Gillick, Larry, S.J.
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I attended a speech recently and the presenter, several times, failed to clear his throat from some congestion and kept talking. I noticed I felt myself clearing my throat and I heard several throats being cleared in harmony, but he just talked right through until finally he almost couldn't speak and then he finally "ah-hummed" and we all relaxed. Now that is really being intently involved in what needs to be said. Even as I wrote that last sentence, I had to clear my throat and I wasn't even speaking or had any congestion. Amazing.Most of us have a deep desire to assist making things right. The problem always is, "what's right?" I carry and use a handkerchief to clear my nose. Some people think that is unhealthy and that I should use disposable tissues and that's what's right. I think a handkerchief is better than a sleeve. And that makes it right. There is the old Latin saying, "De gustibus non disputandum" which is translated, "About taste there is no arguing". What that really means is "Don't try to convince me that I should like spinach." I personally do not like the taste of eggs in any form or condition except chocolate Easter Eggs or buried tastefully in Brownies. Don't ask me why! Some dislikes cannot be explained. What is right is that I don't like eggs. You say "po-tay-toes and I say "po-tah-toes" is taken from the song, "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off". No I am not speaking of right in the moral sense, but some other way.We call God The Creator and we are creatures who extend God's continual creational relationship with us. At times, we think that God desires to call the whole thing off and certainly we experience that in ourselves. A sculptor might become frustrated with the apparent lack of cooperation from the marble and throw down his/her chisel and hammer. Teachers might feel like giving up at the resistance of the students to learn irregular French verb forms. Parents perhaps can lose patience with the failures of their children to learn manners, such as saying "thank you" and not wiping their noses on their sleeves. There are norms and traditions and customs peculiar to tribes or families. A peculiar "right" in our house was that any shoes left in the living room overnight, including those of our father, would be available to the owners the next morning down in the basement at the bottom of the laundry chute. It was "right" that we left them there and our mother was "right" in her "active-aggressive" reminders.She was doing the "right" thing in her agency of creating her family lovingly, including the ongoing creation of her husband. She never called that whole marital thing off. That is how the "right" is determined in clearing throats or living rooms. I want you and you and you to be very similar to what is best in me, you see. I can desire to create you in my own image. What is actually "right" is for me to help God, in my limited way, with God's creation of you. What can bother me about you is not really you. What bothers me about you is something about me that bothers me and you bring it out. You shine a light on me in some way and that light bothers me as it exposes something I do not like. Your light is creating an awareness in me about my being a creature and I wish you'd stop that so that I could ignore or deny that something in me.In determining what of you I would wish to change, I could ask myself whether or not I am sincerely interested in your creation or mine. Will you be more of God's creational gift to this world, or will I just feel better? The movie, in which Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers sing about calling the whole thing off, is "Let's Dance". We dance well when we listen to the music rather than step on each other's toes. Let's call the whole thing "on"! It is only a glimpse; now where are my shoes?