It is the eve of a new year and I am thinking tonight of how imperfect I am, of how often I fail at being the person I want to be, and just how hard life in the every day living often is.
We had a harrowing trip back from Massachusetts visiting family this past weekend. Making a semi educated guess that the roads would be travellable we left late afternoon Sunday and pretty quickly got mixed up in some messy roads in New Hampshire. Just when we thought things were getting better, we would enter into scary road territory again. It was sleet, snow, and freezing rain the whole way. The worst was when a car had spun out ahead of us as we were ascending a steep hill on the highway. We had to slow down so as not to hit this car and lost our traction. We were unable to get up the hill. After a 1/2 hour of trying and a state trooper helping us get off to the side a tow truck came by and asked us if we needed a lift (he couldn’t find the car he was supposed to help). So we took a ride up on a flatbed to the next exit and then drove a ways more to a hotel and called it a night.
It was scary. I wanted so badly to not have fear, for my faith to be enough. Strangely it was when things were most perilous when we were stuck in the middle of the highway that I felt most calm, even amidst the kids having a ginormous screaming fight in the back seat.
I prayed the whole trip, but in the end I pushed Kevin to let us stay at a hotel, my heart just couldn’t handle any more. Maybe the rest of the way would be better, maybe we really were through the worst of it, maybe…
Sometimes we are just pushed to our limits and we snap, other times we are given the grace to keep on. I don’t know why in one moment I have the strength and in the next I don’t.
I do know though that there is no eternal “fail” in this life, no point of giving up. There is only try and try again.
I think these days more and more about the Catholic sacrament of Reconciliation. It is there and no where else in my life that I can fully make amends, be cleared of my failings and get back up for the second, third, fourth… etc. time and try again. The more I account for the places in my life I struggle with the more compassion I have for each one of us.
I watched the whole of “It’s a Wonderful Life” today, for the 3rd time in my life. The first and second times were last year. I think it is fast becoming my favorite film. Well there were all these moments in the film where people were not their best selves. Mr. Gower, the drug store owner who hits George when he thinks he didn’t make a delivery, George at the end of his rope short with his kids and ready to take his own life and lashing out at Zuzu’s teacher for letting her walk home with her coat open, the man who wanted his full $200 from the Savings and Loan instead of a smaller amount when there was a run on the bank.
There was an understanding in the film that people acted in certain poor ways under pressure, but were not essentially bad people. George Bailey who was widely hailed as a great and giving guy found his breaking point too when a huge sum of money is missing from the Saving and Loans’ accounts and there is a very good chance he could go to jail for it.
We are NOT perfect people.
Instead of resolutions this year, I think I’d like reconciliations. I’ll try for my best and when I inevitably fall, I’ll ask for forgiveness from myself, anyone else involved, and God, and then get back up to try again.
Yeah it’s messy and not clear cut, but it’s life, and the best way I know how to live it.
Wishing y’all a Happy New Year.