Sweet Contradiction

January has always been my least favorite month of the year.

It’s just so cold and grey and damp. The Christmas trees lay abandoned on the side of the road, stripped bare and brown. The last of the New Year’s party hats and leftovers have been put away. Vacations end, work and classes begin.

January has always been my least favorite month.

It’s so cold and grey, holiday-less and never-ending. I’ve never really liked January.

But lately I’ve been struggling with January on an especially deep level, even though it’s literally only the 15th day of the month. I’ve been in January for 15 days and I’m already so, so over it.

But unlike most people who are just patiently dealing with it (because really, there’s no other option than to just wait it out), I just want it to be a new month already.

Actually, an old month.

Any month, really, from 2014.

15 days into the new year and I just want to go back in time and all I can help but wonder is what do you do when 2015 just isn’t enough? 

Because at least by the end of 2014, I thought I knew what I was doing or where I was going, or at least who and what I could call my own.

But now at the beginning of 2015, I don’t even know where up is anymore and I’m an exact .04 percent through 2015 and somehow the year is already so full of bewildering contradictions and everything is just not enough but too dang much all at the same time. 2014 was the year everything changed for me but now 2015 is changing even more and I just need it to stop long enough for me to catch up and catch a breath. One measly percent through the year and 2015’s contradictions are already damn hard and I’m already so over it.

Because we’re 15 days into my least favorite month in year that is replacing the year I never wanted to end, and it’s now almost impossible to go to bed at night without the weight of constant contradictions climbing into bed after me.

It’s just too much and not enough at the same time.

And speaking of 2015 not being enough, because 2014 was the year that everything changed and it’s just so hard to pick up and move on after being shaken to your core, what the hell do you do when you aren’t enough?

Because you know you need people and you know you need to adjust but it’s just too hard to admit that you have no clue what you’re doing – dare I wound my pride by admitting that I’m just not enough?

2015 isn’t enough right now, and neither are you. You’re not enough for yourself. You’re not enough for the people you called your own in 2014 – where are they now? And your home, that place where you found love – why does it seem to shy away from your grasp? You’re not enough for consistency, you’re not enough for vulnerability, not enough for humility, for love.

What do you do when you feel too much but you don’t feel enough, when you’re too sensitive but just empathetic enough, when you’re too much of a mess but not enough to fix other peoples’ messes? When you’re insufficient? Inadequate?

What do you do when the shift of the new year loses its glamour and turns out to be yet another cold dawn to herald a colder day?

What do you do when you just feel too damn human?

Readers, when I was studying in Europe, I was able to take a class entirely on the theology of Christ. While there were students who were in complete awe over the theology behind the miracles of Christ and His Resurrection, of His descent into Hell to “take a bite out of it,” and His saving grace, and His awesome power – me, I was just completely dumbfounded by His humanity.

His beautiful, sweet humanity!

The more we studied Christ, the more I took little nuggets of information and put them on my heart, and the more I nurture those seeds of wisdom, the more in love I am falling with the beautiful sweet humanity of Jesus.

He loved humanity so much that he chose to become human, to put Himself into a vessel of imperfection, into this sordid and sinful skin of humanity that heralds nothing but death, for love of humanity – for love of us.

And that moves me to tears as it is, but what’s even more heartbreakingly wonderful is is that He didn’t just become human but He embraced His humanity.

Crucifix in San Giovanni Rotundo, Italy. Photo by Dominic Gentile.
Crucifix in San Giovanni Rotundo, Italy. Photo by Dominic Gentile.

He wept – He really did! And He felt pain. He was afraid, He begged the Father for help. Jesus Christ, King and Messiah, didn’t even carry His Cross without falling three times – and He needed help to carry it, too.

And as Christ is the perfect model of humanity for all of humanity that was and is and will be, who are we to say that being human just isn’t enough?

Because Christ, in His own beautifully sweetly humanly way, wasn’t strong enough to carry His Cross alone, or wasn’t brave enough to face His death without fear, or wasn’t powerful enough to save His mother from heartbreak. He wasn’t any of these things, and He wasn’t unfeeling or stoic or aloof. He felt emotions. He opened His Sacred Heart and made Himself vulnerable.

Christ is 100 percent, wholly, truly God, all divinity.

But He is also 100 percent wholly truly all humanity, too.

And when 2015 hits damn hard and you realize that you just can’t wake up and face one more day of contradiction, remember that contradiction – Christ was true God and true man – and embrace that contradiction because He calls us to be human as He is human.

God has made us to be human the way He made us to be human, it’s as simple as that. The way we are made is the way we are made to be, and that’s the bastion of hope we can cling to when 2015 goes to Hell in a hand-basket with you behind the wheel.

Maybe contradiction is what we need – because contradiction, dare I say it, is what makes us human – so beautifully and sweetly human – and if Christ at His very nature is both true God and true Man, then who are we to say we shouldn’t also be contradictory?

And when 2015 is just not enough, and when you’re not enough, when your friends or your family or your home or your life – when it’s just not enough, you have to respond with the grace of humanity.

You will weep – like He did.

You will fear – like He did.

You will suffer, you will be scorned, you will die – like He did. And some people will tell you that you’re insufficient and you’re inadequate, and even if they don’t tell you I promise you that someone someday will think so, but – they did the same to Him.

But you know what else? You are loved, not in spite of your humanity but because of your humanity. You are loved, and out of love you are called to love – like He did. To forgive like He did. To be merciful like He was. To serve, to heal, to preach, to evangelize, just like He did.

And sweet, beautiful humans – you will be victorious just like He is. Embrace your humanity, embrace your contradictions, and you embrace your God.

And we are told, explicitly, that  “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love…to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

And furthermore, we know that “God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…made us alive together with Christ and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” 

He calls us to be Christ-like. He calls us to be holy. He calls us to love. And He also calls us to embrace that we are made in His likeness, and we are made human.

Yes, I’ll be the first to admit that humanity has been tainted. We are a fallen people, a people capable of terribly dark and great things. We are so lost, and my heart breaks to think of how far we have run.

We are a fallen humanity – but we are a chosen humanity, too.

We are chosen.

Don’t you see? – we, in all our sweet contradiction, are chosen.

Oh, praise Him in all His beautiful sweet humanity, and praise Him for this beautifully sweet humanity.

Cross in Gaming, Austria. Photo by Dominic Gentile.
Cross in Gaming, Austria. Photo by Dominic Gentile.

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