From a Creighton Student's Perspective
November 25th , 2007
Senior, English and Women’s & Gender Studies
An insistent whisper in the back of my mind constantly prods me to lead my life according to my own desires and definitions of success. For most of my life, the urging of this instinct has led me to be actively (and, almost always, overly) involved in student and community life. My academic and extracurricular resume is simply bulging; really, it is obnoxious. I am using 8 point font to keep it all on one page! It has always been my understanding that if I care about an issue or I enjoy an organization, then I need to demonstrate my commitment by catapulting into leadership or taking on more responsibility than is required of the “average” person. Although my actions appear self-sacrificing, I am fully aware that with more responsibility comes more recognition. Saving myself meant proving to others the extent of my passions, abilities and commitments. It was never enough to know these things for myself—self-assurance came after validation from other people.
When I took a long hard look at myself, I realized that my motivations for involvement had become terribly skewed. I was constantly bemoaning the many meetings and tasks which required my attendance and attention, yet these were the commitments I had made voluntarily! Although I cared deeply about the people and the problems with which I was dealing, the passion which led me to them had dulled into an obligatory sense of duty. Most significantly, these obligations were keeping me from the relationships that were most important to me. In the process of “saving myself,” I was losing sight of what I considered to be authentically me.
The lesson here is one in intentionality. Too often I get lost in what other people will think of me, what they expect of me, and what they will say about me if I disappoint them. In today’s Gospel, we meet a Jesus who set aside his pride, forfeited his popularity, and stilled his own doubts about the “success” of his life when he accepted his death on the cross. The rulers sneered at him and denied the legitimacy of his life and his commitments. The soldiers taunted him, undoubtedly igniting his human pride. Even the common criminal questioned his integrity. Nevertheless, Jesus did not get caught up in the work of “saving himself” from their judgment and expectations. He did not go begrudgingly or obligatorily to the cross; he did it willingly and intentionally. Jesus went rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
If we are to follow Jesus’ example, we must work to nurture
an intentional spirit, and make decisions in this spirit. Jesus’
intentionality led him to great joy. Jesus calls us to find joy
in our work and to find joy in one another. While it is so important
to contribute to our communities, let us keep in mind our own limitedness.
It seems much more enticing to lose myself in a moment, a conversation
or a friend than to seemingly “save myself” by neglecting
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