October 3, 2008

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Never doubt that God is only a breath away

Patti LambNow that the baby has started to crawl, everything on or near the floor is fair game. So a couple of days ago, I was on a mission to baby-proof the house.

The trick was to keep my son occupied. I got out the crayons and some paper, hoping they would keep Henry busy while Margaret napped, and I covered outlets and removed the plastic ends on the doorstops.

I began to scour the room for small toys. In addition to some random Legos, I found 31 cents, which I quickly earmarked for the college fund.

Strangely, the house was silent. The baby was asleep and my son was creating artwork for the refrigerator. I suppose it was too quiet. Only a minute or two passed before my son yelled, “Mommy, are you there?”

“Yes, I’m right here,” I assured him as I peeked out from behind the houseplant I was trying to move.

Briefly, it was quiet. But then, suddenly, “Mommy, where are you? Can you hear me?”

Again, I assured Henry of my presence and that I was only a holler away if he needed me.

But 10 minutes and three (loud) interruptions later, I grew frustrated.

“Mommy?” he called out again.

“C’mon, I’m right here,” I shouted. I wondered to myself, “What is it with you, son, needing all this reassurance?” Doesn’t he know that I wouldn’t leave him alone?

My cleaning spree was short-lived. The day moved on with its duties, and soon it was bedtime. But I couldn’t sleep and decided to tidy up while the family slept. At last, no interruptions, I thought to myself.

As I was cleaning, my mind worked overtime and one thought led to another. Anxiety can be born of a weary mind and body. I began to fester with worries. What would be the outcome of my friend’s tests? Would the physical therapy begin to work for my daughter? Apprehension mounted.

A glance at the microwave clock revealed it was 2:03 a.m. As I padded some corners, I found myself beginning to lose faith. Will my husband’s department meet its quota at work? What if this? What if that? Uneasy, I whispered out loud, just to be sure he could hear me. “God, are you there? Are these concerns reaching you?”

Suddenly a voice echoed in my head, repeating the same thing I had spoken to my son earlier that day, “C’mon. I’m right here. Don’t you know I’m only a breath away?”

Like my son, I often become doubtful, and need a reminder that someone is only a breath away. For all of us, that someone is God.

Too often, I forget how close he is because I think I’ve got everything under control. After all, I’m the mom and I’m supposed to be in charge. I’m under the illusion that I call the shots. What a joke that is. God probably looks down at me and gets a good chuckle now and then.

As much as I’d like to think so, I need to realize that I’m not in control. I can spend time fretting and baby-proofing in the wee hours, when actually I should just go to bed and remember a verse from Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your way acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths” (Prv 3:5-6).

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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