So it turns out I'm quite allergic to bee and/or wasp stings. Got stung a week ago today for the first time in my life, as far as I can recall, and the local allergic reaction (on the foot) is a good deal worse today than ever before, though all the web sites say that the itching and rash is supposed to go away by a week. But someone I spoke to yesterday (my riding teacher, to cancel the riding lesson because of the foot) says she knows someone who reacts for two to three weeks before it "gets out of his system." How many hours a day can one sit with ice held on one's foot? Perhaps there's a world's record or something I could aim for.
I'm a wimp, and this kind of thing really bugs me, especially the trouble sleeping at night part. "Stoical" is just not the word that springs to mind when friends think of me.
Now, into the midst of this comes this quasi-mystical thought from the books of Elizabeth Goudge, whom I've discussed here. Goudge was really into this idea that one could "offer up" the annoyances of life, including the minor ones, even offer them up for other people. It's apparently a form of Catholic piety that was popular in the mid-twentieth century. Dawn Eden has discussed it a bit. Goudge was Anglican, but about as high as she could be without crossing the Tiber.
I'm about as low as I can be, so I shouldn't be sympathetic to any of this stuff at all, but it is an attractive idea. It's attractive, because everyone hates the feeling that suffering, even minor suffering, is meaningless. I think Christians especially are attracted to the idea that one can give meaning to the things one goes through that are unpleasant.
Well, that's Biblical enough. We have ample biblical evidence that God is "working all things together for good" and that things we don't like can be purifying if accepted as from the hand of God.
But Goudge is taking it a step farther and implying that we can help someone else by this "offering up" mental act. That I'm much less sure about. For one thing, it smacks a bit of making a deal with God: "If I take this well and try to adopt an accepting spirit about it, Lord, you will help out so-and-so. Deal?" And that's obviously not right.
But I'm not ready entirely to throw out the idea that the mental attitude of accepting what God allows and offering that acceptance back to Him is what Paul calls a "good and acceptable" form of service. Whether it helps anyone else...Well, perhaps at least those around are helped by our taking a better attitude than snarling. Lord willing.
P.S. If this post is too personal and uninteresting, look down one for something related to current events and ideas.