Monday, November 13, 2006

My Week Part 2 - Mississauga

I've already blogged about my first trip to Mississauga this past Tuesday, so I'll skip to Thursday.

For the past few months, I've been meeting with a spiritual director as part of my program requirements for school. Although I started doing it because I had to, I have come to the point where I really enjoy our sessions. We talk about all sorts of things ranging from my self-inflicted pain from procrastination to relationships to how my world is being absolutely rocked by the book 'The Irresistible Revolution'. This past Thursday we had another really good session. We started by going through an exercise where he read a story from one of the gospel accounts and as I listened to the story, I tried to enter into the story and imagine the different sights, smells and emotions of the encounter as if I was actually there. The story he read was Luke 7:36-50. It says this:

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

As I listened, right off the bat I latched onto the 5th word in this story: PHARISEE. As he continued reading, I found myself stepping into the shoes of Simon and finding some eerie similarities between him and I. In the spirit of confession, and for the sake of being totally vulnerable, here's the side-by-side comparison I found between Simon the Pharisee and myself:

.:He was judgmental:. ... .:I am judgmental:.

I've noticed lately that I allow my visual perceptions determine my emotional response to others. In reflecting upon my internal attitude towards others as of late, I've discovered that I'm not as patient and understanding as I once thought I was. Instead of seeing people as they are, I allow my mind to tell me to treat them as someone who isn't living as they should. Instead of seeing the potential in people, I allow my mind to tell me that they've given up.

For example: I find myself spending quite a bit of time in the cafe. Just this week alone, I've been there pretty much every day, whether as a barista, or just kickin' it. There are certain people who walk into the cafe that I'm really excited to see. But there are others who come into the cafe that make me wish we were closed. For the people who fit into the latter category, these are typically people who I would consider 'emotionally draining', and because of that, I do my best to avoid them or make certain our conversations are either non-existent, or as short as humanly possible. The sad part is I didn't use to be this way. I think somewhere along the lines I've become jaded or just plain morphed into a jerk to these certain people. I think that just because these certain individuals are harder to get along with that I have the right to treat them like dirt? Why is it so easy for me to love certain people, but harder to love others? Where in the frig did pick up these lies? I hate where my mind has taken me, and I hate even more that I've given in to these lies.

.:He's embarrassingly prideful:. ... .:I am embarrassingly prideful:.

I think I know it all. Most of the time I hide it well because I'm a non-confrontational and intellectually reserved Chinese guy, but if you could spend a
few moments in my mind and see the sespool of junk that's spinning around, not only would you be horrified, but probably recommend that I seek professional and medical help. But that's the thing, I hide my pride well, but I know it's there. Although Simon seems to express is pride for all the world to see, that same pride is in me, and I just happen to have the personality type to suppress it, and I know that this doesn't make me any better.

That's was what we talked about in a nutshell.

Oh, one more thing. A couple sessions ago, I mentioned that after reading some of 'The Irresistible Revolution', I became convicted about the amount of excess I have, especially in the area of feet coverings. Instead of ignoring such convictions, I decided to do something about it, which amounted to me giving away a pair of brand new shoes that I recently ordered to a friend. Well, a couple weeks later, I find myself in possession of a new pair of shoes, except this pair wasn't purchased, but given to me. As our time together was wrapping up, I mentioned this to my spiritual director in a rather nonchalant manner and asked 'Are these two incidents related, or coincidence?' We didn't really talk much about this, be he did mention that there are some people who take the prosperity gospel too far. All I could do is agree and hope that it was a coincidence, because I really like these new shoes. (See? I do have an addiction.)


At 6:45 PM, Blogger Natasha said...

First let me say thank you. Thanks for opening up and putting yourself out there.
I think that continually choosing to love the people around you is one of the hardest things that God asks of us. Whether it be loving those that we preceive as hard to talk to or draining, or whether it be people that upset us or persecute us. I know that the lesson of loving is not one that I have even come close to do the way I should.
At least you know yourself well enough to know where you struggle. In the knowing you can change.
Just my thoughts... thanks again for sharing.


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