Perhaps you have experienced this. A very tall building does not look very big and a smaller building looks huge. It all depends on where one is standing. I remember when visiting the leaning tower of Pisa people would take snap shots of family members holding up the tower. If positioned correctly a person in the foreground looks as though they are Atlas with the ability to hold up the entire world.
A mountain range in the distance can look like a short hike but can also turn into an endless marathon. I remember walking the Mall at the nation’s capital. What looked like a few blocks to get to the Washington Monument turned out to be several miles. A bird’s eye view of a landscape can distort one’s judgment of how far and how long it can take to get from point A to point B.
Whether a situation is insurmountable or within grasp really depends on where one is standing.
In the same way, we really can’t rely 100% on our own perception at any particular moment at all. We need a reference point, a guide.
Such can be applied to emotions. How we feel at a particular moment may not be due entirely to the state of affairs around us. Some things are not always what they might seem. There are many factors go into feelings, including lack of sleep, blood sugar levels, amount of exercise, and even the amount of light in the daytime.
And it is always good to remember that the sun is always shining. It is just a matter of whether or not there is cloud coverage on a particular day.
Such principles can be applied to the spiritual life too. Many persons abandon prayer because of how one might “feel.” Such a person might conclude that they are ineffective or such is a waste of time. But if one were to study the history of the Saints, one would quickly see that sometimes silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and/or the Tabernacle is very productive. Even the simple utterance of God’s name can yield abundance. One cannot measure success the same way that the world does. In fact, most often it is quite the opposite. Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta once said, “We are not required to be successful. We are required to be faithful.”
Today’s (January 10) readings show the prayer of Hannah who longed for a son:
“Eli watched her mouth, for Hannah was praying silently;
though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard.
Eli, thinking her drunk, said to her,
“How long will you make a drunken show of yourself?
Sober up from your wine!”
“It isn’t that, my lord,” Hannah answered.
“I am an unhappy woman.
I have had neither wine nor liquor;
I was only pouring out my troubles to the LORD.
Do not think your handmaid a ne’er-do-well;
my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery.”(NAB, I Samuel 1:12-16)
God granted Hannah a son who became Samuel. What was initially was perceived as barrenness became productive. Such is the same in our own lives. The key is perseverance in spite of what we might think or feel.