Just a Spoonful of DUST
Finding Peace Beyond Feelings
by Father Nathan Miller | Source: www.FormationToolbox.com
Understanding the difference between decisions and feelings can take minutes, yet living a
proper balance is a battle that lasts a lifetime. Here are some tips for both:
You determine who you are
by your decisions (Reset
Yourself). So what you do not choose, does not make you good or
So far so good? Here are a few examples:
runs in after school eager to hug mommy and trips over the unseen vacuum cleaner which mom had still
not packed away.
- Mother rages with anger within because the bag explodes and covers the living room in dust
- Daughter sees her mother’s face turn red and bursts into tears, automatically and fearfully
taking a few steps backwards.
- Husband, stressed after a day of work, walks in on the chaos and feels
tempted to explode his stress onto them all.
- Wife sees husband’s eyes and thinks to
throw the blame on her daughter.
So far so good? Yes! In
fact, ALL of us can—and do—feel all sorts of things: Positive emotions, blues, temptations, desires,
sicknesses, attractions, hatreds, loves etc. Yet none of this determines who we
are. What makes us who we are is how we freely
act (thoughts / words / deeds). That is to say, WHEN we feel these things, we are
obliged to react—to act—in the proper way: against a temptation, for the love of good things, in
control of anger, etc.
So let’s say everyone calms down,
and acts in the “right” way:
gives mommy a hug.
- Mom manages to
smile and says “don’t worry”.
- Dad even gets on his hands and knees to help to clean up the mess
here’s that human problem which not even O’Loughlin alluded to in his article which I linked
above. Even after “doing the right thing” we can
still continue to feel horrible.
- For the
rest of the day daughter doesn’t want to go out to play with her little sister because she feels
“she is useless”.
- Dad’s stress has increased and poured over into his appetite, a headache, and the desire to
blame God for difficulties at work.
- Mother, after re-dusting and vacuuming the living room, continues to feel the temptation to
mix spoonfuls of that wonderfully grey dust into her daughter's dresser drawer with all her
God does not ask us to always feel good about everything. He can even allow us to feel horrible as a
trial, so that we can prove to him that we love him purely and not because love-for-him, shown in
fulfilling his commandments, will make us feel awesome. It's
pretty basic, but not exactly easy to live, because we all are dying to feel great, all the
The solution is that what
we should be seeking does come from acting rightly. It’s what Jesus brought his
disciples after rising from the dead at Easter, men who were feeling anything but awesome in that
It’s what can be yours and mine if we act
rightly, and focus not on what we feel. It’s what makes us profoundly happy. It’s what God gives us
when we make our choices—despite the spoonfuls of dust around us—out of love for Him. It’s called
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