Who or what are the “pallbearers” for the death of your dream, ambition, birthright, relationships, gifts or skills – of your joy? In his book, St. Teresa – A Treasured Love Story (published by Basilica Press, Irving Texas, 2007), Bishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote about St. Teresa of Lisieux’s work defining the 7 Pallbearers of the Soul, the seven deadly sins of Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Envy, Gluttony, and Sloth.
There is no possible outcome of life worse than losing your soul, and your future pallbearers are walking with you now.
Inescapably linked to both the eternal nature of the soul and the earthly path we travel, are the deaths of beliefs, ideas, passions, innovation, ability to act, dreams, love, joy and relationships in daily living. Their loss in personal and family life are debilitating on every level and for all involved, even for those who peversely think that they gain from your loss. In the area of one’s art, craft, profession or business, the losses are usually eternally far, far, less damaging yet negatively affect the nature of one’s life and work for many years to come. Sometimes, they are “career ending”. Work based upon the negatives, upon error and the “7 deadly sins” must be corrected or discarded no matter how difficult, expensive and time-consuming a chore.
Getting back out of the ditch on either side of the road of life does require often massive energy, great lengths of time, receiving and absorbing mind-numbing bruisings, committing to restorative continuing education, extending a selfless helping hand to others needing your insights, gifts and talents, accepting a strong and true helping hand yourself – not grudgingly but with thanks, as well as learning and living in a spirit of true humility.
The pallbearers are waiting on both sides to thumb a ride with you. They are often fellow travelers down the perceived “middle of the road”. They may be your passenger, or you theirs. They may be coming right at you, head on from the other direction, sometimes with their headlights off.
What puts us into either ditch, and causes loss of what is meet, right and salutory (the good), includes beliefs, attitudes, actions and goals that are named
Their names don’t even sound good! The “alternatives” — and how could any sane person see them as a choice versus the pallbearers — involve true gifts:
The Chief Pallbearer of our ideas and dreams is Self, ably assisted by those who would benefit from the demise or appropriation of those ideas and dreams, or who “just” want you out of the way and on the disabled list so that they are unimpeded in reaching their goals. Into the ditch you go!
Get up off the floor, throw the flowers away, drive out those “pallbearers” and seek a supporting team that bases its efforts with you to teach, mentor, uplift, practice and reap the harvest of infinitely higher values: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.
Nice, palliative words, sure. We all know better and are smarter, better educated and equipped to take care of those pesky annoyances ourselves, right? Well, Action is required, and it starts with some introspection about that inward curving and self-justifying attitude. Be on guard, for
“Arrogance and a teachable spirit are mutually exclusive.” Richard Foster
Take time this weekend to think on these things and find like-minded people to learn more about them and to help you readmit them to full citizenship in your life and relationships. You will even find them in Church on Sunday!! Be sure and ascertain that what appears “like-minded” is based upon Truth, not inward curving self-justification or a pretty pathway over the cliff of bad morals, bad ethics and false teaching where you are encouraged onward by happy, smiling faces that conceal and profit from error. You are guaranteed to find both under the same welcome banner in many places. You will trip, slip and fall back into the destructive attitudes and behaviors, but with a true course set the misdirection can be more easily corrected without over-correction into the opposite ditch, and the ability to recover successfully will be strengthened – a recovery that often will not be by your own head, hand or emotions but through Truth and guidance administered by others.
Recapitulate, look back to your roots, how you were nurtured, how you were corrected from error to return again and again to a faithful, “true course” in life. Seek guidance for returning to and enjoying a healthy life, competent in the Truth.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Apostle Paul of Tarsus, Letter to the Philippians 4:8-9, The Lutheran Study Bible, Concordia Publishing House, (c) 2009.
Learn, study, confirm and comprehend, but then don’t just think about it. Well equipped and back on the right course, start and keep on Doing them!
Action is the new competence!