When I was six years old I went into the hospital to have my tonsils taken out. My two older brothers warned me to not eat the ice cream they would give me in the hospital because the doctors and the nurses put medicine in the ice cream. So at meal time for two days I laid in the hospital bed and watched the delicious scoop of ice cream melt. I would not touch it because I thought there was medicine in it.
I also remember going into the operating room. Anesthesiologists didn’t use IV’s 60 years ago, they used ether. As the doctor was putting the ether mask on me, I remember crying out: “WAIT! WAIT!” I wanted to take one last big gulp of air. But I never got to take it.
It’s hard to let go, isn’t it? To turn our lives over to another person….to a doctor….to God. We all want to be in control of our lives.
When I am up North in the winter time with all the ice and snow on the streets and highways, I hold on so tight to the steering wheel that my knuckles are white.
But as we get older – we more and more lose control. We are called upon or forced to let go.
To me it’s like the top of a table. We like to stay in the middle where it’s safe and secure. But as we get older, we get closer and closer to the edge. The tendency is to hold on for dear life.
I enjoy the story about the mountain climber who slipped and was left hanging on to a rope. He cries out to God for help. A deep voice responds: “What do you want?” “Dear God, save me! Save me!” cried the climber.
“I’ll save you,” God says, “but you’ll have to let go of the rope.” “Dear God, please save me,” says the man. “I’ll do anything, anything you ask?” God says again, “But you’ll have to let go of the rope.”
The man shouts out, “Is there anyone else up there that I can talk to?”
Simeon in the Gospel today (Luke 12:22-40), is definitely at the end of his rope. He had waited his whole life to see the Lord. Finally, after a lifetime of waiting, the Child Jesus and his parents arrive at the temple to be presented to God as was the custom. A God Alert
Simeon says, “Now, master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation.” It sounds like Simeon was ready to let go. What he had hoped for his whole life was now his.
Like Simeon, we need faith – something to grow in as we get older, not because we are afraid, but because we are older and wiser. A faith that understands how limited are the things of this world.
We need the faith of a little child whose father throws him up into the air and catches him. The first few times the child is terribly afraid, but after a while, the child screams with delight and enjoys it. This is what we need in our life with God.
When God throws us up into the air or even hangs us from that rope, we need to feel God ever closer and closer to us. A God Touch
We need a faith similar to when you are fishing and you catch a fish. You don’t see or hear the fish, but you know he’s there, because you feel him tugging on the line. We need to feel God tugging on our hearts.
The first chapter of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago’s book, “The Gift of Peace”, is entitled, “Letting Go.” He shares the many difficulties he had in his life with “Letting Go.” But he turned his life around when he gave God quality time – the first hour of his day. He got up and prayed for an hour. Some days he’d oversleep or doze off. But giving God the first hour of every day changed his life.
Certainly you or I are no Cardinal Bernardin. But you and I can give God the first 10 or 15 minutes of our day. Everyone of us needs to grow in our faith and grow closer to God. God is a lot closer to us than we could ever imagine. How do I know this? Every so often I can feel God tugging on my heart!
Give God the first 10 minutes of your day and you will feel God tugging at your heart!