My mother has remarked more than once that I always wanted to succeed at things I’m not good at and ignore the things that come naturally. Leave it to Mama to see through you…

The comment has also been made that I’m a bit like Groucho Marx: “I refuse to be a member of any club that will accept me as a member.” If I’m good enough to belong, they must not be worth joining.

And, I look at the ministries of others, and wish that was mine. And yet I back away from participating many times. Tell me that the music as mass was wonderful and I’ll smile and say “Thank you” but inside I’m thinking that “the angels must have blocked your ears from hearing the off-key notes and the rather less than mediocre voice.”

OneĀ of my friends refers to this desire to have a different ministry, to want some glory (but avoid the pain of leadership) as “Holy envy.” Yup – I want someone else’s gifts. Someone else’s call.

Looking deeper, I see that maybe it’s not that I have so much envy: sometimes I fear failure. If I really go for the A and fall short, I’m a failure. If I settle for the sure B, then I could’ve done the A if I had wanted to. Nobody is the wiser.

Another friend has tried to console me by reminding me that I am perfect – perfectly me. I gave that talk, once. It is the Ideals talk for a Cursillo weekend. Know yourself. Know that you are perfect in who your are. You are created perfectly in the image and likeness of the Creator (Even though you can’t use those words in that talk.) I even used the example that my dog, Grace, is perfect – perfect in her very “dogginess.” She’s not a cat, or a rabbit or a human. She is perfectly dog.

It seems easier for me to love another person through the rough edges, the broken parts and the little quirks than it is to respect those same quirks in myself. When will I learn that the mirror I must look into is my own — not the mirror of comparison to others?

One of the scripture passages that seems to haunt me in these times is where Paul says something along the lines of: “For now we see in a mirror darkly, but then we shall see face to face.” I think I need to clean the mirror so I can see more clearly. Let the light shine into the corners a bit more brightly. And look in my own mirror, not keep trying to peek in everybody else’s.