Maybe when we reach the end it’s just a choice between a barren cross and endless riches of gold. The foolish will be certain that Heaven is the one of gold, forgetting all Earthly things mean nothing to the dead. But those who loved Christ till the end will embrace the cross knowing all the treasures it bares.
Is that not the choice we face each day? The choice to save your life or lose it for the sake of others. The choice to embrace the cross or to grasp at shiny nothings.
Is that not also the difference between joy and happiness. Joy is everlasting, where happiness stays for but a moment.
With my Grandma passing last Friday, I’ve been thinking a lot about death and Heaven. I’ve thought about how the greatest joy in life is to love and be loved, therefore Heaven must be that and more.
Death is not the end, but the beginning of the greatest moments of our lives.
A couple weeks ago I was picking up my messy classroom after my students had a bit of an off day behavior wise. For once I noticed that it did not bother me. I laughed while picking up pieces of shredded paper. I really do love these kids even on the days that they fall short of expectations.
As I bent over to grab the last few pieces of trash my pin ,which is a bundle of wheat, fell off my back pack and broke.
It had been there since college when one of my friends pinned it to the strap of my back pack out of the blue. As this pin fell I heard the Lord say, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and does it shall bear no fruit”.
It spoke volumes to my heart, and oddly enough I had been praying with that Gospel passage for a while. That passage later goes on to say “… Whoever loves his life, will lose it. And whoever hates his life in this world, preserves it unto eternal life.”
John 12:25. This is the verse that has kept me here in the Bronx on the hardest days and has become the core of what I want my vocation to look like. I had a teacher tell me as I sat on the phone for an hour in tears seriously considering going home, “Service starts when it stops making sense to show up.” Diving further into this I would say a true act of love is not defined my the worthiness or openness of the recipient. But the ability of the giver to love “even if,” not “only if”. It doesn’t make sense to pour out your life’s savings over the feet of a crippled man. But that’s exactly what Christ is asking us to do. He is asking us to do the ridiculous. He’s asking us to empty ourselves completely and trust that He’s going to fill us right back up.
He’s not asking for perfection, He’s asking for our total selves. He’s asking us to stop bending and breaking our selves to what we think he wants us to be. He delights in the person we are. He is asking us to die to our selfish pride and vanity.
I just want to be that grain of wheat. I wanna die without fear of the fruit I will never reap. I want to have faith that God has laid me in rich soil. Every student I teach, every child I bare, every life I o touch I want it to bear the fruit of just knowing they are loved. It’s that simple. Because if we know we are loved then we know we are worth more than any summation of sin or labor. We are forever in debt to a Divine Creator. But our debt has been forgiven.
I know I’m kind of rambling, but truly it’s a beautiful thing to think about. It’s beautiful to know very bit of suffering in this life can be embraced knowing Heaven awaits. Sometimes after a long day I joke with my boyfriend saying, “We are gonna be rich”.
And I’m not talking thick in the wallet, I’m talking rich with graces in this life and the next. As hard as this mission has been, it’s already been filled with so many crazy graces. It’s truly beyond anything I could ever deserve.