"Who is the patron saint of broken down cars?" my friend cried out in frustration early Sunday morning. I had guests in town this past weekend, and they had to leave early Sunday morning to be on time for church obligations back home. All they needed was a simple battery jump. But that morning's car troubles were anything but simple to fix. My own cables were missing; my friend didn't own any. We had to go purchase them and then try to somehow get my car close enough to hers in my narrow driveway for the cables to reach. But we eventually worked it all out, the car started, and they were on their way in time.
Sometimes, our best actions and intentions can be frustrated by the smallest of things. You want to be a teacher so that you can work with a under-privileged school districts, but they won't hire you. We want to make it to a friend's birthday event that we haven't seen in a while, but we cannot get away from work in time. We want to make a nice meal for our partner, but simple mistake or forgetten ingrediant makes it difficult to achieve.
With the best intentions, it can be infuriating to have our plans interefered with. "But God, I'm doing this for a good reason!" It can be the most selfless of actions, but somehow along the way, things don't work out. What matters then is not if we actually accomplish what we have set out to accomplish, but how we handle these road bumps. Do we confront them with anger? Do we lash out at the telemarketer who has no more control than we do? Or do we just give up, deciding that we aren't mean to achieve this?
Or can we cry out to God, a pure and honest groan from our souls, wanting to do our best. Our reaction to these frustrations can be more important than the intentions we started out with. We can all start a month with the same goals, but as the days and weeks go by and little by little, our plans our interefered with, our reactions become more important than our intentions. Sure, you intended to try and be a kinder person this month. But then you discovered your friend had spread a rumor about you. This is the point that determines your strength, the iron in your soul to do better. We can cry out to God, purely hoping for the strength to move forward or we can shake our fists at God, frustrated that God doesn't see this our way.