What Buzz Lightyear Taught Me About Humility
There was movie some years ago that most of you have probably seen called Toy Story. It had a deep impact on me, for it came out at a critical moment in my life.
It was my 33rd year of life and the 6th year of my priesthood. As I have related elsewhere, I had suffered a nervous breakdown that required a week in the hospital and a month off to recuperate. What drove me to that point was being asked to take an assignment I really wasn’t ready for. I was asked to pastor a parish that was in serious financial trouble. The stress nearly finished me.
Invincible? I was a young priest at the time, still emerging from my “invincible” stage when I thought I could do anything. I guess it’s pretty common for men in their twenties to think they can handle anything. During those years, opinions are strong, dreams are still vivid, and hard experience has not always taught its tough lessons yet.
So the young priest had said “yes” to the assignment, even though I had reservations. Soon enough, the panic attacks came, followed by waves of depression, and days when I could barely come out of my room. A week in the hospital for evaluation, a month off to recuperate, and years of good spiritual direction, psychotherapy, and the Sacraments have been God’s way of restoring me to health.
Somewhere in the early stages of all this, I saw the movie Toy Story. And right away, I knew I was Buzz Lightyear. Buzz begins the movie as a brash, would-be hero and savior of the planet. Buzz Lightyear’s tagline is, “To infinity … and beyond!” The only problem is that he seems to have no idea that he is just a toy. He actually thinks he has come from a distant planet to save Earth. He often radios to the mother ship and, hearing nothing, concludes she must be just out of range….
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