Last Saturday the yearly birthday card arrived from my aunt. It arrived like clockwork. September 1. I could set my calendar by the arrival of her cards. My birthday is September 15, and my birthday card always arrives on September 1. My Christmas card will arrive the Friday after Thanksgiving. And like clockwork, I had my less than positive thoughts. You see I have a snarky voice on the inside the snickers at the promptness of these cards. I confess that I do not always have generous or grateful heart about these cards.
When I’m honest with myself. When I look in the mirror. I can admit that some of this snarky-ness actually covers my own sense of “not being good enough.” You see I’m not good at birthday cards. I rarely send Christmas cards. I tend to be behind the 8-ball when it comes to these customs. And rather than simply admitting this and being ok that I show love and care in different ways, I seem to feel the need to be snarky. Not such a pretty reflection.
And of course I’m looking in the mirror at this reflection the week that Jesus reminds us that “there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” Apparently, the stuff the gets us in trouble comes from the inside. Our pride, our arrogance, our jealousy, our greed. These are all inner-things. Inner things I sometimes cover over with snark. Inner things I sometimes disguise with masks. Inner things I sometimes project onto someone else. Unfortunately, when I’m really honest, when I look in the mirror, I have to admit that I sometimes see these buggers staring back at me. And when I read the Gospel it seems pretty clear the only person I really fool is myself.
What might it be if I were simply to say thank you for the cards? Simply express gratitude for being remembered unconditionally. What might it be if I were to simply allow that we don’t need to express love in the same way or compete for God’s love? That it’s actually a good thing that we love differently because it’s all valuable.