Shadow-dog has been racing about on his patrol, looking like the idiot-dog by practicing his spot-turns on the snowy-wet mud path he’s carved into the backyard. This sprays mud into the air as if his paws are spinning knobby off-road tires of a climber-jeep. When the acrobatics get a bit complicated, he gets himself on an intense learning curve… mid-air. And then… crash. But he gets better at it.
My mom once reprimanded me for the doing this kind of thing – being bad in order to be good – she not quite getting the gist of the process, trying to keep me from getting broken bones while she fretting during some of the more complicated maneuvers of my extreme sports. What she didn’t know is that what I was doing was surely keeping me away from broken bones. You have to be bad in order to be good.
Drawing the analogy with, say, prayer, whereby prayer is an extreme sport, whereby you are brought along without being in control of any progress, our Lord accomplishing a friendship with Him which we could not set as a goal or have any helps or coping mechanisms to lean on while He does this in His way. When He is lifted up on the Cross, He said, He will draw all to Himself. That means He’s drawing us through all the hell that was broken out on Calvary. We already know that we’ll be stupid enough to try to depend on our own strength which we actually don’t have ourselves anyway, and therefore in this way we will surely pull away from Him in this way and that, and we will look mighty stupid in all of this. But He is very patient, and we slowly learn in His grace that He is more important than our ongoing distractions, and we allow ourselves in whatever distraction that hell has to offer, to be stably with Him. Have no fear. You have to bad to be good, you know, not on purpose. No. But go ahead and just tell our Lord, in His grace, “Yes!” You want to begin. You will surely confront your weakness of stupidly depending on your own strength. But that’s part of it. You’re name might be mud for a while. Have no fear. That will turn to a name He gives you, that, as it says in the Good Book, is only known to you and Him. When He calls your name, you’ll be standing right before Him, perhaps with mud all over your face, but – Hey! – you’ll have learned to stand right before Him. And that’s where we want to be.