Sunday, January 20, 2008

Good and Bad

When I was a little kid I took CCD classes. These were Catholic church lessons that I went to once a week to color in pictures of Jesus and learn that God loves us. One of these times our teacher asked us who God loves, and I've always been one to answer the questions in class, so I did.

"God loves good people," I responded, feeling pretty sure of myself. But the teacher looked at me and explained that no, God actually loves all people. This was new to me, yet as soon as she told me this, I knew my answer had been deeply wrong. How could the world really go on if God had it out for bad people? cause people do lots of bad things. And then how do we define people as good or bad? Do we average out the good and the bad elements? How many of our thoughts on even those attributes are just opinions?

I still struggle with accepting people. It's funny, because I'd like to think I'm tolerant, but it is a constant battle to look beyond the faults of others. Maybe I can't get beyond my own faults? God loves all of us, but does he love me? If he doesn't, then I need to be better. If I need to be better, certainly every flaw I spot in someone else could be improved upon.

God loves all people. But I don't. I get stuck in the mires of judgment. I wade through the swamps of filth that inhabit my mind as I look up at the countless bright leaves that inhabit the character of people. I see the red, poisonous leaves. With difficulty I look at the other leaves of green. Couldn't I just drop my head instead of craning it, couldn't I just take note of the thick, well-worn and comfortable trunk of that person? Or maybe the spindly trunk, trying to hold up poison while green leaves struggle forth? Or even the branches, couldn't I tell which ones have the fungus eating away at them and which others are strong and peacefully climbing to the heavens?

I am in the forest, and I can't see my own leaves, I'm caught under them, and not letting them be part of me. I need to become all of myself, I need to accept what is me. Then I might notice how beautiful the trees are, how glorious this forest is.

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