lent / quotes

Better, not Bitter

All day, Thursday, I heard my own footsteps saying “Better, not Bitter, Better, not Bitter” as I walked. It was the mantra to my steps as I journeyed to meetings, to lunch, to dinner with my retreat planning group. It wasn’t that I had much to be bitter about, a conversation earlier in the day … about forgiveness, about choices, had found their way to my heart and I kept remembering the words of my friend, Father Rusty.

“Part of the paradox of living Christianity is that we have to learn to be better, not bitter. That it is in descending in this life that we eventually ascend. That in order to rise, we have to first fall.”

I can hear his voice in my head, see him use hand motions to explain this theology, this reference for our lives. This vast wisdom, explained in a moment.

The irony of Father Rusty’s simplistic explanation is that in its brevity, it encompasses the complexity of our lives. That we hurt, we grieve, we feel loss, and we question choices made.

At some point we fall.

The fall hurts, and as we tumble, we reach out for a hand to grasp, and there is God. God catches us time and time again, and it is in falling that we learn again to ascend. In the fall, we learn new things about ourselves, about our faith, about what is important. We learn that there are tiny choices in every minute, that we decide to take ownership of our situation, that we become either better or bitter.

It’s that moment of choice that fascinates me. It’s often split second, often something we do without thinking, perhaps it’s ingrained from so long ago we don’t realize we do it. But somewhere, each moment, we decide how to react to our circumstances.

Better, not bitter.
Better, not bitter.

That’s what I’m striving for. Looking for the good in each thing, the beauty of each person, embracing love and not fear. And I know it’s a choice. Every minute.