06 August 2007

A weekend observation

Since my family is so large, I have cousins working all different fields, living all over the place. Within my family, I have a microcosm of society-at-large. Some cousins are well educated, being doctors and lawyers, while others had interests outside of academia and now are successful franchise owners or city workers. It is a blessing to have a big family, but sometimes even blessings wear out their welcome.

Last week, my 82 year-old aunt had some of the cousins stay at her cabin. It's become a yearly ritual. For a few days, this group of older ladies relax and enjoy my aunt's gracious hospitality. They play cards, they fish, they go out in the boat, they eat, they enjoy each others company. At least, that's my aunt's idea of how things are to go and most of the cousins are happy to do just that.

Two of the cousins, like the saying goes, are not like the others. The rest of the ladies are easy-going and humble, but these ladies are interesting studies.

The virtue of humility is something I have been more and more aware of recently. My life has been under the microscope lately, much of it introspection on my part, but some of it presented to me as a learning tool. I'm beginning to see my life and actions from a slightly detached perspective, identifying traits in my personality that hinder humility and are areas of temptation. How much more glaring must all my weaknesses be to the priest I go to for confession, and how much more magnified must they be when compared to perfection as viewed from God's eyes?

These particular cousins, sisters, are so self-absorbed it makes you shake your head. They show up hours after they said they would be there, they want to dictate what is to be for dinner when they are guests in my aunt's home, they take the best candy and dessert for themselves, complain about everything, can't be relied on to do a simple task, argue with the hostess and other guests about everything imaginable, they vocally make their desires of "what to do and when" clearly known, and, oddly, they cheat at cards. Not just "sneaky-cheating," but blatant cheating because they are not capable of losing.

There are many relevant examples in scripture, here's just a few:

Matthew 19:30 "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.

Matthew 20:16 "So the last shall be first, and the first last."

Luke 13:30 "And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last."

Like Father Mitch Pacwa said, "Don't use Al Capone as your moral compass." I shouldn't compare myself to my cousins, but to God. Some day, my life will really be scrutinized. It's not enough to hope my cousins are in line to see St. Peter immediately before I am, so I look better relative to them (no pun intended), because they aren't the measuring stick, but also because I'm just not that lucky.

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