Unless otherwise specified, all writing here on my blog is my own original work. If you refer to something I've written here, please be sure to give me proper credit.

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED: Please don't let that deter you from commenting, though. I LOVE to read your thoughts! I only ask that you keep it clean & respectful.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On the Level with HandyGramps - Grace, Part One

This is an updated paper HandyGramps wrote for his final in a college course from 1989. It's too long for one post, so I'm breaking it up into three parts. Today, Thursday, & Friday. Enjoy & feel free to comment...he'd love to hear your thoughts.

Reflections: A Conversation with My Self
            “So!” my Other Self said, startling me as he jumped out of my inner being.  “Now you know all about this grace stuff, seein’s you’ve taken a course on it.
            “Now, come on!” I protested after my heart stopped racing.  “I don’t know all about it, but…”
            “Yeh!” OS interrupted.  “You’re going to tell me that you know more than you did before.”
            “Right,” I replied.
            “Well,” OS went on, “let me tell you something.  I know you only too well, and right now you know just enough to get yourself into trouble.”
            “What do you mean?”  I was starting to get a bit perturbed at OS.  He does this to me all the time.
            “I mean that you’re still wishy-washy on what you really know, or think you know, about grace.”  OS paused to let that sink in.  OS knows just how to play me, and he knew he had me where he wanted me.
            “Listen,” he continued, “you don’t usually realize it, but you’re still pretty weak – in the applications department, I mean.  You’re too easily swayed when it comes to applying yourself to a particular line of thought.  Worse yet, I’ve noticed it most often when you come across a new thinking about your faith.  Too many things ‘make sense’ to you.”  (I could “feel” the quotes around ‘make sense’ – he has a knack for that.)
            “Now, just a danged minute here!”  I felt my face flush, partly from anger and partly because I knew OS was right.  “You aren’t being fair!  I’m just being open-minded about things,” I lied – and we both knew it.  OS just stared at me – through me, really (I hate when he does that).  I started to squirm, not knowing how to get out of this one.
            “Do you remember what you said when you started this course?” he asked.
            “What? I said a lot of things.”
            “You said that you were really looking forward to the class because in all your years in Catholic schools, in all the books you’ve read, and even in studying for the diaconate, you never really gained a clear understanding of what grace is.  You could never quite put a finger on a description of it.”
            “Oh, that,” I said.  “Well, it’s true.  I knew all the stock answers, but none of them told me what grace really is.  They all left me hanging somehow.”
            “So now you do know?”  OS eyed me suspiciously, as if I were about to cast myself into another lie.
            “Well…” I began.
            “Well, nothing,” OS interrupted, obviously refusing to give me that chance.  “I’m going to tell you right now that you still don’t have a good enough answer, and you never will until…” (he paused, searching for the right words, words that would be firm and to the point, yet caring – he’s like that) “…until you learn to open yourself up to the realities of your faith.  You were real good at writing about vulnerability, about hope versus confidence, and freedom, and so on.  You turn a phrase well, but when are you going to allow those things to become a part of YOU?”
            “Hey!” I said, raising my voice.  “I know I’m vulnerable, I know what it means to have hope. And you know that I know – you’re a part of me, remember?”
            “For heaven’s sake, don’t remind me.  I have to deal with that every day.”
            OS turned to stare out the window.  It was raining, and I was sure that the dismal, gray day was largely responsible for our being at each others’ throats.  When he turned around to face me, he had an odd smirk on his face.  I cringed, not knowing what he had up his sleeve.  He scares me when he does that, and I felt a subtle shiver ascend my spine.
            “Do me a favor,” OS asked, “and get out your notes.  Not your class notes, but the one you were planning to use for your reflection paper.”

~ To Be Continued ~