Three weeks ago, I did a walk through Holy Week for the Sunday School kids.
In order to get it right, I had to sit down with all four Gospels next to each other. I’ve never looked at the Passion that way before. Having all four together helped me see some things I didn’t remember.
For instance, the naked dude in Mark.
But also, how in Luke 22, it says “Satan entered Judas”.
It was a Huh moment for me. I contemplated that—to be fair—Satan was going to be stronger than Judas since this was before Jesus died for our sins so…what is Judas’ culpability in the betrayal of Jesus?
Then I decided it was above my spiritual paygrade and moved on.
Until Easter Sunday when I sat down to watch Jesus Christ Superstar.
We don’t know much about Judas, other then he committed the nastiest betrayal of all time. We don’t know why he did it, other than those words from Luke. We can, and do, speculate that when the Gospels talk of an Apostle questioning Jesus especially in terms of money, acts of service and inclusion of Gentiles, that perhaps this is Judas beginning to feel that Jesus was not what he had said he was.
(See what I did there?)
This is Superstar’s interpretation for sure. Judas sings:
|Every time I look at you I don’t understand
Why you let the things you did get so out of hand
You’d have managed better if you’d had it planned –
One thing we absolutely know about Judas? He was human and let his fear outweigh his faith. I like the tidy Superstar presentation of Judas’ fears driving his disillusionment because I can relate to that. I’ve said before that given my personality, it would have been hard for me to follow Jesus in his day. Jesus’ ministry was on a “need to know” basis and I’m more a “know, then go” kind of gal. I think I would have been exhausted by all the mystery.
The question though is this: Would I have been converted by the Resurrection?
The answer—and I know this with every fiber of my heart—is yes.
Because Jesus kept his word. And that would have been enough for me to let go of what I didn’t understand, lay down my fears and never look back.
So I wonder—what would have happened if Judas had lived? Would his remorse have become conversion?
The greater point of course is this—there was a plan, the greatest plan of all. It had to play out and needed the benefit of hindsight before it made sense, but I think we can all agree the wait was worth it.
Judas couldn’t wait and missed it all. Maybe beyond the vilification of 2000 years—Dante was especially tough on the guy—that’s the real lesson we can learn from Judas.
Most of the protesters drove by in cars.
But this guy stood on our side of the street. Since we were walking on the sidewalk, he was standing in the bushes, inches from the marchers.
“WE NEED OUR GUNS” he yelled. “WE AREN’T SAFE HERE.”
Then, strangely “IF YOU DON’T LIKE GUNS, GO TO MEXICO.”
A grandmother in front of us stopped. She spoke softly: “We don’t mind guns. I have guns.”
“THEN WHY ARE YOU MARCHING?” he yelled in her face.
“Because I don’t think teachers should carry guns.”
“YEAH, YEAH” he yelled, “TEACHERS NEEDS GUNS. GUNS TO KEEP THE KIDS SAFE. MORE GUNS!”
Gabriel turned around and looked at me with a raised eyebrow and a laugh. “Mom, what the HECK is that guy talking about?”
Sweet bud. I’m glad you think it’s laughable. It was odd and laughable to me too. But I was proud of you, and your sister, who asked me why he was yelling. I told her that he disagreed and that he gets to disagree. She said “Yeah, but why is he yelling?”
I think that’s what makes this pack of kids so threatening to the “pray, pay and obey” crowd. They have demonstrated remarkable ability in a couple key ways: 1. They are inherently geared toward consensus 2. They tolerate disagreement and 3. They aren’t scared. They don’t give a rat’s behind for who’s against them. They care about who is with them.
This makes their momentum hard to control and predict. They threaten the status quo because they show what the status quo could be. Should be.
The grown-ups who make their money in destruction instead of building won’t be able to stop themselves from trying to make these kids get in line.
It’s already started, with the photoshopped picture of Emma Gonzalez tearing up the Constitution. They were willing to take a 17 year old trauma survivor and make her a villain.
And Rick Santorum? I can’t even. Marie Antoinette. He was Marie Antoinette, times about a hundred.
But it didn’t matter. The kids were not distracted.
The kids laughed. Then they got back to work.
This is why I think they are the answer and not just for the gun control problem. They are the answer to the nastiness, the kitchen sink fighting that has become the norm in our national discourse. They remember the lesson that we, their parents, taught them when they were little and scared of the dark:
The monster under the bed lives on fear and darkness.
Don’t feed the monster.
My friend Tonya posted this on her Facebook page. I paid close attention because she doesn’t usually say this much. It’s pretty phenomenal, so I asked if I could share it here.
My children all unanimously decided I was “an average mom”. We were all having a deep and insightful conversation over dinner last night, and at one point in the dialoguing, I was coined this term….”average”.
Now….let it be known that I’m extremely sensitive and take most direct and potentially opinionated comments towards me personally. However? I found myself laughing inside and out, that my children were all on the same page regarding this fact!
They, in true insightful form, had reason to back their theories! I listened and opened my mind as best I could. I was captivated at their strong and researched hypothesis….case in point…I am a “mom”, I am a “hairdresser” and “photographer” and I am, at times, a homemaker that doesn’t bake.
I am comfortable submitting to my children’s opinions and theories. I am comfortable seeking their opinions and their perspectives and I am VERY comfortable confiding in them and trusting them, because they are “beyond average” and have shown me though example and concrete evidence, that they are worthy.
After we all went to bed…I pondered this and realized? I’m glad that I am average in their eyes. In my humble opinion, that moniker makes me “approachable”, “attainable” and “real”, and, let’s be honest, it makes me human to them. All of a sudden, I felt a little “average” tinge of victory as a mom!
I want to enable them with all the artillery they need to achieve their dreams. I want to applaud and encourage their journeys. I want to see their successes and failures shape them into the best versions of themselves. I want to empower their unique gifts and qualities and help illuminate to the world all they have to offer. I want to take the brunt for them and elevate my 3 to the heights they are meant for. And the person best for this job? Is their “average” mom! Because? Sometimes? It takes a mediocre type of thinking to see the magic and beauty within others.
We are all instrumental in the big picture…we all play a role and we all bring something unique and special to the table. Whether we are “average” or “above average” or “below average”….(whatever those guidelines mean???) We all have something to offer. Let’s honor “us” and support others, and let us begin to look beyond…for we all matter and we all have something to say; average or not! Thank you to my beautiful children for the insight I crave and need. NO better three I can think of, that have this ability to help me witness these truths within myself. I wish for you all great things, and in “great”, I MAY mean average;) Because you know what??? I may know a thing or two about what I’m talking about!
Every time someone hands me a personality test, they laugh. I’ve gotten used to this and I understand it.
My personality is not a light hidden under a bushel. It shines like a beacon in the night and speaks with a voice loud and clear.
Last week, I took a Spiritual Gifts test for a retreat team I’ve joined.
At least this time, the nice lady who gave us the test didn’t laugh at me until she gave me the results.
On a scale of 1 (Almost always true) to 4 (No desire towards it), and with five questions for each gift—this means the lowest score (and strongest affinity) would be a 5 and the highest score (and weakest affinity) would be a 20—I scored a 5 on Administration.
Also, a 6 on Faith and 7s on Discernment, Hospitality, Leadership, Service, Teaching and Wisdom.
I’M NOT A MARTHA. YOU’RE A MARTHA.
Ok, I’m a Martha.
And really, I don’t want to be a missionary, healer, evangelist or believer in miracles. I want to teach the catechism, say the prayers, honor the traditions and keep the calendar. I want to organize gatherings where missionaries and healers and miracle believers and evangelists come share their stories because we need that. All of us need that. We need to listen to those with the gifts.
And I need to build the agenda for that meeting, perfectly scheduled down to the last snack break.
I can see what needs to happen and how. I can make that vision come true. I can find and convince the right people to show up.
I may not move the mountain. But I know who can.
I used to think that the payoff for these gifts was a job well done, mostly because my OCD had yet to be diagnosed and treated.
Just like Martha, I had to learn: my gifts are all front-loading. Which means, if I’ve done it right, I get to be present for the very thing I built. I get to see the fruits. It only works if I let myself be done. I can’t try to control what I have wrought.
If I’m still trying to administer, lead, serve and teach unto the very last moment, I miss it.
But when I trust my gifts and my boundaries, then I see this little boy, waiting on God to call.
I see 70 kids singing joyfully at the end of Mass. A 17 year old boy standing in tearful awe of a famous painting in the Louvre. My daughter and her friends dancing in the sunlight in their First Communion dresses. Teenagers giving up their first week of summer sleeping-in to work at church. A young woman we have loved and cherished finding the man God meant her to find and planning a life with him.
So now that’s what I do. I plan and lead and serve and administer and then I send it out into the world and watch what happens next.
I can’t share the test I took on the blog because someone paid for the rights to use it. But if you search “20 Spiritual gifts test” you’ll find some iteration of what I took.
We’ve lived in our smaller house for a year now. It’s been an adjustment, but we’ve figured it out. Mostly. Just don’t open the hallway closet.
Still, as another birthday passes and the weather turns towards Spring, my heart starts to want. More square footage. A third bathroom. A self-cleaning dog run. I cruise the MLS and Pinterest. I dream.
At some point, the wanting steps out of my heart and becomes a monster in my chest.
The Want Monster.
It is naturally in my personality to obsess, and the Want Monster needs obsession to survive. At first, it seems harmless, like I’m considering. Let’s just see, the Monster says.
But then when Common Sense kicks in, or Shea puts his foot down, the Monster roars.
Why do we have to be patient? Why do we have to wait? Now, now, now!
And that’s when the Want Monster begins to steal my joy.
Shea and I have been mostly calculated and patient financially our entire marriage. We’re planners. Right now we are in year 3 of a 5 year plan and we are on track.
In the last month, the Want Monster has tried to tell me that this life is not enough.
I know it is a lie. But once the Monster is born, it takes a minute to beat him back.
Last week, I prayed for God to ease the wanting. I don’t want to want. I don’t want to have my head turned by things away from our life, which is good and solid and manageable.
I think a lot of us struggle with the Want Monster, whether in our homes, our marriages, our jobs, our families. Someone will always have it better, or have something we think we want.
I also think it is an act of grace to be happy with what you have built, with what you have been given. God calls us to live our best lives according to His time and guided by His plan. But best lives doesn’t relate to accumulation of things and the Want Monster is not the voice of God.
Knowing is half the battle. Prayer is the other half. This Lent, I am coming in armed for hunting monsters.
St. Joan of Arc, pray for us.