A friend texted me, asking me and my family to pray for his wife who was diagnosed with a form of cancer. I texted back the only thing I could think of to give him comfort.
“Of course we will.”
While praying for relief for my friend and his wife, I’m also contemplating what it means to worry … and a spirit much wiser than mine whispers:
You tend to think you’re in control of your life … until disaster strikes, and relieves you of that terrifying belief.
Next my mind ponders the words of wisdom my cousin once comforted me with under similar circumstances—but in a more Looney Toons spirit:
“We should be like the dog climbing into the back seat of his master’s car, sticking his head out the window and enjoying the ride, wherever it takes us.”
His point: with our Master at the wheel, let’s make the most of our ride until we reach our destination.
Let’s also pray for the North Carolinians and Floridians who decided to stay home and ride out Hurricanes Florence and Michael. Many were cut off from supplies and transportation, and therefore left with no other choice but to help each other continue the ride of their lives. Some news accounts of Florence showed the children of these survivors doing what children do best: playing with each other. Amidst all of this activity, as people continue to help each other salvage as much of their previous lives as possible, there’s an overriding spirit of Hope. She’s the sister of Wisdom—also known as Prudence—and the star of the mass readings for this Sunday. The first reading is from her Book (Wis 7:7-11), written many centuries ago, but it could also be the prayer of any of those hurricane survivors—or even my friend and his wife:
“I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. … Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, and I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep. Yet all good things together came to me in her company.”
The second reading, from the Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb 4:12-13), adds the comfort of knowing that the One driving us to our destination hears the cries coming from the back seat—“Are we there yet?”—and his words cut through the fog of our uncertainty:
… sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.
So … Our Master knows the discomfort of the back seat comes from its lack of forward visibility. Even so, when we reach our destination, will he let us in the house?
“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God,” Jesus answers through Mark’s gospel, from which we’ll read this Sunday (Mk 10:17-30) .
Why bother staying on this ride if there’s nothing we can do to secure our admission when we get … THERE?
“For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”
As long as our Master’s driving and Wisdom’s along for the ride, let’s try dropping worry off at the next stop. He’s dead weight and only makes the journey seem longer.