"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48
We are in the midst of our state review at work, the audit where every detail of our work is analyzed and scrutinized to assure that my co-workers and I are all competent, that every "i" is dotted, every "t" is crossed, every client is treated with respect and dignity and every possible facet of our work is completed with utmost perfection. In other words, work is a bit stressful right now.
The day that the state dietitian came to sit in on our counseling sessions the work was never-ending; the clients seemed to pour into the door and their problems seemed insurmountable. I had spent time helping a 15-year-old homeless girl with a newborn baby find resources for housing, as her grandfather with whom she had been staying told her that she was no longer welcome there, and I was just reeling over the injustice of a child struggling to grow up too soon and parent another child. I looked into this young girl's beautiful face and thought of my own teenage children and wondered how they would cope if they were in her shoes. But I had to quickly brush those thoughts aside because soon it was my turn in the "hot seat"; my turn for the state dietitian to sit in with me while I counseled a pregnant woman with severe morning sickness and her three-year-old daughter.
I've been working as a WIC nutritionist for 15 years and you'd think that after all this time my job would be a breeze and nothing could rattle me. Not so. Having a representative of the state sit in and critique my work definitely brings out a case of jitters in me. Suddenly I questioned everything I said. I wondered if I should have offered more encouragement to breastfeed even though the client told me that she was definitely not interested in breastfeeding her baby. Did I begin to offer suggestions for dietary improvement too quickly before I had done a thorough nutrition screening, I wondered? And why didn't I give her the mandatory state handout "Drugs and Alcohol Can Hurt You and Your Children?" There really is too much to remember and I wonder how it is that my brain just doesn't burst from over-information. I know that it will only be a matter of time before my boss receives the report and I will feel ashamed because of my negligence and incompetence.
I feel a bit of bitterness and resentment creeping into my heart when I consider all of the people who complain that the Church has too many rules to follow and they freely vent about how they want the Church "their way" as if it were a fast food restaurant and not the Bride of Christ. I think about those who want to pick and choose the rules they like and then cast the rest aside as inconsequential. But the truth is, every rule is important; every requirement is significant. I wish I could just invite those who are unhappy with the Vatican and the discipline of obedience to come on over and visit me on the job. Here the multitude of rules are so important and every little mistake is counted and held against you. It's a good thing really, because compliance with the state requirements ensures uniformity and gives our clients fabulous care. But for me, it also ensures an upset stomach when someone sits and watches me work.
And I can't help but wonder what it will be like when I reach the end of this life and I stand in the "hot seat" of judgment before the Lord. If I'm nervous about being judged by the state, how will it be when it's time for God to judge me. Will he nitpick every little detail, every un-confessed sin? Will he count the indulgences I've gained and tally them against the injustices I have meted out to others? Or will He simply look at me and love me just as I am...weak, sinful, lazy, prideful, greedy, ignorant, prone to anger and quite judgmental myself?
Oh Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Don't hold my transgressions against me. Don't count the many times I forgot to offer words of love to one who was hurting. Don't count the times I failed to pray with an undivided heart. Don't count the times I neglected to comfort the poor, the sick, the sorrowing or the lonely. Just love me as I am because I love You so very much and I want to do better; I want to give You my all without lacking a thing. I want to be perfect in Your sight because You, Yourself are perfect. Help me to be all that you want me to be. Amen.