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a passionate repentance

"Just as the result of disobedience is sin, so the result of…

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may God stand

"Just as the result of disobedience is sin, so the result of obedience is virtue. And just as disobedience leads to breaking the commandments and to separation from Him Who give them, so obedience leads to keeping the commandments and to union with Him Who gave them. Thus he who through obedience has kept the commandments has achieved righteousness and, moreover, he has not cut himself off from union in love with Him Who gave them; and the opposite is equally true."

St. Maximus the Confessor.

I have to confess, I'm struggling.

I have this resentment about my weight. I'm super duper sensitive about it. The priest at my church spoke to me about it, telling me how he lost weight too, and I'm sure he meant to be kind, but it really stung. Then his sermon on the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican was about weight too. How being fat is a choice. He even used one of the phrases that he used to me. Now before when he'd been talking to me, he'd been hearing my confession. So now I feel weird about it. I felt picked out. I already feel like I stand out because of the wheelchair, and hearing the sermon didn't help.

The church is spending biig bucks to put in a window. For the Sunday of Orthodoxy. But there're no ramps anywhere in the church. No grab bar in the bathroom. And I feel as if I'm cut off from a lot of the church.

You know what? I'm nurturing this resentment. This huge feeling of 'It's not fair'. Of entitlement. And I know *life* isn't fair. I know that resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other guy will die. I know that I don't have to like the priest. I don't have to agree with what the church is doing. I'm not going for them. I'm going to work on my salvation.

So why is this resentment and sense of entitlement so dang hard to get rid of? Why does it keep coming back? And how do I take steps to end it?
I wish that doing something like this were as easy as saying you were going to do it.
I wish I spent less time judging people, and a lot less time imagining how people are judging me.
  • My dearest one,

    I was grieved to hear that the priest's words had wounded you; it is at times like this that we must remember that the priests who serve us are indeed human... Sometimes "encouragement," alas, does not manage to reflect the intent behind it. Perhaps the next time you speak with him, you might wish to tell him that this particular issue is difficult for you, and also suggest that a grab bar might be installed in the bathroom...

    Do not worry about any "sense of entitlement..." We all have areas of the heart that are tender; we all have vulnerable points. The Lord knows and has infinite compassion. It is all right to say, "Lord, this hurts."

    ~I wish I spent less time judging people, and a lot less time imagining how people are judging me~

    Most beloved, I imagine this will be a lifetime endeavor for me.

    *gentle robed embrace*
  • Like I said today, definitely talk to the priest or whoever would be appropriate about accessibility. I know ADA compliance in churches is a touchy subject and they've probably not had someone in a wheelchair attend before (at least not on a regular basis) so they're not clued into the needs of someone in that situation. I would find it surprising if they didn't try to make some accommodations for you, accessibility-wise.
  • You've had good advice from others, up there. ~points~ I'm not sure I'm the right person to offer such, really, watching you tackle all of this from my position waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over here, outside of it all.

    Can I try, though?

    I think... the judgment issue- judging other people; judging yourself; imagining how they are judging you- I think it's an intrinsic part of ego. I don't mean a swelled sense of self-worth, but simply an innate sense of -self-. We are all, by nature, self-centred, because that is the primary focus of our experience. We live in ourselves. We base our interactions with others on what we've already experienced in ourselves. It's the normal state of being human, to start with the self and extrapolate outward.

    It's natural, therefore, to wonder and imagine what other people think of us, and compare it to what we think of ourselves, and to form our opinions of other people based on ourselves and our experience.

    I have found, however, that so very, very often, I am wrong, both in how I have perceived someone else, and how I think they perceive me. I imagine- again using my self-experience- that this is probably true of most others as well.

    Here's the thing, though... are they judging you? Possibly. Probably. It's just probably not in the manner you believe. You're a new person in a new experience, and everything is bigger and more overwhelming than you're prepared to handle. It's new. It's frightening. And it's natural to assign those fears to every aspect of the experience, including the people around you. Don't assume they think poorly of you, lovely- remember, you're new to them, too. You are all of you learning about each other. The best thing to do is help each other along as best you know how. You know what your needs and limitations are, and I do mean spiritually as well as physically. They won't know for certain unless you tell them. The priest can't help you to the best of his ability if you don't tell him the effect he has on you; otherwise, he's just tossing matches into the deep gloom of night, haphazardly, hoping one or two catch a candlewick and let a light grow. You have to show him where the wick is.

    Your weight, it seems, is your first stumbling block, and it's a painful one, I'm sure. It needs to be. It does. It probably does no good to hear this, but I think I should say it anyway- spiritual growth is a sacrifice, whatever your faith. It means pain. It means reexamination of self, and sloughing off what is not needed, and that will hurt. What you're paring away, lovely, is nothing physical. It's not fat. It's mindset and perception and old habit. Any physical change that follows is a result, a symptom of improvement, not a cause.

    Besides. God doesn't love you for your arms or your breasts or your belly or your thighs. It's your heart. Your mind. Your soul. Your you. You are loved. You're not making changes or facing down your demons or praying or weeping, or laughing or rejoicing, or doing any of these things for God, because I don't think that's what the process is about. He doesn't need it. But you do. The change, the process of change- it's for you. It's to peel away all that is unnecessary, so that all that's left is purely you.

    You don't do this so that God will love you- that's already true. You do it so you see that love, and feel it and live in it.

    You're already bathing in that ocean. All that remains is to strip off the wetsuit and flippers and mask and snorkel and extra stuff, and really feel the water.

    I love you too, you know. I hope I made some little bit of sense. ~kiss~
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