What Is and What Is to Come

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Calm me, O Lord, as You calm the storm.
Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease.
Enfold me, Lord, in Your peace.
Celtic Prayer

I don't know if you ever feel this way, but sometimes I'm sure I have it all figured out.

It's just a matter of yielding, I think. Of accepting what is and the uncertainty of what is to come. And then, just as I'm getting used to feeling peaceful in the midst of suffering, it hits me; that one last straw that drives me to my knees in tears.

Today my composure came apart because the little wooded lot next to my house is being cleared. A small, but lively ecosystem of birds, squirrels, rabbits, feral cats, grape vines, poison ivy, locust and maple trees, is being destroyed to build a big house that no one wants. The builder will lose his variance if he doesn't start right away, but the market is bad, and he has very little hope of selling it.

And for this, we are awakened early with the sound of buzz saws and backhoes instead of birdsong. And our little house trembles as our beloved trees fall, one after the other.

I tried not to let it bother me. I turned my heart to more important things; to hungry children in foreign lands, to those suffering from mental and physical illnesses. I prayed for our future neighbors and cheerfully noted that, only last spring, I battled my last crop of poison ivy growing through our fence from the wild tangle of the untended lot. Gazing up at the towering locusts, I tried to be glad that the staggering giants would no longer pose a threat in hurricane winds.

But the grief stole upon me and I couldn't write. I had ideas and couldn't express them. I searched my notes, rifled books, prowled the Internet. But it was useless. A well of feelings rising like magma set me pacing and praying.

When the pain hit, I poured it out to my husband in tears. He listened, and we stood together at the window marveling sorrowfully at the small team of sun-grizzled men, wrestling our wild beauties to the ground.

Peace came gradually back to us like the tide slipping quietly in. We took our dog for a long walk in the cold fall twilight, and talked about more important things. When we returned, darkness was descending and the workers were quietly clearing themselves out of the barren space, now cluttered with the splintered wreckage of their efficiency.

We were philosophical, calm, and ready to return to work. So I sat down to write. About the acceptance of what is, and the uncertainty of what is to come.

My columns this month are offered for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

God bless you, and happy feast of St. Benignus.