It is not often that I feel “down.” I am blessed with a positive disposition which usually serves me quite well. Nonetheless, I woke this morning with the weight of the world upon my shoulders. This made no sense to me as I had slept well. Usually, the first thing I do when in the morning is to turn my thoughts upward and pray, “Thank you for the sleep!” On this particular morning, I forgot my prayer because a laundry list of worries distracted me.
I fretted about those suffering in the aftermath of recent tornadoes and flooding. I fretted over the Nigerian girls kidnapped in April who still have not been found. Have we forgotten them? I fretted about military personnel who walk in harm’s way. What will the troubles in Iraq mean for them? Closer to home, I fretted about the price of gasoline and those forced to leave bills unpaid in order to afford transportation to work. I fretted because our St. Vincent DePaul members work very hard to serve the needy, but their resources have dwindled as of late due to the great numbers who need assistance. Will they have to say “no” to some of those who turn to them for help? I fretted over a dear woman’s unexpected widowhood and a friend’s decline in health. I fretted about one man’s job woes and another who needs to make changes in his lifestyle. As tears threatened, I realized that the weight of these worries would keep me in bed for the day if I allowed them to do so. As I wondered aloud why life on this earth seemed so impossible to manage this morning, I threw the covers aside and began my morning routine.
My dear husband usually rises a bit before I do, so I am left to make our bed. This is a good thing as the finished product gives an aura of order to the start of my day. Next, I grab my daily devotional for a few minutes of inspiration which always manage to lift my spirits. While the day’s story might not be my cup of tea, every entry gives me something important to consider. Since I didn’t feel like embracing anything this morning, this dose of inspiration was a must. Indeed, rather than reading at my dresser where I keep the book, I took it and sat in the chair near our bedroom window.
Heavy rain had given way to a drizzle, and I prayed that my heavy heart would lighten as well. After reading this morning’s reflection, I turned to the back of the book to peruse the bios and photos of the contributing authors –people like you and me. Finally, I thumbed through the dozen or so pages I had earmarked since last January. In the end, I found that these entries had touched me because they described ordinary events which had become extraordinary moments of grace. Each transformation occurred when a troubled soul turned to God for help and then dug in to do something to alleviate the problems at hand. With that, I set my book aside and prayed for guidance. In the end, my list of worries became an invitation to do something to make things right.
While considering Saint Peter and Saint Paul whose feast we celebrate today, I remembered that worry burdened these two as well. Poor Simon had given up everything to follow Jesus, yet he often failed to get Jesus’ meaning. Jesus chided him as a result every time. Still, it was Simon who found the courage to say aloud that Jesus was the messiah. Simon’s willingness to step forward was not lost on his Lord. In the end, Jesus called Simon “Peter,” the rock upon whom the community of believers would be built. With all of his imperfections intact, Jesus left his people in Simon Peter’s care.
Saul, on the other had, stepped forward quite willingly to support the leaders of the temple. Saul upheld The Law and persecuted Jesus’ followers with a vengeance. He ignored all that the disciples tried to share in Jesus’ name until the Risen Jesus himself knocked him to his senses in a flash of light. Jesus renamed this adversary “Paul” and invited him to embrace the truth. Paul responded and became the champion of outcasts who opened God’s family to everyone. In the end, Peter and Paul rose under the weight of their imperfections and worry. They responded to God’s invitation to make a difference by doing something. We celebrate them because of what they did.
I am happy to report that I have risen above my worry today. Just as God did something to inspire Peter and Paul, God used the words of my fellow writers to inspire me. Though nothing I do will erase all of the world’s troubles, the little “somethings” I do will make a difference.
©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved