Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two Lessons Learned

A man named Matthew Kelly – author and speaker – handsome Australian, once said that the difference between pleasure and happiness is that pleasure cannot be sustained beyond the act that gives us the pleasure, but happiness lingers long after the experience that produces it. If you think on that for a moment, you’ll realize the Aussie’s right!

Today after Mass, I decided to take a new way home and missed a street or two, got myself turned around, and ended up in the “keep on movin’” part of town. There are so many one way streets in this city – I know, because I’ve challenged a few over the years – that once you get going the wrong way, it’s hard to turn around. This morning I felt like a dopey mouse in a maze - turning onto street after street - eventually finding my way back to the church. Once there, I decided there was nothing wrong with taking the old way home. At least that way got me home!

After my self-induced detour, I decided that treating myself to some ice cream would make me happy, so I drove to Graeters and got myself a kiddie-sized scoop of Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip. Let me tell did the trick. Oh, the pleasure of eating ice cream is always divine! Mr. Kelly was right though: ice cream gone – pleasure over! (Gimme more...gimme more)

Fast forward a few hours and I’m outside enjoying the beautiful fall-like weather. The thought of going to the gym flashes through my brain, but my lazy ass tries to talk Mr. Brain out of it. Then the brain reminds the ass that it’s left cheek is sitting on a kiddie-size scoop of ice cream and the gym is the best place to get rid of it. Fifteen minutes later, I’m at the gym, warming up for a spinning class.

Did I mention that I learned two lessons today? One, being Pleasure versus Happiness, and the other one …….

I’ve had some interesting and specific severe pains when doing spinning sometimes that, despite my injured pride, have caused me to leave the class – devastating to my ego! It hasn’t happened for a long time, but when it does, I pray feverishly that God take the pain away. Unfortunately, that hasn’t worked too well.

Recently, my father was talking about praying over things. He said that sometimes we must tell God that we lovingly accept whatever it is that ails us. I told him that was ridiculous, because that means that I’m saying it’s okay, and it’s not Ok – I do NOT accept the things I do not want. Dad insisted that sometimes we must accept what we do not want, before it can be taken away. Whatever!

Today while spinning, the pain came on again and I started praying intensely for God to release the pain. It wasn’t working. I made the decision that I would die today before I left this class, so I decided to try my Dad’s grand idea. I repeated over and over again that I “lovingly accept this pain”. I repeated this mantra for nearly ten minutes and then like magic, it completely disappeared! I don’t understand it, but I’m grateful for it.

Maybe Dad’s right. Maybe sometimes we have to accept things for the way they are before we can move beyond them. Huh! Score another one for dear ol’ Dad!

In regards to lesson one, I should tell you that I was very happy after I finished my spinning class. I was very happy on my drive home. I was still a little giddy at dinner, and even now as I write this, I’m happy!

Both pleasure and happiness are wonderful, but happiness definitely lingers…...I like that!

( don’t worry – working on the source of that pain )


Claire said...

I love what you wrote about pleasure and happiness - and "praying through" - when I have back spasms I use it to remind myself to start praying for those I know that are in pain or sick and I've never documented when it stops but my pain does end and then I have to try to remember to pray for others without my "reminder."

M, J, B, G, Sam & Sadie said...

Wow...what a great quote by mr. cutie Aussie guy. I love it that you stopped for a kiddie cone all by yourself. Reading your blog makes me a teensy bit sad that I never had "single years". I got married almost the MINUTE I graduated high school and moved into my husbands house straight from my childhood bedroom. As a matter of fact, it was like I was a kid one day...grown up the next. Sometimes I feel like I missed out on that whole "just being me" phase...and reading your blog lets me vicariously have that back! :o) Thanks!!