TODAY: Flo, Chekhov, Optina & Darwin

Tch! Having seen it “bubble” from her lips in a strip long ago, I used to think these words were original to Mr Capp‘s wife, Flo:

“Any idiot can face a crisis; it is this day-to-day living that wears you out.”

— Anton Chekhov (born on this date in 1860)

St Maximos the Confessor: “Many of the things that befall us, befall us for our training, either to do away with past sins or to correct present neglect or to check future sinful deeds. He then, who reckons that temptation has come upon him for one of these reasons, is not vexed at its attack, especially as he is conscious of his sin.”

John Lennon: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

In light of the above quotes -– all true -– by a writer, a saint, and a musician: Would that we were better prepared for those things that just “happen.” Wouldn’t it be nice if we got out of bed knowing full well that the Lord would send us trials to help us toward patience? Would that we got into our cars fully expecting the other drivers on the road to break all the rules, to help us toward patience? What if we determined, before our day even began, to look the other way when tempted by lust -– and then followed through with our promise as soon, and often, as able? What if we decided, just for one day, to go without participating in gossip, anger, swearing, or gluttony? (What if you are already doing this and I am the only one missing the boat?)

Prayer of the Optina Elders:
Grant unto me, O Lord, that with peace of mind I may face all that this new day is to bring. Grant unto me to dedicate myself completely to Thy Holy Will. For every hour of this day, instruct and support me in all things. Whatsoever tidings I may receive during the day, do Thou teach me to accept tranquilly, in the firm conviction that all eventualities fulfill Thy Holy Will. Govern Thou my thoughts and feelings in all I do and say. When things unforeseen occur , let me not forget that all cometh down from Thee. Teach me to behave sincerely and rationally toward every member of my family, that I may bring confusion and sorrow to none. Bestow upon me, my Lord, strength to endure the fatigue of the day, and to bear my part in all its passing events. Guide Thou my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to suffer, to forgive, and to love.

Finally, realizing that we often miss the mark with our fellow man, the late Darwin Kirby once wrote:

Sometimes at night, when I am saying my prayers, I end by saying — “God bless all the people that I don’t like and all the people who don’t like me.” And that covers a mighty multitude.

Now that sounds like a prayer even Andy Capp could pray!

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