Mission: Impossible

While seemingly unrelated to the upcoming Christmas post, recent events have preempted original plans . . . part II, a.k.a. “Christmas post”, coming shortly.

It’s hard. It’s just plain hard. Have I mentioned how hard it is? How really hard it is? Sometimes, well . . . it seems beyond hard; it seems to fall within the realm of Mission: Impossible. This, the Euchariesto, is . . . hard.

When I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, except, perhaps, the light of yet another oncoming locomotive . . . it’s hard. When my world is upside down and even a remote possibility of it righting itself any time soon is non-existent . . . it’s hard. When life is nothing more than one insurmountable obstacle after another . . . it’s hard. When life is nothing short of a boxing match and I’m pinned on the mat being pummeled mercilessly . . . it’s hard. In those hard moments . . . it’s hard.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, . . . .”  Ay, there’s the rub – if I choose to accept it.  In those impossibly difficult moments . . . it’s hard to choose the Eucharestio. Yet, I have a choice. I can choose to accept the seemingly impossible mission of practicing the Euchariesto in those moments. I can choose to accept the seemingly impossible mission of engaging in giving thanks in those moments. It’s hard . . . it’s just plain hard . . . the tantalizing-seems easier-mirage of laps around Mt. Sinai looms on the horizon . . . when throwing the towel in is within the realm of ‘Mission: Possible’ . . . and I must decide: what do I want?

What do I really want?

Do I want to see? Do I want the place of seeing?

And in those moments . . . it’s a hard choice. It’s an almost impossibly hard choice because I must be, when those moments not only back me into a corner but smash me against its sharp edges, willing. I must decide whether or not I’m willing to accept the mission.

When every fiber of my being just wants to give God an unpleasant earful reminder of how impossibly hard a life spiraling out-of-control actually is, I must decide – do I want to see?

It is in those moments that I must make a hard choice.

“I can complain because the rose bush has thorns, or rejoice because the thorn bush has a rose.” ~Abraham Lincoln

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, do I want to see beauty? Do I want the place of seeing beauty?

It is in those impossibly hard moments that I realize that I must decide if the rose has thorns or if the thorns have a rose. Which do I want to see – the thorns or the rose?

Let’s pause for a moment and play a variation of the game “Would You Rather?” A “would you rather” question requires you to choose between two options this or that.  Both choices are of equal values. The idea is why you have chosen one option above the other. For example, Would you rather be stranded alone on an island or with someone you hate? Would you rather only be able to whisper or only be able to shout?

Ready?

Would you rather accept “Mission Impossible: Eucharisteo” or accept “Mission Mirage: Mt. Sinai”?

More importantly, why did you choose the mission you did?

I suppose your reasoning depends on how long you’ve been in the wilderness, how many laps you’ve logged, or even how desperate you are.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole, anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’ So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.” (Numbers 21:8,9)

If I want to see, I must choose to see. If I want to see, I must choose to gaze upon the beauty hidden among the thorns. “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek . . . to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord . . . .” (Psalm 27:4).

When the reality of your life is closer to ‘the light at the end of the tunnel is another oncoming locomotive’, when the mirage of “Mission: Mt. Sinai” makes a deliciously tantalizing option – then, why in thunder would you want to add ‘impossible’ to ‘already impossibly hard’??

Isn’t the quintessence of beauty worth accepting the impossible?

What do you really want? Do you want to see? Or are you content to only imagine the GPS isn’t “recalculating” as you make circuitous laps around the mountain? Do you want impossible or inevitable?

If I want the place of seeing the rose, I must choose to practice the Euchariesto in those moments. If I want the place of seeing the rose, I must choose to utter thanks in the midst of the infinite number of curve balls life is throwing at me. If I want the place of seeing beauty amid the ashes, see the rose, I must choose to accept Mission: Impossible. If I want to see, I must choose to see.

What do you really want?

“But, Lord, it doesn’t make sense to add ‘impossible’ to ‘impossibly hard! This is just too hard . . . this is a mess . . . no, this isn’t right . . . this isn’t what I signed up for . . . this isn’t in line with my plans . . . seriously, Lord . . . um, You’ve got this whole thing wrong . . . .”

It’s a hard choice. It’s a painfully hard choice. But if I want to see the rose among the thorns, I must be willing to look for it.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it . . . .”

Do I choose to trust and practice a difficult Euchariesto or do I yield to the despair, fear, and anxiety that comes with inevitable laps?

My heart says of You, “Seek My face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. [T]his is what I seek: . . . to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. ~Psalm 27: 8, 4

 And when I choose to stop, when I choose to accept the mission, to pause even mid-lap, and begin to worship, begin to adore the One whose beauty is past change, begin to utter thanks for the hidden beauty . . . despair begins to give way to expectation. My Euchariesto pauses time as I begin to expect God to be in this place . . . in this moment . . . this incredibly hard moment . . . . And I begin to see the rose hidden among the thorns.

What do you want? Do you want to see? Do you want to see the rose or the thorns?

Mission: Impossible . . . it’s a hard choice.

One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations. ~St. John of Avila

Gift List ~ Grace List

. . . 69. Toby Mac & Jamie Grace: “I love the way You hold me”
70. orange creamsicles
71. check-up phone calls & emails from friends
72. “Splat Says ‘Thank You'” (book title)
73. God’s presence in the hardest Euchariesto . . .