RICHLAND, Wash. -- As a youngster, I had a recurring nightmare. I would envision my older brothers fighting angrily in front of me.
Once, I even scurried from my bedroom and came upon my older sisters, whose giggles and mock concern evaporated my fear.
My mind had tricked me again. But in the years following, I would eventually sleep soundly -- until my son started stockpiling fireworks in his closet.
At times, anxiety hits so hard that I suffer a knot in my gut for days. A recent experience caused such a state of worry that I hardly could concentrate on work. Prayer became as necessary as food, the latter I barely could stomach, regardless. As I staggered through the week heading toward the unavoidable climax, numbing fear crept into every muscle. By week's end, my confidence had vaporized.
I struggled in this state to grasp the faintest thread of hope; prayer itself defying my reach. I had fallen to the bottom of a dark, lonely pit.
This is a bad thing, I remember thinking, a bad thing. But the moment called.
Robotically, I stepped into a future of complete opacity. I don't know how I moved forward, perhaps habit or peer pressure. Still adrift in despair, a deep feeling of foreboding weighed heavily. "For I am wretched and poor, and my heart is pierced within me." (Psalm 109:22)
I don't know what prompted me, but as I approached the demon that had haunted me all week, I considered a final option -- abandonment. Abandonment to Jesus, to his courage by my cowardice, to his will by my emptiness. I realized that I had never done this before, not even close. So I sat back and immersed my nothingness into his infinity mercy. I literally had no other place to go.
The subsequent miracle would last many hours and would not subside until I had smoothly and peacefully arrived at the end of my seemingly impossible obstacle. I felt as if God had carried me in his hand the whole way, even routing me around other unexpected hazards. Isaiah 12:2 struck a chord: "My strength and my courage is the Lord and he has been my savior."
I had help. Lots of it. Earlier, I had asked my friends for prayers. They had not only anchored my lifeline, but their witness also inspired diligence in my own prayers. I will not likely forget.
What do we know about our future, the next day, or even the next moment? Nothing.
Yet we have our fantasies, our false confidences, our subjective realities that we conjure while ignoring the objective reality of God's truth. We fail to see that we have a finite mind chained to a finite time and a finite place.
Worse, we concoct stories that tell us that we'll never change, we're inadequate, it's hopeless, impossible, impossible.
Lord, let me step into each moment -- the unknown, in time and place -- and give myself totally to your will.
* Dan Sisk is a member of Christ the King Catholic Church in Richland.
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