“You’re A Saint!”

People who are accused of sainthood will tell you over & over again: I’m just doing what comes naturally. Those who willfully take care of the needs of difficult people (whether you define that as the mentally ill, the neurotic, the perpetually angry or anybody in a Corolla going 20 mph down Ventura) don’t do so because they are saints or even massochists; they don’t know any better.

Does that make them saints, or does it simply make them followers of Christ?

Last Sunday’s sermon was about All Saints’ Day. It took me a while to figure out how to write about this. I have a number of excuses. Monday, somebody needed me more than I needed to write. Tuesday I went into fibroflare. Wednesday is my long day. Thursday I don’t even remember what happened. Friday I was drained. So here I am, secreted away in my room, avoiding several invites to go out because I’m tired & in pain, pondering sainthood.

Father says saints aren’t celebrities. I don’t take this to be a dig on famous folk so much as we need to focus on what celebrity means. A “celebrated” person is one we get excited to see, talk about, learn about. Angelina Jolie is a celebrity. Kanye West (my laziest long running joke) is a celebrity even if you hate him because he does things people want to talk about (& make lazy long running jokes about). The President is a celebrity, period, whether he’s Obama or Reagan or Rutherford B. Hayes, though Hayes is kinda D list now, which happens to all of us when we retire from the public eye.*

*If you so much as even think about “informing” me he’s dead in the Comments section, I will end you, though this means very little coming from an English person. I will probably serve you some crappy bagged tea & only bake you one cake.

For me it says that saints should be celebrities. We should celebrate & talk about those who have sacrificed great swaths of their lives (& sometimes their very lives) for the love of Christ. They show it to others, died in His name to honour it, lived it day in & out. But they weren’t being paid $3 mil a year to do an ad campaign, & they never flipped a table in childish rage on a reality show, so meh, say we.

This is actually just fine to the saint. Nobody who is a saint thinks they are one. They’re just doing their thang. They don’t want attention drawn to it; they don’t want a reward. They show love to others simply because it is the right thing to do. They exhibit this love to each individual, one at a time, because that is the most loving thing a human person can do–give personal time.

Anyone with a winning smile & a joke can stand up in front of a camera & say something nice & make people feel kinda good for a minute, maybe even longer. But saints will come to you when it’s convenient to you, not to them. Saints will help you just because you need it, not because they need someone to think they’re awesome. Saints don’t do things for others because someone’s watching.

So they can’t be celebrities. I don’t think the reverse is true. Celebrities could be saints & we’d have no idea, just like you don’t know that the guy going 20mph in the Corolla in front of you (allegedly the spawn of Satan & a diseased hamster as you curse him out from behind your steering wheel) gets up at 5 every morning & prepares meals for homeless folks. Or he visits sick children in the hospital. Or he donated bone marrow to a stranger. So yes, speed up, saintly man, but I’m sorry I called you the love child of Dolores Umbridge & a rusty flute.

Some of you (you know who you are) believe nobody does things from the kindness of their heart. You believe everybody’s got an angle. I used to believe as you do that everybody’s got their kink, their weakness, & no one is to be trusted. The PTSD part of me still eyes people warily in this fashion, suspecting that people are mostly crap. There are, however, real saints in the world. I think I’ve met a couple. It’s enough for me now to allow people to show me who they are. Most people are broken. Some heal jagged; some breaks reveal dazzling light patterns beneath, like the breaking set free the angel, at least in part. These are saints in our modern world. They’re broken, but they live in light anyway, & they want to share it.

But most people are crap. Jesus loves them anyway. If I can’t love them, I give them to Him. His SPCA is vast, His veterinary clinic fully stocked, funded & staffed, & His is a no kill facility.

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4 thoughts on ““You’re A Saint!”

  1. sarahiz says:

    I am not a saint. I don’t think I will ever be. I tried for 20 years to love people and expect no reward; to love people just because they are people, and to look to God for my strength and fulfillment. Mostly what happened was I exhausted everything I had ever received, all my joy and smiles and belief that the world could hold light. I didn’t begin to get that back until I acknowledged that it is impossible for me to love that way; that God doesn’t miraculously make me have no needs, or make me impervious to how others hurt and ignore me, or even make me able to show love to difficult people. The best I can manage, on the days I’m feeling loved and forgiven, is to be a little vulnerable and believe that God loves me even when people forget I exist. That I am precious even when I can’t show up at just the right moment.

    I can never be a saint. But maybe being just me will be enough for Christ and for others, in the long run.

    • kelliejane says:

      Being you is MORE than enough, Sarah. I don’t know your whole story yet, but I know that God is with you, & I can see why He wants to hang out with you. 🙂

      • sarahiz says:

        Aw. Thank you. 🙂

        Didn’t realize until after I had written my comment that your post here prodded some deep self-disappointment. I never really called it this, but I think my whole life I wanted to be a saint. And it’s been hard accepting that 20 years didn’t make me one!

      • kelliejane says:

        I don’t think sainthood is a thing that’s pass/fail (unless we’re talking about Catholic criteria). You may have repeatedly been a saint to ingrates. You did the work; they failed to recognize it. That is their failing.

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