Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Morning After

The morning after I saw the exhibit on Galileo, I awoke to find myself so dizzy that I couldn't get out of bed. We were in Philadelphia for a conference at a nice hotel. About once a year, I experience this kind of dizziness, so I knew I wasn't in any medical danger. Even so, having one of these spells in a hotel room miles from home was unsettling.

I managed, after a period of gradual shifting, to get upright and order room service coffee. A newspaper arrived with it. The headlines talked of more trouble: swine flu outbreaks, Chrysler's bankruptcy, a driver deliberately killing people at a parade, more economic woes. It was too much. I closed my eyes, partly to stop reading, partly to help control the dizziness.

For four months now, my husband has been unemployed. The newspaper industry he has worked for is collapsing. Our house is for sale. I don't know what will happen next. I don't know where my home will be. My little world has been turned upside down.

That morning, alone in my hotel room, with my coffee warming my hand and sound of the traffic in the streets outside, I closed my eyes. I felt raw, vulnerable, and overwhelmed.

What will happen to us? How will I cope?

I don't know.

For those few moments, my life felt like a car sliding on an icy highway, unmanageable and out of control. Traveling at a time like this was as foolish as trying to drive through an ice storm.

I had a decision to make. I could think about what might happen, or I could focus on what I know is true. Then, in the light of that truth, I could do the next helpful thing. It wasn't easy, but I chose the second option. I decided that I didn't know, after all, that any of the calamities I imagined were going to happen to us. This cleared the air. I found, by degrees, as I drank my coffee and slowly dressed and walked out the door, that the dizziness receded and I was able to get through the day.

As I went, a passage from the Bible solemnly echoed through my thoughts. Jesus told his disciples, "In this world you will have trouble. But be at peace, I have overcome the world."

Like a song, the words wrapped themselves around the aching place in my mind and carried me forward with their comfort, into the day, into the fearful things, into the unknown.

I had been given a truth that was truer than all of the things I read in the newspaper, truer than all of the things I experience. Like a great star in the night sky, truth shines brightest when the sky is dark and devoid of any light from men.

I am not alone. I never have been. Not for one minute. If I receive him, God receives me and goes with me. He has overcome the world and the things in the world.

With him, I can live in the world and not be overcome by it.

1 comment:

  1. Amen! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. I am so grateful for this truth.


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