Covid-19 isolation has had me thinking about many things but especially about my expectations in life. I know I am not alone in this. Society, family and friends place expectations on us and imply that if we fulfill them, we will be happy. This time of isolation has given us the chance to test those expectations and ask if they are really valid.
Buzzing in my head has been one of the early question/answers from the old Penny Catechism, (ask your grandparents what that is) ‘Why did God make me?’ ‘To know, love and serve him and to be happy with him forever.’ I have looked at various expectations made on me and asked ‘Does this help me know, love or serve God?’ but especially I have asked of many things in my life, does this make me happy? We can end up taking on a lot in our lives that has nothing to do with happiness.
God wants me to be happy in heaven and the place to start is now. If I can’t be happy here, God is going to have trouble trying to make me happy there. As I child, my mother sent me to learn the piano. It was not a happy experience. My teacher was a nasty woman. She broke Bic biros over my fingers and asked why I was crying. When practising, Mum used to yell at me to count, which didn’t help. In spite of all that, after 53 years away I took up the piano again last year…and it has been a revelation. I have discovered it is called playing the piano. There was no play in childhood but there is now and it brings me happiness. Of, course there are scales and repetitious practice and all the boring stuff but it is worth it because but I am enjoying what I am playing.
So now I am asking of the various aspects of my life: ‘Does this help me to know, love or serve God or others or does this increase my happiness?’ And if it does not, out it goes. Life is too short for stuff that doesn’t help us to live and love. We are made to grow into the fullness of God.
Loving God, help me to look at the expectations that I take on. Give me your wise Spirit so that I may question and find what is life-giving and love-enhancing. And let me drop what is negative. I ask this in Jesus’ name confident that you will hear me.
Sr Kym Harris osb