I am very grateful that I do not suffer from very many sleepless nights. Last night was one, however. It's funny what I start to think about at 2:00 AM. Mainly I start to think about people I have met and gotten to know over the course of my life. As a result of thinking about people, I start to think about places, which makes me remember growing up in Ogden, Utah. Even when I was a teenager, even though I wanted to, I never felt I would go anywhere or do anything. So, it always amazes me to think about the places I've been and the things I have done. In kind of a circular sweep, I once again start thinking about some of the people I have met along the way.
Frankly, if I did not know so many wonderful people, I would be a misanthrope. This is how experience not only shapes, but sometimes overrides what I think. I guess I have been very blessed to meet and to get to know so many truly wonderful people. I admit that it is often the case that it takes time for me to like many of the people I meet. I realize that this flows from my own insecurity. In other words, it is easy and kind of natural for me to see others as a threat. A lot of this is the result of essentially being an introvert (being introverted is not synonymous with being shy).
I remember when I was in formation to become a deacon and during one of our third year sessions Deacon Owen Cummings said something like "We have to learn to see others as blessings and not as threats." This is a challenge for me on many fronts. One of those fronts is consciously trying to be a blessing to others and not, out of insecurity, try to be intimidating, which can be done in a number of ways. Trying to be physically imposing, or intellectually imposing, or even spiritually imposing.
At the end of my late-night musings, I can't help but think of Christ, not least because I start to worry, especially about others. I think of all the people I have been privileged to serve, even before my ordination. I think of the many people I have encountered through RCIA and think of those I have not seen in a long time. I wonder where they are, how they are doing, whether they are still attending Mass, going to confession, and otherwise living and growing in the faith, living in the awareness of their destiny, recognizing in Christ their origin and end. Thinking about these things becomes burdensome, which is why I start to pray for them; for those who seem have been laid upon my heart, whose faces I see clearly. I am reminded that the Lord is kind and merciful, that He is our Savior. I think of how much responsibility my bishop has, how much our vicar general, who is also our vicar for clergy, has, how much is entrusted to the rector of our Cathedral and I pray for them. I also thank God that I am called to help them and pray that I can be a good deacon, a good servant.
This morning I was led to a passage from the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel, which is God's word for me today, a word of comfort and of joy:
"All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day" (verses 37-40).
Jesus, I trust in you.