen world with fallen people. Nothing is ever perfect. Even the most perfect picnic probably has a few mosquitoes at it as well as people who like their burgers more or less done than you do.

I've been pondering this a lot lately. I've gotten pretty disillusioned about a particular group of people and I'm realizing that the reason for it is that I had very high expectations that are met by some members of the group, but not others. The group isn't religious, it's a purely secular group with very specific goals. It's a group that I will always be part of a sub-set of and that sub-set may well be shrinking.

The Church can sometimes feel the same way, especially to enthusiastic converts. Sometimes it's easy to be disillusioned there as well. We come into the Church expecting people to actually believe and live what She teaches, and a lot of the time we find that even some of the priests and bishops may not. Today, newly ordained Father Naples talked about the fact that priests are ordinary people with an extraordinary charism. He explained it so well, and it was a reminder once again, that what we honor in a priest is not his ordinariness and his failings, but the character that was imparted to him at ordination. We can choose to see the glass as half full and pray for an even deeper filling of the Holy Spirit and more gifts of wisdom and faith, or we can see the glass as half empty and pick at the ordinariness and failings. If we spend our time picking things apart we will miss the very gifts that the charism of ordination offers to us as lay people.

This is also true as we deal with other believers or as I deal with the people in the organization I'm thinking about. I can value the good things and strive to help people become better, more knowledgeable or I can carp about the fact that they sometimes seem to act contrary to the purposes of the organization itself. My mom always said you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar and I suspect that giving the people I disagree with respectful treatment instead of sarcasm probably will yield more positive results.

It's hard being an idealist in a less than perfect world. I've spent a lot of time trying to achieve the standards that some people have set, only to fall desperately short. I'm not a perfect person, I don't live with perfect people, and lots of love is frequently needed to cover the multitude of imperfections. However, I choose to see the glass as half full (or at least I try to - I'll admit to being a disappointed idealist a lot of the time).

If you expect perfection or nothing, you'll usually get nothing.


At 9:10 PM, Blogger Robert J. Moeller said...

Hey, I randomly found your blog today and I'm glad that I did. Very interesting stuff. I'm a conservative blogger and seminary student in Chicago (rjmoeller.com). Keep up the good work!

At 7:10 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

I found you. :) This post sounds so very much how I feel and believe that if I knew how to articulate the words as you did..I could have written it myself. Wow. I suppose many feel this way also if we do.
Anyway, I'll be reading further.
Thank you for inviting me here.
God bless,


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