The Troubles of Each Day

‘Sufficient unto the day are the troubles thereof.’ (Matt. 6.4) Or should it be ‘evil’?  Or ‘affliction’? However we translate the Greek, we know pretty well what we are on about: the tendency of every day to throw up challenges and difficulties we had rather not face. The big ones are easy enough. It is always humbling, for example, to see how people meet death or disaster or other huge challenges with quiet dignity and resolution. It’s the little ones that catch us out. Yesterday I spilt half a tin of paint on the floor while clearing up after the builders had left. My language was chaste but my thoughts were murderous. Indeed, I was inwardly chuntering for at least half an hour after I had cleared up the mess — and to what end, I ask myself? The truth is that the small troubles of life are the stuff of everyday. Most of us are not called to do great things, but we are all called to live each day as perfectly — lovingly — as possible, to be patient, cheerful and generous. If we have got into the habit of emoting over everything (e.g. spilt paint), perhaps we need to reconsider. What sort of people are we? Are we as little as the trifles we have to deal with, or are we bigger than that?

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21 thoughts on “The Troubles of Each Day”

  1. Amen. Thank you. Somehow your sober thoughts manage to bring a smile … ‘life is absurd’ … we are absurd … but we just have to get on with it … sometimes with a wry smile on our face … but warmth in our heart … Amen.

  2. Dear Sister Catherine
    I understand the point you are making. You give examples of big issues and comparatively small issues; ” the habit of ” – which we can try and change.. The more interesting bit….murderous thoughts, inwardly chuntering for at least half an hour, I am curious, after being a practicing monastic for a number of years, that is how you are thinking, feeling ( getting caught out on the little things). You are human that may be all the needs to be said, however I take it that you were patient, generous, cheerful in clearing it up and getting on with it but inside you had murderous thoughts and chuntering, I guess I am thinking after all that perservering in a monastic life you may have been fortunate enough to have the inward and outward more aligned? If that is possible, perhaps therefore it is not?

    • I’m not quite sure I understand you. If you are saying that you are shocked by my admission that, despite many years in monastic life, there are still times when I react badly to situations, I fear you have a false idea of what monks and nuns are like. We are not saints. We are hoping to become saints, and the road to holiness is beset by many failures en route. There are times, indeed, when I hope that I do transcend the feelings of the moment — but not yesterday (and it is only a partial excuse that my illness makes getting down on the floor to clear things up quite difficult and painful).

      • Dear Sister Catherine

        Sorry! Perhaps I was being crass ( stupid), certainly not shocked. Not meant to be critical, judgemental, ( I am more at the admiration end of the spectrum). At the Risk of digging abig hole…..I was curious that after trying to practice the Bendeictine way for a long time, one can change so that one did not have murderous thoughts etc,, apparently not ( most politely meant), however perhaps you change in that one can control how one reacts, perhaps it doesn’t get easier after years of practice if you a left chuntering, but perhaps that is good because of what you have said when you kindly replied
        So perhaps it is just perseverance (eg you cleaning up the paint when you could have used illness as an excuse) and it does not get easier. So, thank you for keeping going, your wit ,humour, and knowledge.
        PS. I am glad I am not in striking distance:)

  3. Forgive me once more, I should have said, ‘THANK GOD,
    paradoxically both’. As I am sure you would be the first to point out to us, the marvellous thing is God loves us just as we are, even when we break his heart by forgetting that.

  4. Dear Sister Catherine,
    Great post.
    Would have enjoyed being a fly on the wall to observe the paint scene. Actually, i wish I could have been there to help clean up.

    You are so right about often taking the big issues of life on the chin and getting all worked up about smaller things such as getting stuck in traffic.

    Thanks for the reminder that challenges and obstacles are just part of life and despite that fact life is a pretty good thing – in fact a precious gift.

    Thank you!

  5. Thank you for this blog as I have been chunterring on for several days now over the little challenges of car brake downs and missed, self imposed deadlines, and not really facing up to the big challenge of the one that I can’t fix!
    So thank you for putting it into perspective.
    God bless

  6. It is sometimes the smallest things that can be the most irritating and get us at our weakest moments. It is then I realise my weakness and have learned to ask for God’s help at least for the next time. It has been humbling to recognize that I can’t always react as I should because I am not perfect. As much as I want to not react to little things I often do, As you say, we strive to be saints. May we all ask for God’s grace to keep things in perspective. When we fall we go to Him who loves us so dearly and know he is there in these moments ready to forgive and help pick us up. We all have our challenges and must remain hopeful and encourage and love each other wherever we are in our journey. I hope we all today can be more compassionate toward those who may fall and help pick up their spirits. God loves us all so much even when we fall. Thank you so much for sharing what happened. Sometimes we think we are alone in our struggles.

  7. We are fallen human beings, not yet perfect, therefore we moan and chunter and behave as we really are, authentically, the flippin halo’s slipped – what, not again! But each time we sigh and acknowledge ‘here I go again’ we grow a little bit closer to the Lord, who understands, and yes, surely smiles at the hopelessness of us as we know our reliance on his grace; can’t do it on my own, only with Him, and it’s a lifetime’s work. Amen

  8. The huge issues that confront us in life, in my case the death of my husband, a house fire, and more can feel so overwhelming that we do confront them with quietness and dignity, a great stillness. God’s merciful grace surrounds and protects us.

    Those little niggling irritants, however, the spilled milk or in your case the spilled paint Sister, ah those things drive us wild! Most often though, after a moment letting off steam, we see the humour and smile our relief that for these small things we have the strength to cope.

    I am praying today for relief of your pain Sister and for everyone commenting here today. God bless.

  9. Something I often have to remember when catching myself mid-rant (at least you keep yours to yourself – I go off like a volcano), or when listening to other people in a situation when they seem to be drastically over-reacting, is that it is rarely the one little thing that is the root cause of the emotional outburst. It just happens to be the final straw.

    I got the train to work today, because my town has been littered with temporary traffic lights. After fighting my way through, I kept arriving at work already stressed, frazzled and fed up. As soon as one more thing went wrong in the morning, that was it, everything was against me! I figured it was time to break the cycle.

    I imagine split paint is the least of the things causing you stress, irritation and so on. We have to deal with the feelings some way, though, and if crying over split milk (or paint) is the answer, then… maybe we just need to be nicer to ourselves (and each other).

  10. Sorry if this is a too simple reply. But, before I became a Christian, a rant, a chuntering, a full blown loss of cool and temper would not have mattered.

    When I first became a Christian aged 50, I spent days blaming and beating myself up for all my weaknesses and back slides.
    In effect, making a mockery of the cross where forgiveness was poured out for me in the shed blood of Jesus.
    Now I am grateful for the prompting of the Holy Spirit, that urges me to seek and claim that forgiveness when I have a rant as I did two weeks ago when dropping a full coal bucket on a freshly washed kitchen floor and rugs. However,I also had a sense of calm, get on with it, clean it up moment, that I never would have had, which prompted me to feel I am being changed, my journey is long and difficult but I am never alone!
    To the person in the car … I have learnt to take time to look around. Be thankful for what I am seeing in God’s creation, and that I can still drive, this is not intended to patronise but it has worked for me preventing the frustration build up!
    Sorry for the ramble. Thanks for sharing the chunter, yes it is the small things that get us down!

    • Thank you, I think many people could identify with what you say, I know I could. I think we sometimes forget that grace does work away at us. We all know times (like my paint-spilling moment) when we seem to be back ayt the beginning again. We see only the back of the tapestry. God — and sometimes others — sees the front.

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