Sometimes I just long to return to those happy-go-lucky days when I didn't know squat about the realities of the world and could just indulge in my own personal pursuits. Like how I didn't know about the 54,000,000+ babies aborted since 1973, just that there was a case called Row v. Wade or how much people REALLY hated religion (because I didn't have any either) or how hard it was going to be to try to keep my kids (much less myself) sane in such a screwed-up and insane world. Ah, yes! The days of blissful ignorance.
Sadly, there is no returning. Once you have knowledge of something, there is no returning it. You can try to ignore things, but they are still there, knawing at the back of your brain like termites in the basement just waiting for the floor to cave in underneath you. You can accept things for what they are, but often, you're never happy about it and more often than not, you just build up a lot of resentment for it (I believe this is where angry old people come from) or you can try to change things. This is the hardest to do, but it can be the most rewarding. Sometimes though, you feel like no matter how much you do, it isn't enough, which can be frustrating or depressing. How some people deal with that, I don't know. For the rest of us though, there is Jesus.
Yep, when there's nothing else left for you to do about a situation, you take it up to Calvary, lay it at the foot of the cross, pray on it, and then walk away, leaving it there. Let Jesus take care of it from there. Since nothing is impossible for the Lord and he is more than willing to take up those burdens which are too much for us mere mortals to deal with, we can dump them on him. All he asks in return is the faithful devotion, worship and praise that is due to God the Son and adherance to his commandments. Adherance often feels like a burden too though. Why? Because there was a time when we didn't know any better and we liked it that way. As long as we got away with doing whatever we wanted, without immediate consequence and it "felt good", who cared if it went against God? After all, is there really a God to worry about? The answer is yes, and fortunately, while he is a just God, he is also a merciful and forgiving God.
That, boys and girls is the "good news", God forgives. Not only does he forgive, he grants us a path to that forgiveness up to the moment of our earthly death, no matter how many times we stumble. No matter how many times we screw up. No matter how much we rail against the apparent injustices in the world. as long as we make an honest and deliberate effort to repent, love and serve, we have hope. Hope, along with prayer, is a mighty powerful thing to have. When we pray to the Lord and place our hope in Him. We have nothing to worry about, not even death.
When I went into the hospital last summer with gangrene, I must admit I was a little nervous, but I wasn't afraid. I knew I was in God's hands. Before going into surgery, I received the sacrament of the anointing of the sick from my previous parish priest (he retired a few years ago, but he still gets calls) and I prayed the Lord's Prayer and a Hail Mary and I went in relaxed and comforted, for Jesus was carrying my cross so that I didn't have to, and I knew that in the off-chance that something went wrong, I would be in his presence soon enough, after a stint in purgatory I'm sure. Which brings up another topic. Why do some people try so hard to deny the existence of purgatory? For them it's either straight to heaven or straight to hell and you got a 50/50 shot of going either way. As for me, I expect to make it to heaven, but not right away. In the words of Wayne Campbell, "I'm not worthy!" I expect to go through a good long period of purification after my earthly passing before coming to the full presence of the One Holy Triune God.