Thank you for popping back after my extended time away from the blog. First I spent a few days with the dog and another brother priest and his dog "camping." Then last week all the priests of the diocese were (supposed to be) with the bishop for what was part business and part retreat (and part playing cards.)
The two weeks were relatively stress free and the world seemed nicer and brighter and chores seemed easier to do. One of the first when coming home from the bishop's meeting was to walk the dog.
Whenever we walk through the park, I come across litter and spend some time picking it up. I am not the only one who does this. I know a number of dedicated neighbors who make it a point to try to keep our neighborhood looking fabulous.
It's just that I have come to know some people through their litter. There is the person who ALWAYS gets a BIG GULP and drops it on the devil strip as he drives by. There is the person who drinks cheap beer and "hides" the can under a picnic table.
But actually, when I think about the hundreds of people who use the parks near the parish, it is quite amazing that there is only a couple water bottles or forgotten socks or the like.
So coming home from retreat, I decide to have a better attitude.
But God is ironic and loves to test you. I kid you not - I was standing in the park picking up trash and feeling good both about myself and the people who left their trash behind and praying for them when I see a driver THROUGH HIS EMPTY COFFEE CUP OUT OF HIS WINDOW, PULL INTO THE PARK, PARK IN FRONT OF A PERFECTLY VIABLE TRASHCAN TO SIT AND LOOK AT THE BEAUTIFUL TREES.
How does God know exactly how to push you just a little further than you were before A) to show you that you are not as spiritually advanced as you like to fool yourself into believing you are and B) to show you that there is a WHOLE NEW level that you need to climb?
So of course I get all passive aggressive, go out in the street and pick up the cup, walk it over to the trash can which is RIGHT NEXT TO THE GUY IN THE CAR and say . .