I am supposed to be studying for tomorrow's theology mid-term right now. Plus, I have an unexpected house guest coming tonight, and I leave for a 3-day leadership gathering Thursday morning. It is yet another example of life clumping together, and I am somewhat used to it by now. It means that I have to made good choices in order to put attention and focus to those things that are the most important in this moment, and that is always a good exercise for me. I do believe I am getting better at making the right choices and not adding stress to the mix (that would be a bad choice).
Anyway, on Monday morning there was another clumping together in our household, a collision if you will. Dean and Tea (the little black cat) and the shower door all tried to occupy the same time and space for a brief moment. If you know anything about physics, this simply cannot be done. These three items (one object and two living beings) are not divine nor members of the trinity, so existing within each other is not possible. Something had to give. Surprisingly, out of the three, the shower door was the one that did not come out unscathed. Dean gave way to Tea but threw himself off-balance in doing so; he grabbed onto the shower door, and the shower door gave way to a greater force.
It is amazing that the strong will give way to the weak, most often at cost to themselves. I have seen Dean do this before, putting himself in a difficult position in order to protect a weaker person. It is one of the most beautiful characteristics about him and the sure sign of a trustworthy leader. He will not put others at risk in order to protect himself. He will not mow over the lowly in order to maintain his present status. He will go out of his way to guard those who are in a vulnerable position. And he often pays a cost. Not many may see this, but he pays. Sacrifice always costs, otherwise it would not be true sacrifice. Sacrifice that is acknowledged has some built-in payoff, but sacrifice that no one sees is truly sacrifice.
There are many who sacrifice daily in their lives and we do not know about it. We do not know the time they spend in prayer, lifting us up before God, or the effort they put out to provide resources that we enjoy, or the preparation they go through so that we can eat and live and participate in life in a full way, or the times they rework their own plans so that they can make something happen for us.
I want to say thank you to Dean who does all that for me, and to my family and to many others that I don't know about. Let me never take their sacrifice for granted. And let me never take the sacrifice of Jesus lightly. It makes this wondrous life of grace possible.
These are some benches waiting for someone to occupy them outside St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal.