It was, perhaps, a bit overdue…but we finally took the plunge this week – and went ‘paperless’ at our place.
Paperless…as in discontinuing ‘home delivery’ of the local daily rag.
And paperless…as in removing the final traces of wallpaper in our home. At one time, nearly every room had been at least partially covered in the stuff – but now, it’s all gone…gone…gone.
Turns out, both changes unsettled my spirit a bit. A page had been turned, so to speak: A couple of incidental everyday things…things which I’d long taken as the norm…had somehow become utterly unfashionable.
I didn’t get a vote in the matter, I noticed. The world had simply moved on.
The world can be heartless that way. One minute, you’re right in-the-mix – on top of trends, connected to the top stories of the day. But before you know it, everything has changed. And there’s little ‘essence’ left…in many of the things that once upon a time you considered essential.
It can batter the ego, to take note of such indignities.
I think that’s what I’ve been feeling in recent days…as I fussed and fumed about various signs indicating this is no longer ‘my’ time. Signs…pointing to new generations, taking charge…and threatening to leave me (or at least a significant part of me) behind.
‘Take THAT, Ego: Slink on outta here. We don’t serve your kind anymore.’
What a gift it can be, to have one’s ego endure such a mortal beating. That’s what I found this morning as I took my unsettled spirit to prayer. There, I encountered St. Paul’s words to Timothy…in the reading we hear proclaimed at Mass this week:
I am already being poured out like a libation…I have competed well; I have finished the race…
Puffed-up Paul: He seems shocked to discover just how disposable his ministry – his life’s work – turned out to be:
At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me.
Then, with his ego in check, Paul discovers a much more satisfying truth – his belovedness:
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat, and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom.
This gift belongs not just to Paul, of course. Our mother Mary knows: She understands, better than most, how belovedness belongs to each of us…and to all of us:
The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is God’s name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
Trends and technologies may come and go. Fashion is ever-changing. But ultimately these disruptions threaten nothing more than the ego. And what a blessing to be able to proclaim — along with Mary — that nothing, in the end, can paper-over God’s promises.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.