When Linda and I were in our late 20s, life was tough. Linda’s sudden onset of rheumatoid arthritis landed her in a wheelchair and seemingly derailed a good many of life’s plans. With two children under the age of five, a wife with a serious long-term medical condition, and a career path in its infancy, life became very challenging.
My bootstraps mentality shunned those who tried to help, which led to eventual exhaustion – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It was always easy to give to others in need, to extend charity to someone less fortunate and with less dignity, but for me to accept charity was to admit my desperation. It would insult my dignity. It would hurt my pride. It would mean that I had to admit I could not take care of my own.
Through the patience and encouragement of others, my pride surrendered, and we let others begin to help. Through their efforts, the advancements of medicine, and God’s blessings, things began to move to a new normal, and life’s path eventually began to be navigable once again.
Spiritually, all of us are in a frail, terminal position. Life is short, and humanity exists in a condemned, eternal condition. God has already offered his help. He has extended charity through His son’s life, teachings, sacrifice, blood, and resurrection. Charity has also been extended through the Holy Spirit, the church, prayer, and through the scriptures.
Are we willing to accept these gifts? Are we above accepting God’s gifts of grace, mercy, comfort, peace, and salvation? Am I too proud, or do I have too much dignity to keep me from receiving this charity? I mean really accepting it – far more than the way we accept that unwanted, unneeded, and perhaps even offensive gift at Christmas; the one we accept and place at the back of the closet; the one that never has its intended impact. These are very tough questions for me to answer yes. I believe it is superficially easy for me to accept these gifts, but to accept these gifts in a way that impacts every fabric of my being is challenging. To accept these gifts in a way that leads to complete personification is a big, very big, challenge.
Have I fully accepted the unprecedented, bountiful, beautiful, life-changing, eternally-impacting charity that God offers?
–C. J. Vires