well, it happened. . .

     . . . I cannot believe my year’s goal was tested so soon, and the need for it exposed so clearly!  Here we are, Jan. 2.!  I was in Mass, and I had to walk right by the person who is most difficult for me in Irving.  We were situated such that I could not avoid her at all; if I did not say hello, it would have been rude.  So I did say hello, as best I could.
     My spiritual goal for this year is respecting others.  This goal has arisen out of last year’s goal (2010), which was love.  When I set the goal, I had no idea what kind of love I meant, but Jacob recommended it and I liked the idea of seeking out deeper levels of love.  What happened in 2010 was a deepening of love in some of my current relationships, immediate family and close friends, which was truly wonderful.
    But exposed in this process was a vice: I have a very, very hard time being loving to people whom I meet on the street, or who are not close relationships for me.  I do not respect them as I should.  They are important, real people who should be honored, and I have a hard time doing that, esp. ones who happen to be irritating.  I feel immature in this regard: to be nice when it is easy, but not nice when it is hard is just not who I want to be.  
    So there I am in Mass, and it is OBVIOUS to me that God is saying, “Here you are, it is time to learn to respect B. [this lady].”  The priest happens to be discussing the star of Bethlehem, and he says, “Astronomers in ancient times believed that a star is born when ever a person is born.  A particularly brightly shining star meant to them that a significant person has been born.”  I realize that B.’s star is very bright.  I imagine the star of Bethlehem shining over her, and suppose that her star might be just as bright in the Father’s eyes.
     I pray after communion for her, and for all the people whom it is not easy to love–the cashier at the grocery store; an irritating waitress.  I think of them all having these bright stars shining over them, and how I should respect them, honor their tremendous dignity, and in so doing, love them.  I ask God to help me see their stars so that my smile can be genuine and my tone sincere.  Because goodness knows, my smile is wiry and my tone is forced!  Good thing I have 363 more days to work on improvement!