By Tom Pappas
I would describe it is this way. When I feel helpless I get scared, then I get angry. Here are two examples that play out in slo-mo and super high speed.
A few years ago I discovered a tree emerging from my compost pile. On inspection I discovered that it was a mango seed that had sprouted. (There’s no mistaking a mango seed!) I potted it and have kept it indoors in the winter and outdoors in the warm months. (Climate change has shifted Nebraska’s planting zones from 4 to 5 but we’re not tropical yet.)
A companion mango was discovered and these two have traveled with their friend the kumquat for at least five years. Inexplicably, one of the mangos is collapsing. The leaves are drooping. Watering experiments have not made any difference. I am helpless, scared for the future of the 6 foot tree, and on the verge of being mad about all the wasted time and care.
Our twin granddaughters are having a visit and last night during the calm of “bedtime accomplished”, Brett’s voice called out, “Grandma . . . .grandma.” Grandpas world-wide will know how this plays out. Helpless, scared, mad.
I’m not proud of it, but that’s the reality. Until grandma showed up, I was helpless and unacceptable. When my helpless mind goes from blank to scared, courses of action are not going to be found. I can, however, swiftly move to anger at myself for being inept, and at Brett for not being asleep like she’s supposed to be.
Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I am your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. Isaiah 41:10, The Message
In all my years when I have taken a moment to remember God, I don’t recall ever being disappointed in the result. I don’t mean to say the result is always what I expected. Thank you God for the joy of finding that awesome surprise in your miracle – compost. Thank you God for the resource of your calm and peace when it’s up to me (but not me alone).