This is something I have especially realized from coaching. I always enjoyed winning more as a player, a coach, or a parent of a player. The tougher the contest, the more passionately I was involved in the game, the sweeter the victory, and alternatively the more emotionally wrenching the defeat.
After a win, just happiness, joy, congratulations. Not much reflection.
After a loss, especially as a coach, I analyze, and research, and try to understand how it happened, what weaknesses we had in our game plan relative to the opponent's; what could be improved in our practices to turn the weaknesses realized in the loss into strengths.
I wasn't the coach or the player or the parent in this election. My only job was to represent my faith, explain my positions and who I was supporting because of my beliefs, and then to pray fervently for the will of God to be done, that his favored candidates would be elected at local, state, and federal levels.
I didn't feel last night that this is what happened. It was more wrenching this defeat, because I was so passionate and so hopeful and had done what was in my power to do. What good is analyzing it going to do?
What I did learn again was how recuperative sleep can be. I didn't drink last night. I wanted to go to a movie but there wasn't anything worth watching. I just went to bed after finishing Story of A Soul. I had to force myself to read that. I was so completely fed up with drudge, foxnews . . . . my little crutches during this election season.
I am glad I did. The last thing I read was about St. Thérèse's dream where she has her head held in the hands of a deceased superior in her Carmelite order, and she is told that Jesus is very pleased with her, and with her little acts done with great love. What a saint!
Last week I was a little disappointed that the new pastor for our local Catholic parish confused St. Teresa of Avila with St. Thérèse of Lisieux. I love them both. We gave my younger daughter the middle name Therese in honor of both of these great saints, as well as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
What did I learn from this defeat? I learned that my passions continue to get the better of me instead of God getting the better of me. I was praying after Mass this morning and realized that the magnitude of sorrow and irritability I had last night as the election went the way I had hoped it wouldn't, showed me how far I am from who I might be and hope to be . . . someone like St. Thérèse whose passion for Our Lord was so well channeled into actually loving him in her small acts. She wrote toward the end of her autobiography of how her soul was in peace and calm.
How different from my soul last night. Here I am in my middle years and still my only solace from the personal defeats of my obsessiveness over polls, candidates, issues, and election results is that the Holy Spirit continues to find ways to show me what my weakness and failings are.
I can resolve anew to seek first the Lord's Kingdom (Matthew 6:33) within me . . . not in a detached way as advocating a philosophy or an engraving on the back of my iPad (and it is), but as the way I live each day of my life.
I have so little self-discipline. That is a personal defeat. Knowing that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit seems to tell me that I am in dire need for a greater out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, or I am making the wrong choices with my free will that is impeding his action in my life, in transforming my heart, or it is a thorn that God permits for me to realize how much more I need his grace.
"My strength is made perfect in weakness," is what he told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Just hoping Lord that you will give me the strength to follow where your Spirit leads and to please you. I do place all my trust in you.