That's it. That's the entire list. I roll my eyes at our culture of entitlement sometimes, but I forget just how deeply I am embedded in it myself. I sometimes get angry that I don't get to experience some of the things that "everyone" gets to experience. Yes, it hurts. No, it is not good to be alone. And yet I am still entitled to nothing.
I used to feel like if I did everything that God asked of me, OF COURSE He would finally answer my prayers. OF COURSE it would all work out and it would be so much better because of all the waiting and it would be as perfect as anything in this world could be. And everyone could see why you work through the hard stuff: because if you do it right, it all works out in the end.
The thing is, it isn't so. Sometimes it does work out, but heartbreak of one sort may give way to heartbreak of another sort. Sometimes you do it all right, and you check all the boxes, and it still doesn't work and it still won't happen. Sometimes it doesn't work out because you are intent about doing things a certain way (think trying to date in a hook up culture when you don't hook up, or trying to get pregnant but you won't use artificial technologies). You know why you're doing what you're doing, you know why it's worth it to you, but you also have to fully acknowledge that the very fact of doing it may cost you your shot at what you want.
We are not entitled to something because we went about all of the "right" ways of getting it. Entitlement, prosperity gospel, whatever you want to call it, I do it sometimes without realizing what I'm doing. I can be called to a certain vocation (marriage) but I am not entitled to that fulfillment. I really do hope that singleness will not always be my story, but if it changes, it is not because I deserved it or earned it. There are many who deserved it every bit as much as I did, but it never happened for them. Each day, and each breath is a gift. Even the things that feel unfair are a gift. I think surrender is often realizing that nothing belongs on the list above. I don't think it's wrong to desire good things, I just think sometimes we put them on that list where they don't belong.
Following is a bulleted list of just a few of the gifts that I have received that I am thankful for:
- For an outspoken priest whose homily was a good reminder today that I am not entitled to anything.
- For a great talk with my sister today.
- For a job that I love that challenges me to stretch, whether I like it or not.
- For an opportunity to become more aware of how I spend my money, so that I can make more deliberate choices.
- For wonderful people in my life.
- For all your wonderful responses on my last post; thank you, it really meant a lot to me.
- For an opportunity to visit an amazing place this weekend.
- For each new day that gives us the opportunity to do better and start over as needed.
- For the joy of riding my bike.
- For the joy of beautiful September days.
- For honesty and authenticity opening doors in friendships.
- For a relaxing weekend.
- For books that give me a glimpse outside my own little world.
- For the fact that this list could go on and on.