Remember learning in third grade that the Native Americans used every part of the buffalo? The hide, the hooves, the horns, the organs, the bones, the sinew, and of course the meat—it was all put to good use, and helped them survive. Nothing went to waste, not even the waste! They burned that for fuel.
Well, being a Catholic is kind of like that. Who could possibly find a use for a leaky pipe, a suicidal van, a five-year-old boy who routinely goes berserk, a bulging waistline, a wrenched back and another sleepless night, or fleas?
Who but God?
I certainly don’t want all of those things; I have no use for them at all. But when they come rumbling across the landscape at me in herds, I can just point them in God’s direction. He can handle them, and He has no end of good ideas.
And it’s not only the buffalo chips of daily life that are useful. I can offer up the good things, too: the baby’s silky hair, a juicy clementine, a loving and faithful husband, a silly joke, the hidden, graceful lines of chicken bones, an unexpectedly easy washing machine repair—God knows what to do with those, too.
I don’t trot around feeling grateful or accepting all the time—far from it. But at least at my best moments, I know there’s some use for every part of the buffalo that is me.