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  • Godwin Cotter

I am both a self-starter and a multi-tasker. It's in my DNA. No sooner have I started something, I go into multitasking mode and start something else. My wife isn’t always appreciative of my talents and gifts. She says something about me never finishing, being super A-Dee-Dee, not listening, something like that, I don’t listen that much, I’m just too busy. Busyness is my middle name... going places, not sure where... but I will get there! (I'm giving myself a high-five)

My "naturally blonde" sister also has the multitasking bug. She brags a little about being able to put on makeup (really a complete makeover) while booting down Toronto’s four lane highways on a stick shift. “I can put on makeup while driving on the 401” she says. My other sister said “I believe you, it shows!” I am not sure whether the sister throwing shade was talking about the driving or the makeup. But come to think of it, sometimes, multitasking sister does on occasion look like a cross between a birthday cake and Ronald McDonald.

Anyways, this could be a metaphor for our lives in relation to God, as individuals or as church. We think we are all prettied up and looking good, but we’ve been booting down the highway, multi-tasking, putting on makeup using the rear view mirror, praying that we’ll get to work on time, all the while listening to AC-DC belting out “Highway to Hell”. Maybe we've got mega confidence, striking poses with dramatic flair, but if we had a working mirror and could see the makeup disaster, we would envy the local bag lady for her classy looks.

I’ve always found the Byzantine prayers able to keep in balance the fact that we’re all Disaster Central, spiritually, and yet loved by God at the same time. Take for example, the prayer of the holy monk, St. Ephraim below (emphasis mine):

O Lord, heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, have compassion and mercy on Thy servant and pardon my unworthiness, and forgive me all the sins that I humanly committed today, and not only humanly but even worse than a beast — my voluntary sins, known and unknown, from my youth and from evil suggestions, and from my brazenness, and from boredom. If I have sworn by Thy name or blasphemed it in thought, blamed or reproached anyone, or in my anger have detracted or slandered anyone, or grieved anyone, or if I have become angry about anything, or have told a lie, if I have slept unnecessarily, or if a beggar has come to me and I despised or neglected him, or if I have troubled my brother or quarreled with him, or if I have condemned anyone, or have boasted, or have been proud, or lost my temper with anyone, or if when standing in prayer my mind has been distracted by the glamour of this world, or if I have had depraved thoughts, or have overeaten or have drunk excessively, or have laughed frivolously, or have thought evil, or have seen the attraction of someone and been wounded by it in my heart, or said indecent things, or made fun of my brother's sin when my own faults are countless, or been neglectful of prayer, or have done some other wrong that I cannot remember — for I have done all this and much more — have mercy, my Lord and Creator, on me, Thy wretched and unworthy servant, and absolve and forgive and deliver me in Thy goodness and love for men, so that lustful, sinful, and wretched as I am, I may lie down and sleep and rest in peace. And I shall worship, praise, and glorify Thy most honorable Name, with the Father and His only begotten Son, now and ever and for all ages. Amen.

I’ve got these monks beat in the sin department, but not in contrition. Anyways, by means of a postscript, my naturally blonde, multi-tasking sister eventually got married. I always tell my wife that she looks beautiful without makeup because it really is true. I wonder if my brother-in-law says the same thing to my sister. It is also true, but perhaps on more than one level. Love has always been blind. It that also true for God? I certainly hope so for our sakes.

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