Monday, December 31, 2012

Trusting Enough to Let Go

"My wife was in the best mood possible."

These words concluded a story that seemed stressful at best. My friend told me how he recently sent his wife and two young kids off early for the holidays while he remained in Washington to finish another week of work. When my friend dropped his family off at the airport, he left his wife, a two-year-old toddler and a baby who is a few months old standing in line at the ticket counter. Along with these three people of different sizes, there was one stroller, two car seats, one carry-on bag and two suitcases.

It was more than any one person could handle.

When his wife stepped out of the car, she said how she was filled with confidence that someone would help them. She trusted there to be people at each twist and turn who would be willing to carry a child, play with a toddler, hold a bag or pick up a car seat. She stepped into the airport trusting the goodness of humanity. And at the end of the day, his wife described it as one of their best travel days. "My wife was in the best mood possible."

People showed up.

Help was offered.

Bags were carried.

A load was lightened.

I'd like to think of the church as such a place. In my best images of the church, there are people at every twist and turn who are ready to assist - to care for a child, to prepare a meal, to provide a ride, to pay for an unexpected doctor's bill, to help someone move, to be present when everything seems empty, to show up often. And while there are several pockets of incredible care in every congregation, I know we often fall short.

But I also cannot help but to wonder how much I try to carry it all on my own when others are trying to assist.

How much do we try to do by ourselves when a community surrounds us?

And how often do I start a day convinced that there is too much to do that I cannot possibly take time to pray for guidance or ask God for help? How regularly do I turn to God in times of great need before first scheming on my own?

What if we went into each challenging situation trusting there to be someone to help? What if we carried too much because we knew we would not carry it long before someone came to our aid? What if we believed in one who invited us to cast our burdens upon him because he cares for us enough to really leave our worries, our anxieties and our fears with God?

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