"If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna."
Sometimes, however difficult it may seem, God asks us to revise not only our way of thinking, but our way of living. I never seem to do too well with this request when it comes my way. I don't like change--not at all. It's difficult, it's uncomfortable, it's frightening. However, the more I think about it, sometimes change is necessary. Currently, I find myself at a crossroads: I have the choice to move forward with my life or to attempt to salvage the remains of something that might be better left in the past. I've never been good with this sort of decision, chiefly because when it comes to matters such as this, I often lack trust in God and his ability to heal all wounds over time. I think I know best and for this reason, I sometimes choose to pursue avenues that in reality, I'm not at all fit for. When I stumble, I wonder why. I think sometimes I try to cram things into my life that don't exactly have a place there. However, much like anything else--a pair of jeans, a book on a shelf, a container into a cupboard--if something doesn't fit, it often doesn't end well when you try to force it.
In the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, he writes: "When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known" (1 Corinthians 13:11-12). When we consider the idea of change in the context of this passage, it becomes quite clear that change itself isn't a bad thing, it's natural and often times, necessary. As time progresses, we put aside habits and attributes that don't seem to fit our new way of life or that merely serve to cloud our vision. The idea here is that with time, the partial will pass away, making possible a clear understanding of the reality at hand. St. Paul's example of discarding one's childish ways makes the process of change seem easy--I think that's my main stumbling block with this passage. Although growing up is a process with its own challenges, change itself requires careful and critical evaluation and of course, effort. What should stay the way it is? What needs to be different? What will happen if I leave behind what I'm used to in order to pursue something else? Will my current situation improve, stay the same, or worsen? I struggle with these questions simply because they rely too much on the hypothetical. I won't know the end result until I jump head-first into a decision.
St. Paul reminds us in his first letter to the Corinthians that bad company has the potential to corrupt good character (1 Corinthians 15:33). Similarly, the above passage from the Gospel according to St. Matthew, although shocking at first, describes the measures that might need to be taken in the event of such corruption. Here we see that some parts of our identity, of who we are, are much more painful to cast off than others. These attributes, however violent their extraction might be, necessitate removal. Much like a cancerous tumor, if left behind these "members" cause us to stumble and falter. In my experience, identifying the destructive forces in my own life is not at all an easy process--in fact, more often than that, it's incredibly challenging. Unfortunately, the entities that cause us to stray can be the very things we love the most and I'm beginning to realize that several aspects of my life are in dire need of revision, some even removal. Truthfully, I'm finding it a harsh reality to face but a necessary one.
To be frank, I have no clue what I'm doing with my life anymore. I'm sure not many twenty-year-old's do but I've never been this uncertain before. I feel as if I can't count on the permanence of anything or anyone, for that matter. I have my passions, of course, and things I know I want to pursue but everything else is so gray and blurred. To be perfectly honest, I'm scared as hell to face a future so unclear. I find myself crashing into the same brick wall for the same reasons and maybe it's time to sever the parts of myself and of my life that cause me to run into nothing but the same dead ends. Sure, it's going to hurt--much more than I'm prepared to deal with, I'd bet--but maybe it's what I need to do. Once and for all.
I don't know how to proceed but thankfully, I have the distraction of exams which I hope will give me the time I need to discern the direction I should be heading. I have so much that I need to improve upon and change but in this time of instability, I need to, above all, be brave and trust that God will provide.