I believe that God is at work in the world, and the Holy Spirit is working within us to be where we’re supposed to be, to do the things that need to be done, to serve, to love, and to learn.
That last part, to learn, is the hardest thing, I think. I like life to be nice, comfortable, and easy, and people to be friendly and kind, and for them to come to the same conclusions that I do. But that G-rated world is not the real world. The Holy Spirit has some hard problems to tackle, in places that aren’t pleasant, with people that might be friendly and kind in some circumstances, but are quite antagonistic in other situations. How are we, the hands and body and feet of the Divine, going to help with those hard problems, if we don’t get some practice with things that aren’t nice, or comfortable, or easy? After all, with enough practice, we’ll discern which types of problems we’re good at, which problems suit others’ talents better, and which ones we never knew we could meet head-on, grounded in our faith.
People who know me will know that conflict is out of my comfort zone. It’s not getting much better with age – I have to send my daughter and husband to the movies without me sometimes, if the conflict is going to be too intense. But over the years I’ve also learned that in situations of real-life conflict, I can trust that the Holy Spirit is at work. I might not enjoy it — I might rather crawl into a hole and pull the cover over my head – but with God’s help, I can be present, breathe, and listen to the other person, and then respond in a way that is grounded in the commandments – Love God, and Love Your Neighbor.
And lest I forget, and get too sure of my position or point of view, I also remind myself that I too am part of the world. I just might be part of the problem that the Holy Spirit is working on.