“DO I HAVE TO?”
Anyone who has been around children, yours or those belonging to another, has heard this plea multiple times and eventually with a whine. When someone either asks or tells us to do something and we don’t want to do it, now or even later, we either think of this phrase or, in fact, say it out loud—“Do I have to?” Difficulty can often have little to do with it. Why do we say it or think it, even from our most earliest years? Maybe, because we want to always be in personal control of our actions or maybe we just don’t like others telling us what to do and sometimes how to do it. Does that someone else also include God?
St. James in his letter to “his dearest brothers and sisters…” warns us that we must be “doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding ourselves.” He further states “ All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures……..Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your soul.” (James 1:17-18, 21b-22,27)
Labor Day has arrived and the supposed easy summer is over and our real life settles in. Are we going to begin the same ole, same ole ways or will we reexamine what and how we are going to do things? There are certain times in every year that feel somewhat new—a kind of start over—a new adoption of time. Who, if anyone, will we now pay attention to? And how often will we feel that we HAVE TO do something that we really don’t want to do? Just how important to anyone or anything is the doing of our HAVE TO? And where is God in this renewal of our calendar duties? Despite the song—‘living is easy…’—it is not always. But the older we get, the more choices we have to make. And we alone will have to decide, if the “HAVE TO” is just that and for what value—for others, personally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, in charity, etc. Jesus gave us a lot of directions and even HAVE TOs and it is up to you and me the choice. Free will is heavy. Will any of our must do include the Beatitudes—feed My hungry, clothe the naked, etc. ?
Fall is a beautiful time of the year. Let us enjoy, be thankful, be aware of what words that need our attention and willingly find the time to live them….for others and for ourselves.
By Kathy Reilly