Everyday I have few scriptural mantras I say each morning as I start my day. They set the tone. Often I believe the words coming out of my mouth and at other times I struggle to believe myself. I say it, but I forget or don’t feel connected to the words, until I suddenly do. They hit me profoundly in my heart and stomach.
I have been in a state of struggle of wanting something…..in fact, of wanting a few things. There are very few sensations I hate more than wanting! My relationship with God, my family and my vocation/hobbies satisfy me. But, My husband and I are foster parents and a sweet, sick little girl was placed in our care a year and a half ago. We were told that this was short-term, but the months and then year and a half have rolled by. In that time, I must passionately admit that we were not only attached to her, but absolutely in love with her. She is also in love with us. We were all connected and tied on a level of the soul. Our exchanges of time, snuggles, care and penetrating connection brought the five members of our family together. However, in the back of my mind I knew that there was another random lady that said she had an interest in the child, but never actually made any effort to connect with the little girl. So this was an irritant that grew into a fixation. I was terrified that my little girl was going to be ripped from our family to go to a family that didn’t even know her name. I was told that the lady would get her say and would be a definite obstacle to us making this baby a permanent member of our family.
I was in a state of want. I was not trusting in God and struggled with terrifying thoughts and scenarios pervading my mind and heart. The fear of the situation felt awful and my lack of connection to God felt awful, as well.
In addition to this situation, I was also engaged in a number of commitments for business and family that ate up all of my free time and energy. I simply was not able to be released. I was captive, exhausted, worried, ill and not at ease. I was in a state of wanting to be free and of desiring my time to spend with the family I fought so hard to build.
All in a matter of days, just recently, God relieved me of ALL of my burdens. My business sold, I turned over the responsibility to the family members that needed me, but now could manage, and it was decided by the courts that the little girl should remain with our family.
I literally have nothing to ask for. In contrast, I can feel how far I have strayed from trusting in God! While I feel relieved, I also feel frustrated with myself for not residing in the peace of God more. Please let me say, though, in my defense, I did pray and meditate and turn things over to our Good Lord, but the terror, exhaustion and doubt would seep back in. It was a constant and relentless effort and sometimes I was not able to keep up.
The focus of this Sunday at mass was, “the Lord, Jesus as our Shepherd”. So of course this revolves around the 23rd psalm. The psalm which I say daily and sing often for events at our Parish.
“The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.” Psalm 23
I love these words! Not just because they are poetic, be because they remind us of the peace and joy that come from God, and the freedom and peace from not wanting anything. Forgive me if I venture a little to the east. A great part of Buddhist and Hindu teachings focus on the freedom that comes from not wanting, and the horrible suffering and sin that emerges from grasping and wanting things in this transient life. That same concept can be captured in the beautiful words of the 23rd psalm. Even though I say this in retrospect, there is such a freedom in not wanting anything and enjoying all that God has given you and rest in the trust that He will continue to support you.
I sit in wonder and awe at the “ta dah” moment that God had with me, and that He often has with me. He does amazing things, miraculously right in my sight, and yet, I forget, again and again.
I am sure God is frustrated with me. He is wonderful right in front of my eyes, over and over again, and yet I am fearful and doubting. We should never be too judgmental of those that doubted Jesus after seeing the miracles He performed. We should never roll our eyes at doubting Thomas as he required physical proof of the resurrection of Jesus. I am not much better, and I am absolutely sure that most others aren’t either. Most everyone I know, with only a few exceptions, is just terrified and paralyzed at the trials and tribulations they have to endure in their lives. But what if we lived liked we actually believed and had faith. What if we all said, “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is NOTHING, I shall want,” and we meant it!
What freedom we would all have if we did not want anything, but moment for moment looked around at the wonders that God has done for us. I simply hope I can redeem myself and do just that. Believe God, believe all that He has said and shown me, and then live in that security and bask in the fullness and freedom of heart that He intended for us all.