Blessed are Those, but What about Me?

Blessed are those, but what about me?
Epiphany 4; Matthew 5:1-12
Ah! the Beatitudes!
Why do I read them with unease?
Do I flinch from the suffering,
dare not claim the virtues?
Can I see them as be-attitudes,
sometimes experienced, often not,
seldom attained by will and effort,
their blessings paradoxical?

Consider my poverty of spirit.
It’s not a chosen humility,
but an unstable mix of insecure self-blame
and acceptance of my gifts and confidence.
Chaotic emotions have always been 
close to my surface, soon exposed
when problems multiply.
Then I teeter on the edge of darkness
with tears slippery underfoot.
Perhaps it is the kingdom of heaven
that baptizes me with weeping
and sets me upright again.

Of course I mourn, who does not?
Life brings losses, deaths and failure.
I seek the illusion of comfort
in distraction, though I know
only sitting with grief and sharing it
bring the blessing of real comfort.

Meekness is not a state I trust.
I have been mild too often
when I wanted to stand up and speak out.
Then perhaps I might have been blessed 
with hunger and thirst for righteousness
which earn the right to be filled.

Mercy I desire but don’t often dispense:
annual donations, some time as a chaplain,
this ongoing domestic caring,
minor but sometimes onerous.

Perhaps there are patches of pure heartedness,
or at least a grateful awareness
where I do see God in a bird
and a tree, a word and worship.

I want to be a peacemaker,
but more often I’m an accommodator
who longs to avoid conflict.
God still loves that child in me.

As for being reviled and persecuted,
given the world’s history of cruelty,
what’s the small suffering of being bullied,
receiving criticism, being pressured to conform?
I acknowledge the pettiness of such pain,
but don’t manage to rejoice.
Though I try to write honestly
when prophetic words come,
I don’t relish a prophet’s fate.

Yet blessings have come to me
through grief and struggle,
humiliation and failure,
and my all too human vulnerability.
Like Job hearing God in the whirlwind,
I have received the blessing
of God’s bracing presence.
	Barbara Messner 24/01/2023

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