By Joseph Jablonski
This past Sunday, I hosted my second session for IndieCatholic Radio. I have been talking about the radio show for the past month to most of my peers, as well to the expanse of Facebook. The radio show started as a beautiful endeavor to try to bring together a vocal dialogue and discussion on moral issues surrounding the Church and society. Additionally, as many of you may have seen, the blog has become very active the past few weeks, with collaboration from many wonderful hands. Readership (that’s you!) has increased, and more people of note are recognizing our contribution to the Catholic community.
However, partially influenced by some of the imperfections in the second session of the radio show, I felt bitter on Sunday afternoon. I not only had wanted to improve my clarity, but also wanted to generate more response from my viewers. No matter how well the show and the blog were doing, I wanted more. My girlfriend aptly observed that I, in being pretty obsessive on the blog’s and radio’s performance for the past few weeks, was suffering from pride. I agreed, and had suspected this. However, I was still left with a troublesome but enduring question: How do I release my pride?
While everyone was watching the Super Bowl that Sunday night, I was at my job; babysitting an empty library. It isn’t a very high-intensity job. I did not want to take a break for food, as I am a new worker, but about an hour into my evening shift, I suddenly felt what I thought were hunger pains. My stomach was aching worse than it had ever ached before. However, I figured that it would go away, and, with no effort of my own, I would feel better, later eat food, and continue on with my life.
However, it didn’t. After I ignored the discomfort for about ten minutes, what was a little pang had become a fist. I asked my coworker if it was okay to head to the school cafeteria, acting as if nothing serious was taking place. He gave me leave, and I headed to the cafeteria as the pain continued to grow. By the time I reached the counter of the convenience store with a bag of Lay’s, the fist had turned into a brick. I was concerned, no, scared, that something was terribly wrong. I began sweating and walking hunched over, trying to hide the clenched and sickly stomach I was now carrying, and trying to alleviate the pain.
Ultimately, I was embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to know of my burden, of my pain. I devoured the the bag of chips to try to solve the problem of hunger. The bag of chips, rather than instantly alleviating my hunger, did nothing. Instead, the pain persisted, and I realized that my feeble attempts to fix my problems with no outside help had done no good. Suddenly, an overwhelming feeling of helplessness rushed over me. Panicked, I tried more food. I stumbled up the stairs to the main cafeteria, barely squeezing a smile as I passed friendly faces, all of whom would have thrown down their lives to help me out of my pain. After aimlessly wandering, now becoming dizzy, I attempted to eat a slice of pizza. However, the discomfort had begun to affect my breathing, and it was becoming too much to handle.
I was lost in my own world. Despite that I was realizing I may be experiencing a major medical emergency, I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to admit my problem. I held on to a fading notion that the pain would just solve itself. I stumbled out of the cafeteria and saw a friend. He simply looked at me with a smile, not seeing the pain that I was hiding, and greeted me joyfully, asking how my evening was going.
In that moment, I had to make a decision. I could continue to hold in my pain, which was tearing me apart from the inside. Or I could, facing true humility, embrace my pain, and admit it to the world. I could seek healing and forgiveness, stretching out my withered hand and heart (Mark 3:5) to Christ and to others. Would I admit my suffering, the pain in my soul and body, or would I hold it in?
I cried to him for help.
Surrounded by Campus Police and EMS services for the next twenty minutes, the pain wore away and I ceased sweating. Without Doctor’s supervision, none of us could conclude what exactly it was. We surmised that it may have occurred due to the fact that I had not eaten since 12:00pm, and I believe that I ended up entering shock. The pain has not returned (if anyone has any idea what this could be, I would be glad to know. Though I’m establishing a metaphor, I don’t like having to deal with mysterious medical situations). I felt weary and tired, and thus I went to bed as early as I could that night.
My question of pride, however, had been answered. Yet the question itself was the problem. “How do I release myself from my pride?” is a contradiction, for if it is our own pride, we cannot release ourselves from it. Pride infects all parts of the soul, to the point that even the most humble action is woven with corruption. It destroys all and is the fuel for sin. How, then, can we face pride?
The answer is “we.” God, family, friends, and all who care, are the keys to ending our pride in each of our souls. While healthy self-love is important, letting that statement dominate our being will turn healthy self-love into selfishness. Our primary focus must be on others. Additional views on my blog and responses on my radio show would be nice; I do even think that it may be the best way for people to come together on issues. Yet, it isn’t the only way, and God reminded me of that when I looked helplessly at my bag of Lay’s. My solutions are not his solutions, and, for reasons I may not know, his solutions may be better. Additionally, looking to others, either for help or to love, is the best way to defeat pride.
Christ told us his yolk was easy and burden light. When the medics asked what the pain felt like, I described it as a brick. Spiritual pain, I now see, is the same way. Let go of the brick, and one can walk tall and with genuine, not forced, joy. It may risk some embarrassment, but humility accomplishes God’s easy yolk, allowing us to live our faith in leaps and bounds.
Copyright (c) 2013 Joseph Jablonski. All Rights Reserved.