Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: anonymous

“Woe to the man whose reputation exceeds his deeds,” said a certain elder.

And again on another occasion: “Do not avoid being scorned, brother.”

May I confess that I have spent days mulling over this Saying and wondering what could I possibly say about it and then this morning the words fell into my mind.

There is a blog I follow written by John Pavolitz and the comments can be acrimonious. Before Christmas, we were talking about how people with wealth simply can’t relate to the poor. I myself am impoverished and I shared that I get most of my groceries from a food bank and the choices are not very compatible with my attempts to manage my diabetes and that on Amazon, I had created a grocery wish list of foods that would help.

To my utter and complete astonishment, for a couple of weeks, I received a package or two every single day, including sixteen pounds of cat food and forty pounds of cat litter. Everything came anonymously and every day I would go to the block and thank the anonymous person for their gift.

Most people were happy about this but there is one person who posts with a blank space where the name would be, who has taken me in extreme dislike. Talk about scorn. I won’t go into details but this person most emphatically scorns me.

Confronted with this I was at first taken aback and the first thing I wanted to do was defend myself when I remembered the words of Michelle Obama, “we teach our daughters that when they go low, we go high,” and I realized that the person who posts as a blank was expecting me to go tit for tat. If I did that it would only open me to more scorn.

So I have limited my response to “I commit you to God in love. May the Holy Spirit dance in your heart” and I mean those words with sincerity because clearly, this person is suffering. To lash out that way at a total stranger can only came from living with some sort of pain.

Every time I post, blank person writes something nasty and scornful, so I guess I am not avoiding being scorned and I pray for the strength to avoid retaliation.

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