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Lenten Journey Day 24 – Rock, Paper, Scissors
One of the early games we learn as children is the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Standing across from our opponent we produce one of these symbols as a hand gesture. A flattened hand is the symbol of paper, a clenched fist is a rock, and two fingers extending forward are scissors. Each item in this trinity has its own strength as well as its own weakness. Each has power over another and is overcome by another. Scissor cuts paper but is crushed by the rock. Paper covers the rock but is shredded by the scissor. Rock breaks the scissor but is made invisible by the paper.
Each item in its own right has seeming power and at the same time is betrayed by its own intrinsic weakness.
This week we have been examining our lives in terms of stewardship, that is, what is our responsibility and purpose in life, have been entrusted with the gifts of God, the greatest of which is our life! Being managers of life means we have to coordinate the working of our breath, smile, heartbeat, feelings and actions. We each have, like the rock, paper, and scissors, our own weaknesses and our own strengths.
In a society that places so much emphasis on outward appearances, unfortunately, it is easy for us to overlook some of our greatest strengths. The Lenten Journey has given us opportunities for introspection and to identify our strengths. By viewing our self as a steward of God’s goodness, we quickly realize how special we are as a unique creation of God. That is, we may be thin and fragile like the paper, but we have unique qualities which can show its strength and tenacity over the hard rocks of life. Individually, we have unique qualities, but in the grand playing field of life, we bring our talents together for the betterment of the team, the whole.
Today we look at the talents that God bestows upon us. How do we use those talents to overcome the difficulties in life? Are we a piece of paper? Can we cover the rocks in our lives? Perhaps we are scissors and we can cut the paper that hide and blanket our progress. And if we are rocks, we must use that mass to crush the scissors that tear us apart. We have these strengths within us. It is just a matter of spreading those unique qualities on field and realizing with so many different people and different talents, we are playing on an even playing field.
God gives us the unique strengths. To drive that power, he gives us freedom, love, and compassion. We are called to explore all the dimensions of life so that we can maximize our potential. As we live life we begin to notice our weakness and that gives way to fear. It is only natural. Now we understand that to overcome those fears, we need not to look without, but to look within. Our strength is within us. Sure, we may be scared. But consider on the even playing field, that it may be something as simple as a piece of paper that is covering us, shadowing us, preventing us from seeing all of the beauty around us. Quickly, we realize that we have within us the scissor to cut apart that paper. We may be scared of those scissors that are tearing us apart, that are leaving us in bits and pieces between family relationships, our work and our love. But we realize that we have the rock within us to crush apart that hatred that divides us from the things that we love. And of course, we may be fearful of some of the rocks that can unexpectedly crush some of our enjoyment. But right away let’s remember that much like the paper there are parts of us that can become the shadow, the umbrella over those rocks, over those difficulties to prevent those rocks from ever surfacing or even getting close to us. We do have that strength within us. Lent gives us this opportunity to inventory those strengths as well as our fears, and realize that we can overcome the bad with the good.
A simple childhood game, “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and the week of the Steward reminds us of our strengths and weaknesses and how we manage them. Life has its ups and downs, with moments of difficulties and moments of happiness and glory. But in all things, we are one with God when we take advantage of the gifts that He has given us. Celebrate the talents that make us who we are.
Let us pray the prayer of St. Nerses Shnorhali:
Oh Christ, who are the living fire, inflame my soul with the fire of your love which you did set forth upon this Earth that it may burn the stains of my soul, sanctify my conscience, purge the sins of my body and kindle in my heart the light of your knowledge. Have mercy upon all your creatures and upon me, a great sinner. Amen. (I Confess with Faith)