Last week, a friend asked us to pray for him. John Desjarlias is a talented writer of mysteries with strong Catholic themes. Bleeder came out last year from Sophia Press, and he's under contract for the next one, Viper. However, Viper has been giving him a lot of trouble writing--so much trouble that it's affecting his concentration and outlook. He feels under spiritual attack.
I can certainly identify with that feeling. While my writing probably doesn't warrant much notice by the Forces of Evil (or the Forces of Good, for that matter), I often feel like my work as a mother is foiled by devil. I don't want to get into the specific issues, but sometimes it seems like one step forward and two back.
I was musing about John's trouble writing and my kid conundrums during Mass. It struck me that one of the lessons of the Crucifixion is that worthwhile things aren't always easy to obtain. I think the people of the past understood that better than we do. Let's face it--the cure for pain is a pill away in most cases, communication is nearly instantaneous, entertainment and distraction not just available but pushed on us. We balk when things get tough, or wonder what's wrong or what we're doing wrong, or think we're under attack.
We take it into our faith, too. A great proportion of Christians think that salvation is as simple and instant (and casual) as saying, "Sure, I believe." In fact, they don't think it's fair that God "made" Jesus suffer for us--and that Jesus chose to obey. A girl at a protestant church group my daughter visited with a friend announced that she was mad at Jesus for dying on the cross, to which Amber replied, "You'd better be grateful, or we would not be saved today!"
Life was perfect in the Garden of Eden--but was it easy? I'm not sure. One thing I do know: once we left Eden, "easy" was not to be taken for granted, but too often we do. Too often, I do. I work hard, but I wonder how often I really rise to a challenge that pushes me past my limits. Or do I see the challenge and just complain that it should be easier, and take a different path?
I need to get off the easy path. I need to accept my own Via Dolorosa. God help me on my journey.