I can be really, really mean.
By no means is this something I am proud of. It’s simply something I have to live with. The combination of quick wit, dark humor and an instinctual desire for vengeance have given me the capacity to be exquisitely, incisively mean. (I don’t like to say I “have a temper” because that’s just a positive way of saying “I have no self-control”, which is the case if my “temper” is on display)
So I have worked and worked at not being mean. To dampen the dark side of my quick wit, I remind myself that relationships are more important than the thrill of taking a clever dig at someone. To quell my longing to get back at someone I remind myself that I really do love people, and then I do what I must to force my heart open wide to allow myself to love even more.
Like all people I fail, and like all people I beat myself up most over that flaw to which I am most inclined. But the fault to which we’re most susceptible does not always lead us to the sins for which we are most culpable. To fail to do good things in the areas of our lives in which we don’t struggle might be more of a shame than stumbling in the parts of our lives that seem laden with obstacles.
Earlier this week I was sick, with both my belly and a little cold giving me grief. In the evening when I did my Examen, I saw occasional annoyances (with my minor anger), laughter when I could muster it, weary love for the people around me. My exhaustion had laid me low and all my walls fell down. All I could be was me, unvarnished. Me, real and imperfect. Me, annoyed and loving. Me, holy and beloved. Flawed, broken and beautiful. Me.
So that night I prayed for twin graces: to live with my faults, and to conquer them.