Friday Flotsam: Crashes, Consolations, and Memorial Day

1. Had a car accident last weekend. No one hurt, thank God, and really not more than a fender-bender. Only, my fenders ended up much less bent than the other guy’s (he hit me, but no one really at fault; just a bad situation involving merging and unexpectedly stopped traffic), so I felt bad about that. Still, could have been a lot worse; could have hit a higher speeds, could have been a belligerent jerk, could have been raining, etc.

I then had to waste a couple hours during the week trying to report it just to be safe. Basically, the state trooper I spoke to said that if damage is less than $1000, don’t bother. If it’s more serious, just call 9-11…but don’t expect anyone to show up for an hour or so because they only have about five or six people covering the area.

Also, don’t just drive off (impact knocked me into the guy in front, but he didn’t stop), but stop and exchange insurance / contact info (and, you know, make sure no one’s hurt). You do that much, you’ve done all that’s required most of the time.

So, yeah; an educational experience.

2. You know, I’ve been in only a few really crisis situations. Though I can be a total wreck when it comes to simply an awkward social situation, I’ve found that I’m actually pretty calm in real, serious crises. I kind of just go mentally limp and roll with the flow. I’ve heard that’s common with people of my temperament: that we worry a lot and get anxious in moderately unpleasant circumstances, but if a serious trial comes up we prove very dependable. In any case, in my few experiences of the kind, I’ve found that an unpleasant argument or a disappointment or something rattles me up a lot more and a lot longer than a car crash. Go figure.

Psychological pain, stemming from depression or anxiety, generally hurts a lot more and is much more disruptive than actual pain or actual problems. If nothing else, the pain or the problem is unmistakably real and can be dealt with, while the psych pain is terribly elusive even as it demands your attention.

I hope not to have many occasions to explore this phenomenon.

3. PSA: If you like peanut butter, Jiff has recently issued a recall owing to a salmonella outbreak. You can find the info on the affected products here.

4. The Feast of the Ascension was yesterday. I haven’t looked into the ins-and-outs of how it changed from being a universal Holy Day of Obligation to only a local one for some places, with the feast observed on the following Sunday. But honestly, I don’t like it. It smells to me of accommodation; the Church giving way to the pressures of the modern world. It’s inconvenient for people to go to Mass on Thursday. It disrupts the pattern of the work week. So we give way and say that we might as well do it on Sunday.

And I realize that sounds rather accusatory, but I don’t necessarily mean it that way. I’m not trying to blame anyone, only to lament that it that it should ever be that when the employment system clashes with the Church, the Church should give way.

5. I have experienced a couple rather intensive spiritual, hm, consolations I suppose you might call them this past week. Fully explaining them in context would involve a lot more revelations than we have time for, but one key takeaway is “Everything works for the good of those who love God.” ‘The good’ here meaning, of course, the eternal good. In short, there are two things we can know about any situation we find ourselves in: One, it is not in God’s despite, and two, God is not trying to torment or trick us. If He allows us to be or to remain in a given situation, He wants us there for our own good, and we shall thank Him for it in Heaven.

To put it another way, those who are saved will thank God just as much – or probably even more – for the prayers He did not grant as for the ones He did.

Where we often get confused is in thinking in terms of this life; of being saved from pain, suffering, and death in the here and now. But though we can and ought to hope to be spared these things, they aren’t ultimately the important point.

Put it this way; when you were in high school, weren’t there a lot of things you dreaded? Like, say, being humiliated in front of your classmates, something like that. Now imagine you’re on your wedding day (assuming you’re married…and happy about the fact. Work with me here!). If, right before the ceremony, you met your seventeen-year-old self and he reminded you about a particularly humiliating incident, would you really care all that much?

7. Memorial Day Weekend. Let’s do try to take a little time out from relaxing and celebrating the start of summer to recall those who died in the nation’s service. It is a shared part of our identity and should be honored as such in some way. Maybe do some extra observance, such as going to Mass on Monday or making special prayers for the dead, and for the nation as a whole. Lord knows we need it.

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