Just One of Those Things

"Jesus calls us on a mission to love the world in all its woundedness and failure, just as he has loved us in our woundedness and failure." - Austen Ivereigh in "First Belong to God: On Retreat with Pope Francis" (book cover pictured next to quote)

“It’s just one of those things,” my grandma used to say all the time. It meant that she heard, but she had no helpful comment or answer to my dilemma. This often irritated me, because I wanted to change the circumstances immediately, and that was outside our control. And control is a concept I covet, especially when I see my flaws.

For example, in a recent Examen, God gently showed me an unsettling defect. Grateful, I asked for the grace of courage to control it. But I received no speedy remedy. “It’s just one of those things,” echoed in my head.

In the book, First Belong to God: On Retreat with Pope Francis, Austen Ivereigh writes, “Jesus calls us on a mission to love the world in all its woundedness and failure, just as he has loved us in our woundedness and failure.” Jesus doesn’t call us to fix it or control it but to love it.

Really? I’d rather jump to resolutions rather than sit uncomfortably with my weakness. I feel ashamed of destructive words I’ve spoken to loved ones. Why can’t I figure out remedies to my failures and ways to un-say hasty words?

But time can’t be rewound. And I know God doesn’t want me to sit in shame over past mistakes. God wants me to love myself despite my failings.

Rather than turn to love, I’m tempted to self-absorption and wheel-spinning over ways I might overhaul things. Or I might deny I caused harm and shove my culpability under a rock. God offers another way. An inner voice without words conveyed these thoughts:

Look to me, not at yourself.
Look to my wonderful, powerful, and glorious majesty.
Keep your eyes fixed on me.
If you look to yourself, you will always be disappointed.
I love you in your woundedness and failures. I love the people who annoy you and irritate you with their woundedness and failures. I want you to love them too.

Jesus invites me to join him as he loves everyone—no exceptions. I get to choose to participate in this quest for love, which I will fail at times, and that is OK. Jesus uses everything for good, and only God loves perfectly.

Something else I discovered is that when I dare to tell the truth about my failures, people feel safe to be honest about theirs. Healing, compassion, and a growing closeness result. It’s miraculous.

Our culture values independence (in the sense of not asking for help) and pride. As Ivereigh combines the thoughts of Pope Francis with wisdom from the Spiritual Exercises, I see the connectedness between accepting my brokenness and embracing humbling things. Pride leads to other vices and leads me to feel that I alone must fight against my flaws. I can do it. I can control it. I. I. I.

Humility, on the other hand, tells us to surrender. We aren’t to see life as a battle and exhaust ourselves with thrashing about. We must accept when it’s “just one of those things.”

Jesus can be trusted with every situation and can take care of anything. Acceptance trusts that Jesus, the source of my strength, will get me through whatever will happen. Things won’t magically change, but I may change. Graces will flow when I trust God. And I can respond to the nagging voice inside that claims that because of my woundedness, I’m not worthy: “So what? I am broken! That is what I am, and I am loved.”

God takes my brokenness and transforms it into beauty. It’s just one of those things.

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Loretta Pehanich is a Catholic freelance writer and the author of 2022: A Book of Grace-Filled Days, Women in Conversation: Stand Up!, and Fleeting Moments: Praying When You Are Too Busy. A spiritual director since 2012, Loretta is trained in giving the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Her involvement in ministry and parish life includes 20 years in small faith-sharing groups and Christian Life Community. Loretta gives retreats and presentations on prayer and women’s spirituality and is commissioned as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. She and her husband Steve have four children and 10 grandchildren.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this, so many powerful words! I think I want to get this one on a tee-shirt “Graces will flow when I trust God.”

  2. I always appreciate your thoughtful reflections. Thank you. You challenge me to go deeper in my self examination and deeper in my faith. God bless you.😊

  3. How did you know this was EXACTLY what I needed to hear and consider today!! Thank you for this very timely and powerful reflection.

    Reminds me of a prayer a Maronite priest shared in a homily recently: Free me from my self-deceptions, O Lord, and illuminate me. Allow me to collaborate with you.

  4. This calls to mind a couple of beautiful prayers:
    Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
    Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything.

  5. wow; thanks

    yet another illustration of the quiet power of the Examen; as Mark Thibodeaux suggests ….the Examen can be done ‘on the spot’ (as long as you have quiet I’d say); no need to wait till bedtime …which doesn’t work that well for me anyways

    • Thanks Brian! A great connection.
      And my favorite kind of Examen is after lunch, when I simply say, “How am I doing so far today, Jesus?”
      Quick and simple.

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