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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Crankiness

I came across another post by Fr. Hulk today, and I gotta say...he would be a GREAT spiritual director for a slacker like me. Is he available?

Sure, by his title and header, he seems to have a "problem" with anger. Big deal...so he's cranky? Who ISN'T?

I'm not sure how to create an image of cranky Adoro. It's been seen here, it's certainly been seen by my mother, and I have let the crankiness show more often than I care to realize.

Unfortunately, it's part of our human nature. And often, it serves God because He can use our fallenness for the benefit of others. (That is NOT to be taken as permission to be a jerk! There is NO SUCH THING as "Jerks for the Glory of God!" )

I gotta tell you...some of the most influential people in my life have been the most difficult. Why? Because they held me to a high standard!

In Elementary School, I was a "C" student. I got by, teachers always told my Mom I was "diligent" or nice, or well-behaved, but I certainly wasn't a "star student". I never saw myself as "bright" or anything. I was average and content with that. I didn't like struggling with math, but it was what it was, and so I went, every day.

And then I met Ms. Beatty. She was my 6th Grade teacher, and that woman was TOUGH! Her job was to prepare us for Jr. High, and she took that mission seriously. My bad handwriting was unacceptable to her...she made me re-do countless assignments. She made me learn that I wasn't a C student, but an A student who had never been pushed to do better than the status quo. She saw my talents and interests, and recommended me for a "Great Books" group in my school. I remember my Mom signing the slip that allowed me to get out of regular class and into this advanced class. I remember attending with my most intelligent classmates, and reading higher-level things, which we discussed together. And I am STILL affected by that group today.

I was completely confused by my involvement with these kids, and in the beginning, I thought I was misplaced. They were smart! They were perceptive! They were the top students in our class!

It was that teacher that made me realize that with a little discipline, with a little encouragement, I was one of them, too.

Because of her, Jr. High was a breeze, and in 7th Grade, I obtained the title of "Brain". (I wasn't proud of that, actually).

So it was, though. I was who I was. THE Brightest? No. But reasonably bright. I didn't have to work that hard for good grades; I only had to be disciplined enough to meet that standard.

High School was a different world, a better one. And my Homeroom and Spanish Teacher was a terrorist. But because of his discipline, I was challenged, almost through defiance.

Our first year with him, he gave us a Spanish test to see where we were at. I got an "A". When he handed the corrected test back to me, he said, "Kiss it goodbye".

I set out to prove him wrong. That was his intention; that's what he wanted in his students. And that's what he got. He was a great teacher, the best I've ever had, but he was a terror, he was an anomoly and even now, he is legend.

Thank God for all of them.

They are EXACTLY what I need in a Spiritual Director. In class today, that topic came up; for a time in our recent history, "spiritual direction" became "all the rage", and people radically unqualified stepped up and patted very misguided people on the back and told them they were doing exactly what they should....even though they weren't.

I know I need someone who will crack the whip, who will make me see myself as I really am, who won't let me wallow in self-pity, or revel in spiritual pride. Someone like Ms. Beatty, who will take a look at me and say, "Yeah, you have potential, but you're not even TRYING to live up to it."

"Fr. Hulk" seems that sort.

As much as it terrifies me to have a "Fr. Hulk" as a spiritual director, I gotta say...previous experience has taught me that extreme pain and solid discipline has always lead to success. And given that my desire is Heaven...well...is there a "Fr. Hulk" out there to whip my sorry soul into shape? Is there someone out there who will accurately see what I'm lacking and force me under obedience to do what seems painful...but is in actuality, the very definition of freedom?

(Note: To "Fr. Hulk"...sorry to put your image on the spot, but thanks for the inspiration!):-)

Update 12-20-08 - Fr. Hulk is now Fr. Cranky, am leaving his original title here for the time being.

6 comments:

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Beautiful once again. I find that to be true as well, the toughest teachers make for the best inspiration. It is for this reason that I challenge my students that I have (whether for Confirmation or for maths/physics) to do better than the status quo. It's the reason I give tons of work, not because I enjoy it, but because I know that they are better than what they show on a daily basis. Fr. Hulk would be a great SD for you, I wish I could e-mail him to thank him for his wonderful posts.

Fr. Hulk said...

Thank you both for your nice words. I'm probably more in NEED of a spiritual director than able to BE a spiritual director. In seminary we always had them, but were never trained to be one. I can get cranky about that too.

To be honest, these are thoughts that most priests I know have all the time, I'm just able to post them anonymously on the web. If I had real courage, I wouldn't be anonymous.

So accept my prayers for you - and I'm really quite a pushover in person.

Adoro said...

Joe ~ I think you just did. :-) Although seriously, I was kidding about the question at the end. (did I just type a paradox? More coffee needed...)

Fr. Hulk ~ Of course, my query as you realize was "tongue in cheek". In the seminary here they also are not trained in spiritual direction either. (I'm assuming you aren't anywhere near local to MN), so a few of the people I spoke with first gave that same reason. I've even learned that my own pastor doesn't have an SD himself! Talk about an injustice!

Anonymous or not, I appreciate your posts very much. It gives us hope that things will eventually get better!

Thank you for your prayers. I have no doubt that eventually God will lead me to the right person...and in person. :-)

I will also keep you in my prayers...be assured that there are MANY of us out there praying for priests, whether we know who you are or not!

Anonymous said...

What about the priest you had the amazing confession with last week? Would he be a good SD?

CK

Adoro said...

Um...no. He was the right person for that confession, but in an ensuing conversation I got the distinct impression he's a fan of "eco-spirituality" and "earthy" religous sisters.

He's really nice and a very compassionate person, and I imagine certain types of counseling that he likely does on a regular basis (as would most if not all priests). And he seems very humble, but I couldn't trust where he would go with direction.

L. said...

Thanks for linking to Father Hulk! I've been checking out some of his great posts. Love your blog too Adoro!