My Fault!
Off the Wall, December 4,

The other day, I was talking to Martin Hartsknuckel (nicknamed, “Hark”) about a subject that interested us both when all of a sudden he told me he had to leave and attend to important business. Here is the part that really irritated me. He said, “I’ll call you back when I’m through.

Am I naïve to state that I took him at his word? He and I go way back, so I figured he would be true to his word, right? But more than enough, sometimes he calls me, but most the time he doesn’t after making these so-called promises.

Should I get upset? Let’s turn the tide a bit. Am I alone or would others feel the same way?

In reading a commentary after meditating on scripture recently, I read the words, “How often we blame our issues on someone else!” Ain’t that the truth!

It goes on to state, “St. Paul reminds us not to lose sight of the real battle. It’s not with the other person, but with the devil himself, who wants to separate us from each other and from Jesus.”

And may I say he seems to be doing a good job at it. The stupid thing is I’m letting him. But I don’t think I am any different than a lot of other people I know. We are literally walking away from God when we let Satan take the upper hand and lead us in the direction he wants us to go.

The question in the periodical is asked, “When you have resentful thoughts about someone, who do you think planted them?” Can’t blame Hark for this one, even though I don’t want to blame myself, either. One may say its human nature.

From The Word Among Us, Daily Meditation for Catholics, October 2014, comes this statement from Pope Francis whereby he talks about how the devil works. “What does Satan do to distance us from the path of Jesus?” he asked. “First, his temptation begins gradually but grows and is always growing. Second, it grows and infects another person; it spreads to another and seeks to be part of the community. And in the end, in order to calm the soul, it justified itself. It grows, it spreads, and it justifies itself.”

His commentary continued. “Our Christian life is a struggle. That’s because the Prince of this world, Satan, doesn’t want our holiness. We mustn’t be naïve, right?”

Do only Christians fall under this category or those whom may follow other persuasions, as well? Others may say they don’t have such problems, but it is my opinion, some do and don’t, just as some Christians do, some don’t, it’s that simple.

But I like to look at these things in my own way. I call it the “bowling ball syndrome.” I set myself up to get knocked down.
There was a priest one time who told me to thicken my skin. I’ve been told by others that I am thin-skinned. Now, is that God’s fault or Satan’s fault? Can’t blame Satan. He didn’t create me. However, I am God’s creation, yet I believe we all have the same layered epidermis, that is the outside skin. It doesn’t take much for me to bleed, but from what I know, it doesn’t take much for others to bleed, as well, if we both get poked by a needle.

God made me a sensitive individual, I believe, so I can feel the pain of others, aid to comfort, seek to listen, and pray for their hurting.

Thank God, I can work through my disappointments, missed opportunities, and everyday conflicts by turning to Him and praying. Through the Holy Spirit, I am led to greener pastures, never looking back with thoughts of taking other paths.

Again, Pope Francis noted, “Remember that you aren’t fighting against flesh and blood – your annoying co-worker, your boundary-pushing teenager, or your bragging neighbor. So don’t take it out on them. Rather, engage your real enemy the best way you can – by staying close to Jesus, King of Kings, who has conquered the devil.”

I was reading an article about “sparks.” I always knew them to be a good thing, something that would ignite an amber and lead to glowing flame. “We have to stomp out those sparks in our life,” said the author,” before they create the flames that spread sin.”

“Dear Lord, thank you for stomping out that spark that caused division between Hark and me,” I prayed.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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