I have to admit, last week was quite a week. Not the worst week ever, but clusters of annoying things have happened that left me laughing at the absurdity of it all by the end of the week. For instance, I visited the dentist on Monday for a routine cleaning. She warned me that I needed a crown on one tooth because it had fracture lines and could break. I made an appointment to come back and have it fixed the following week. Wednesday night, as I was munching on dinner, wouldn’t you know it, my tooth broke…but not the one the doctor warned me could break. So it meant another trip to the dentist for temporary work to tide me over until I could have two crowns put on next week.
I also brought my car in for routine 60,000 mile maintenance only to discover this week a grumbling and shaking when I used the air conditioner. The shop must’ve done something accidentally in their work, so back to the repair place I went for repairs to fix the first repairs.
Friday morning was perhaps the funniest of irritations as I tried to twist off the cap to my egg whites carton only to have the entire cap come off in my hand, leaving a gaping hole in the top. [Is that a sign that I’m too stressed out?] It was too ridiculous to make me mad. I just didn’t even have the energy to be upset, so I popped a piece of packing tape over the opening and enjoyed my breakfast.
As they say, when it rains, it pours.
Thursday afternoon, after I discovered my car would need to go back to the shop, I was a mess. I was upset, but couldn’t find the words to describe it. I read the Bible, looking for answers, and couldn’t find anything. I prayed, but it ended up being a jumble of thoughts winding their way back to the things that worried me. I think I wanted God to give me some definitive answer as to why all this stuff was happening to me. The question my mind wandered to was, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” I think I just wanted to check the “lesson learned” box so that life would go back to normal.
The sinking sensation I got in my searching prayers was that there wasn’t a lesson to learn. God wasn’t punishing me either. Bad stuff just happens sometimes. My experiences were relatively mild. I thank God for great dental insurance and a mechanic who repaired their mistake quickly [for free]. Sometimes the bad stuff is devastating: unexpected deaths, terminal diagnoses, losing everything in a natural disaster. We still don’t always get a lesson.
In a last-ditch effort to make something good out of all the bad, I picked up a book I’ve been slowly digesting called Contemplative Vision. This book uses different art masterpieces based on scripture to guide meditation. It just so happens that the chapter I was reading was about Jesus’ visit to Martha’s home. Jesus famously tells a harried Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42
As I considered the story, I realized that even when answers and lessons don’t come, Jesus invites me to be with him in the midst of my worries. It’s hard to forget the financial worries of my week, but Jesus is saying they’re not the most important thing. The most important thing is to recognize that the God of the universe is inviting me to be with him right now. He’s listening to my goofy troubles and laughing with me. He’s with me in my heartbreaking losses, too, comforting and giving me hope. I could hear his whisper, “Don’t miss this opportunity to be with me. Don’t miss me for all the extra stuff you think needs to be done right now. Don’t miss me today.” I could’ve. I would’ve missed him, looking for a lesson to learn. I should have just been looking for Him.
I suppose there was a lesson after all.