Thursday Reflection 1.10.19

Thursday Reflection                                                                                                    

Inspired to make a difference” 

January 10, 2019

I long ago had stopped making New Year’s resolutions since I tend to break them so easily.  I think this year, I am proposing one for myself and anyone else who has the courage to take the challenge.  As often happens in my unusual life as an adoptive Border collie parent, this resolution is born from a conversation we had during one of our cold wet early morning “bathroom” – and – exercise walks!

Dodging rain drops, Abby asked me what “zero sum” means as it refers to politics or economics.  Now what I know about either discipline would fit into a thimble, but this I do know: the phrase assumes that there is only a finite and limited about of “x” in the world (and “x” can be food, powermoney, love or anything for that matter.   Whatever I possess will take away from you.  There is no middle ground.  If I win, you must lose!  If I have authority, you must submit.  If they “love” me, they must “hate” you.    (I know this is a bit simplistic, and it makes life sound like the one-and-done format of the NFL playoffs, but like I told you, I am no political or economic theorist)

As I tried explaining what I barely understand and do not believe in to my far-too-inquisitive border collie, her theological acuity kicked in.  She wanted to know if I believed that God was so limited, eg, if God infinitely loves me, then God must love someone else less.  I explained that, to me, that’s what the theory would hold, but I can’t buy that.  She then asked me, does this kind of thinking undergird all our politics today:  one must never compromise.  One must win and this means one must destroy the other.  I told her that political practitioners might not express their thoughts so crassly, but it is hard to not see this being played out day after day in the public arena.

Although I am tugging at her to come in out of the rain, she digs in her paws and asks:  so is that why some people leave their respective groups (be that group a “family,” a “church” a “club,” etc?  If I can’t get my way all the time, then I quit.  Again, I tried to explain that this is a rather simplistic way of viewing things, but to be honest, for some, this is exactly why they move on.  Others may have tried and tired of compromise.  Some must never do so as they deem themselves always right all the time.

So here is my resolution for 2019:  I am going to religiously try to avoid “zero sum” thinking!  If I do not get my own way, I will be at peace with the final decisions of others.  I will not treat my opponent as my enemy.  I will try to imitate our beloved Master who wishes us to love others, even our enemies, with the same steadfast love that God always has for us.  Now I do have one advantage as I hope to live out this resolution: I know who will be watching me each morning and asking if I am keeping my resolution.   Of course, then she’ll more than likely ask me to slip her more food for breakfast as long as mommy doesn’t find out.

Fr. Joe