Last night, my daughter and I were talking about a Catholic nun, Sister Carmen, who works with the local Catholic schools tirelessly gathering food for the homeless and hungry people who come to area Catholic churches for help. My daughter called her a saint and though she is not a saint as measured by the church, she is a living saint to my daughter and me because she lives for the poor.
Another local woman, Evelyn, has dedicated her life, also, to raising food for the poor in her ‘neighborhood,’ which has grown quite large these past couple of years. I saw her on the news last week and she said something like, “Times are hard right now and I know many people are hurting, but I also know that even those who are hurting will give what they can for those who have nothing. Our need is great and I know we will raise more food this year than we ever have.” And she will, no doubt about it.
Stories like these are so moving. Our hearts are touched by this capacity to love that is far beyond what most of us experience because we are not living for others–we are living mostly for ourselves. Sometimes I think back to being in church in my mid-twenties, dedicating my life to God’s work. Part of me meant it, the part that has always had an awareness of love and miracles. The other part of me, a natural part of being human, had my own hopes, wanted my own dreams fulfilled. I rebuked myself for not ‘living for God’ to the extent that I eventually became ill and incapacitated.
Those with a known-calling grow up and get right to it, but some of us, like me, can feel connected to God yet have hopes and dreams for our own lives, having what is called a dual-nature. I wish I would’ve known it was okay to be myself before I got sick. (Maybe my experience will help someone else who’s feeling this kind of guilt.) Ultimately we all come to Earth seeking the highest expression of ourselves: to be at-one with God. But in the meantime, we must be who we are now–how can we be anyone else?–and live our dreams. The truth is, we grow closer to God by growing closer to the dreams of our hearts, because God put them there. All our living, even the stumbling, even the falling down, weaves together into a beautiful tapestry to which God adds light.