Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:30, KJV
I quoted the King James Version of this famous saying of Jesus because it is the one I grew up with. My mother often referred to it and that is how I best remember it.
Our civilization depends on complex planning and management. This may give us the illusion that we can control the future. After all, someone planned the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, the Boeing 747, and the iPhone. These things were built, and they worked.
We have specific dates and times for the school year, we visit medical and dental professionals at appointed hours, and we set up automatic payments for our bills. We keep calendars on our desks or in our phones. We use our time wisely.
As helpful as our plans are, they are not the same as control over our lives. The pandemic has been a powerful and unpleasant reminder of that. Yet we don’t need to be focused on the negative side of this.
A friend of my mother’s made me laugh with this story. She and her husband recently visited friends in Mazatlán, Mexico. One of the things they did together was to visit a large outdoor aviary containing tropical birds. The birds are fairly tame, and will fly close to the people in the aviary.
As this woman’s husband walked through the aviary, a bird flew next to him and somehow grasped the tiny thread coming from his hearing aid. In a flash, the hearing aid was gone.
I like to imagine the bird as a hummingbird, hovering next to the man’s ear as it prepares to capture this wonderful prize. Maybe a hearing aid would be too heavy for a hummingbird. At any rate, the bird, whatever species it was, got something it thought would be useful.
When my mother’s friends returned to the U.S., they visited the big box retailer that had sold them the hearing aids. Sad but true, the warranty on the devices had just expired. The man who was now deaf in one ear would have to buy a new set of hearing aids.
Who would ever expect to have a hearing aid stolen by a bird? We can predict that a small, delicate device like a hearing aid might be damaged or lost, but we can’t predict exactly how.
If we worry too much about what might happen, and I say this as a dedicated worrier, we may lose the mental energy and spiritual strength to handle the things that actually do happen.
Some of the unexpected things that happen are quirky and funny, like the theft of the hearing aid by the bird in the aviary. We need to appreciate these opportunities to laugh. If we’re looking anxiously to the future, we’ll miss out.
Maybe we need to start our 2022 planners out with a few appointments we make with ourselves, times when we promise ourselves we will stop to focus on today, and laugh or cry as called for.
Best wishes to all in planning for the New Year. Lighten up whenever you can.