Elliott and Keith were brothers. Elliott was married and in his early 50’s. Keith was a priest in his late 40’s. They were spending the weekend together—just the two of them, fishing. Neither was a great cook, so they found themselves in the only restaurant in town. A place called Rosie’s. They both ordered a drink and as they were waiting for their meal, Elliott asked, “Do you like being a priest?” Keith said, “Yeah, I don’t know what else I’d have done with my life.” There was a pause and Elliott said, “You have always landed on your feet. Me, not so much! Sure, I have a good wife, and a good family, but I know something’s wrong.”
Keith didn’t say much but though he thought Elliott’s wife was a good woman and a great mother, she did have a bit of an edge to her. She tended to be rigid and wasn’t good at compromising. And so that was what Keith thought that Elliott was going to say. But he didn’t. Instead he went on about how his life didn’t turn out the way that he had wanted it to. He had been successful at work, but he was still disappointed. He wished that he had done better: higher position, bigger salary. He was disappointed in his son who seemed to be wandering through life not really able to settle into anything. He just didn’t seem like he was going to make anything of himself.
Elliott said, “My life’s been disappointing and there you are, single, no family worries, no bills, settled and content.” And Keith said, “It hasn’t been all that easy for me over the years, but I think that maybe the real reason why you are feeling disappointed is because you are not really understanding what life is all about.” Elliott said, “And so what’s life all about?” Keith said, “I’ve asked myself, why am I living? What’s my purpose? As the years went by I found out that things weren’t turning out the way that I wanted. Things were going in a different direction than what I had expected. When I was able to get over the disappointment of that fact, I realized that I had been living my life to achieve my goals. I had been trying to arrange things that way that I wanted them to be. Here I was, a priest, and I was making everything all about me! So I made a decision. More and more I let God take over my life. I started to take prayer seriously, and when I did that, God began to show me more clearly my reason for living.”
God is the one who gave us life, and it is this same God that has a purpose for each one of us. And this is not always the plan or purpose we have for ourselves. And because we want things our way, we go off on our own and keep God out of the mix. Until we come to that point in our life where we start paying attention to the feelings we are having—especially those feelings of disappointment or just being agitated all the time.
So, ask God to take over your life. Get closer to Christ by praying. Be decent with other people. Try to help out those who are in need. Get rid of all the anger and resentment you might be holding on to. Forgive. Place all that “stuff” at the foot of the cross. Live each day as an offering to God.
Life is not a play where we are the director. When we think that—things get messed up. The better way is to let God take the lead and live life his way. Be open to God’s grace. That makes all the difference.