Sunday, May 25, 2008

I made a comment to a friend shortly after my husband died that I hoped I didn't make too many mistakes; after all, I was rather new to this widowhood business and there really wasn't a guidebook to tell me where the pitfalls and shortcuts were. Now, nearly 4 months on, I still don't have the widowhood thing down pat and still don't have a clear map or even idea where I'm going and what I'm going to do when I get there. Right now it's a day-to-day thing, sometimes hour-to- hour. I hear that that's okay -- but you can't prove it by me.

The gospel lesson in church today was about not worrying. HAH! The priest admitted that she often woke in the middle of the night and worried about all sorts of things including some things that did later happen, some that didn't happen at all and some that happened but not as severely as she'd thought they might. I know about those 2 am devils, the words and pictures in a brain that won't shut down again and let me go back to sleep but rather keeps chasing ideas, thoughts and worries like a cat chasing butterflies. I wish they were as pretty as the butterflies; I might enjoy chasing them a bit more.

One statement that made sense was that worries always refer to future events, never past or present ones. Come to think of it, that's at least 95% right; most are about what's going to happen -- will I lose my job? Can I afford to move to the place I would like to live in? What happens if i get sick? Is the repair the truck needs going to cost more than I can pay and what happens if I don't get it fixed? Yes, they are all about material things and the gospel specifically stated that we weren't supposed to worry about material things. It's a very nice picture -- lilies of the fields, birds flitting and chirping, none wondering where their next meal is coming from or whether they'll be able to grow up pretty and whatever. Humans, however, aren't birds or flowers. While I don't necessarily worry about what I will wear, I do sometimes worry about what I (and the cats) will eat and where we will live.

Maybe it's me, but I don't think God expects me to just trust that everything will work out simply because I say that I trust God will make it work or because I ask God to do this or that about the situation in which I find myself. Somehow I think God expects me to do some if not all the work myself and not just sit around looking pious and waiting for God to produce whatever it is I need. Oh, that's not to say I don't give God credit when unexpected good things happen. I do -- and I also remember (most of the time) to say "Thank you" when it does, whether it's getting a job that gives me more hours or finding my misplaced car and office keys. I trust God but I also feel I need to take responsibility for accomplishing what needs to be accomplished. I'm not in a place where I can sit back and "toil not" nor "spin".

There are times I can avoid worrying simply by refusing to engage in it. At other times I can be busy with something when worry pops up unannounced and unwanted and can only be banished by severe mental discipline (often including an arrow prayer or two). I always have been able to worry about a sunny day. Now I don't worry about that -- unless the windshield wipers need replacing at the same time the water bill is due. I try to float along, doing the best I can to get things done without letting my head get below the surface of the worry-water that could drown me if I let it. I trust God will be with me, even if I don't see any divine intervention to make my "crooked straight and the rough places plain," to quote my pal Isaiah.

I guess that's a step in the right direction.
It seems to be the right time to finally begin blogging on this new venture. After all, I've had it for several months, just haven't had the time or ambition (or courage) to stick my toe in the water, so to speak.

"Jericho's Daughter" refers to Rahab, sometimes referred to as an innkeeper and sometimes as a harlot, who lived in the Canaanite town of Jericho. It was she who hid Joshua's spies and helped to smuggle them out of the city, thus indirectly helping to bring about the destruction of the walls of her city. Funny how people remember her as a harlot, seldom as a figure of courage and even less frequently as one of the ancestors mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus.

I'm no Rahab. I don't own an inn, am not a harlot, don't have a family for which I am responsible, and don't have the courage to let down walls I've erected for my own safety. Still, I could do worse than meditate on Rahab and what motivated her to do as she did. it could be a very salubrious exercise.