Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Jesus --- I Trust In You

Jesus, I trust in You.
The words of that prayer came into my heart in response to my feelings of woe. 
In recent weeks, this whole Advent season in fact, God has blessed me in many ways and helped me bless others, and I felt during these weeks that I knew what the word “joy” truly meant.  But these last few days I have felt no joy, and my heart has been heavy.  And strangely these woes began over what is really the most unimportant of things:  money.
In June I booked my Thanksgiving flight to Arizona with Delta, and through their website my hotel and car also.  Delta confirmed the bookings and immediately billed me for the hotel.  Then, last month in Arizona, after one night at that hotel I witness drug dealers in the parking lot --- and they witnessed me.  As a result the local police recommended I change hotels.  The LaQuinta Inn in Mesa said they would issue credit for the 6 nights I had paid for but not used --- to Expedia, who they said had paid them for the stay (which was news to me).  The hotel gave me an 800- number to call for my credit from Expedia, and after I returned home I did call.  After about an hour and a few different operators, finally an operator said my credit would be forthcoming after she confirmed one final thing with the hotel manager.  I thanked her.
I heard nothing further from Expedia, and I received no credit.  Four additional hours of calls, numerous operators, and two dropped calls later, it seems no credit will be forthcoming from them --- I am out over $500.  Delta whom I booked with and who billed my credit card said no, it was really a “third party” who charged me --- despite all my confirmations and Visa billings directly from Delta.  LaQuinta said they were paid by Expedia and credited them back, but because Expedia paid the bill I cannot get a copy of the receipt, even for the night I stayed there!  My platinum Visa card, my LaQuinta Elite card, and my 30 years relationship with my credit union meant nothing:  “It’s not our problem.  Sorry.”  So a company I have nothing in writing saying I ever dealt with, is painted as the villain.
Meanwhile, the freezer in my home stopped working yesterday; the repair bill was $300; the same problem had happened only one year ago; and the repairman said “Trust me; this shouldn’t happen again.”  And as I entered church today for the Tuesday noon mass, the building was cold and dark --- power was out over all of Ann Arbor Michigan.  And, considering recent events, the power felt out of my life, too.
My prayers Monday night and Tuesday morning were disjointed ramblings, as my mind repeatedly turned over my woes.  I could not pray.  All the blessings of Advent, all the people I helped, all the joys of my life, I couldn’t focus on them.  The title of this blog is: Do Not Be Anxious, but I couldn’t calm my own anxieties.
Things didn’t get better as the Tuesday mass began; my mind still wandered.  Receiving Communion put my heart in close contact with Jesus, and I cried out to Him, asking for peace.  But it was after the mass that I finally found peace, His answer to my prayers.
The little children quietly began filing up toward the altar, as they do every Tuesday after mass.  One young man, his legs permanently deformed, came up on his two crutches.  Another lad, of perhaps 5 or 6 years old, struggled down the aisle as he carried the baby basket which held his tiny sibling.  There were many other children, quietly lining up for personal blessings and prayers from the priest and deacons.  And the last person down the aisle was a young woman I had not noticed before, who was gently carrying the tiniest of babies in her arms --- someone, it seems, had received a very special Christmas present.
And yes, the sight of this and the congregation singing Silent Night moved me to tears.  But it also opened my heart to realize something:  all my anxieties of late stemmed from not a loss of money, but a loss of control.  My pride was hurt and I felt anxious because things were beyond my control.  People I trusted in had let me down.
But as I looked at the young children I realized that they saw Who really was in control, and they humbly sought His blessings.  Little children had to teach me the proper attitude towards God and his plans:  Trust in Him, no matter what happens.
I said a prayer of thanks for that insight.  I told God my money was really His; and if He showed me some charity or some needy person, I would give it freely.  Or He could take it, for His own reasons. All I have is his.
Jesus, I trust in You.


  1. Tom - isn't the spiritual life "funny"? Not, "ha, ha" funny, but ironic. God has us so joyful one day we feel like we're never going to worry or get upset ever again. And then, BOOM! And there we are, once again on our rear ends, wondering how to get out of THIS mess!

    I want to recommend something to you, something I have found very efficatius when I'm dealing with stress, anxiety and just plain old trouble. It's called the Novena of Surrender. It's helpful whether you do it as a novena over nine days, or all at once, or even as a meditation. Since I've been doing it I've found this is what God is working on in me next. Somehow, this is the next stage for me. I wonder if it will help you too? Try it out and see if it gets you anywhere.

    I have found, having recourse to it when facing what seem to be the most overwhelming and intractable of problems has brought not only peace, but solutions! And mini-miracles (if that's not an oxymoron!). Here's a link. Hope it helps.

    I also have been recomending it to everybody and anybody, especially people with problems that are long term, difficult and hard to live (I would expect, like caretakers or worried parents.) So, maybe you can pass it on if you find it to be worthwhile.

    God bless, and Merry 6th Day of Christmas!

    1. Thanks for the link, Fran. I shall print that novena out and pray it this new year. It kind of reminds me of the Litany For Humility which I pray each night.

  2. Oops! efficacious! Geez!

  3. It can be frustrating when dealing with companies. And money issues are vexing - in part because we are supposed to try to be detached (doubly so as a Franciscan in my case). I will keep yu in my prayers.

    1. This week of Christmas I have been praying the Joyful Mysteries each night. Today as I again read the First Joyful Mystery I read the words of the angel to Mary: "Do not be afraid." They are words from God which need always be in my heart.

      As I was praying tonight --- and reading --- I thought of you, my friend. I am reading a book which seems fitting for you, a poet. "How Dante Can Save your Life" is a book which, based on its title, I never would have bought, but I felt the nudge. And I'm glad I did. You can wait until I write my review here in a week or so, but I tell you with complete confidence that you will like this book. I am positive this will be the first addition to my 2017 list of books to give to friends next Christmas.

  4. How Dante Can Save Your Life? Hmm - who wrote it. One of the books on my slowly-being-read stack is The Divine Comedy (I'm about half way through Purgatorio).

    1. I read the Divine Comedy many a year ago, and I'm sure it had no impact on me, and might have even bored me. The author, Rod Dreher, is the New York Times bestselling author and columnist. He is nudged by God to pick up a copy of Dante's book and then, his wife might say, he became obsessed with it, researching in detail Dante's life and many many commentaries on the book. He felt a great need to understand it, because HIS life was becoming a living hell ---- and he didn't know what to do about it. But he reads how Dante's life paralleled his, and how Dante found peace.

      I don't think just reading the Divine Comedy will get you nearly as much insight, even with prayer, as with the research Dreher brings to his book. He makes you walk in Dante's shoes, seeing hell --- and life ---- as Dante did. It is a beautiful walk. This will not be a "slowly-read" book, except in the sense that you will pause to reflect often, and pray often, on what the author and Dante are saying.

      Since I KNOW this will be on my Christmas list this year, I do not might starting early. E-mail me your address my friend, and I'll have Amazon ship you a copy.

  5. I am glad you were able, ultimately, to find peace. Your comments on others' blogs, I have noticed, have been full of insight, leading them to peace. Glad that God led you to your own. Happy New Year!

  6. Thank you, Elizabeth, and happy your blog is back too!

  7. Thank you for all your posts and posting on my blog. You truly have given me good insight.
    If you've read my blog lately over at MTCatholic, I must admit that another draw to Michigan for myself was the chance of meeting you and possibly becoming friends. Such is life though.
    If you have any advice for a 28 year old that is empty, please do share.
    Blessings and peace.