As a 'cradle Catholic', I've always kinda figured that someday I'll die and go to heaven. Life after death is a heavy topic for a child but I knew that heaven is for the good guys and hell for the bad guys and I was obviously a good guy. So that was all I really thought about for the most part. I had to worry about growing up and making the right choices and doing the right things. I had to worry about all the terrible things in the world on the news and worry that some terrible thing would reach my family too. But what I forgot was Jesus is THE good guy, and the good guy always wins. When watching movies it's easy to enjoy the show and not worry about any difficulties that happen or worry that tragic things will happen, because I always know there will be a happy ending. Somehow I failed to bring that assurance into real life. Jesus has already conquered sin and death. Because I didn't think about heaven or the end of my story much at all I wasn't able to put all my worries in the trust that my good guy Jesus would make sure there is a happy ending.
Soon I was grown, engaged, and meeting with the awesome priest who agreed to witness our marriage. He asked us what the goal of life is; I didn't know the answer. My mind started down the path of thinking it had something to do with obeying God but the priest didn't leave us hanging for too long. He said the goal of life is to get to heaven. And the goal of marriage is to get your spouse to heaven. That's one of those answers that makes me realize of course, I knew that, it's really very obvious! I probably knew it all along, but that was seriously the first time in my life that I really thought about it.
My fantastic mother-in-law sometimes says things along the lines of, "Will it get you to heaven?" when there is an argument, which I think is a great sentiment for putting things into perspective. Every time she says it I am reminded again that I should be putting aside worries and arguments about things that really don't matter if I can just step back a pace and see the bigger picture. The first time I heard her say that I felt stunned by what a fantastic question it is. I also felt sad that whatever argument I had been a part of that felt so important to me was really not important on a grand scale, I had to let go. Sometimes when I hear that question I still feel the sadness of my sinful nature cling to me, I really want my small worries to matter, since they feel like they matter so much to me. Letting go is a part of my journey now.
I feel like I've just noticed a set of goggles that have been sitting on a side table my whole life. I might have put the goggles on a few times as a child but don't remember the experience. Now I have examined the goggles and see that if I wear them they make the world look as it should. The problem is I have to hold up the goggles, they don't stay over my eyes by themselves. And I'm so busy and distracted moving about through life that I often set the goggles down again absentmindedly and forget about them for a while. These goggles are the perspective on life that God wants me to have, like seeing things through His eyes. Reminders in life that get me putting life into perspective once more are like a glint of sunlight on the goggles reminding me to look through them. I pray that I might find the straps that belong with the goggles to keep them always over my eyes and correcting my vision, keeping me focused on the big picture and the end of the story, where I must stand before judgement. At the end of my story I will know and truly understand all that Jesus did as the good guy of my story in saving me. A motto from one of my favorite radio shows, Catholic Answers Live, is "Be a saint, what else is there?". These very true questions will be a start in my journey to put my life into perspective.