I woke up this morning feeling troubled in my soul. Truly troubled. The world feels so hateful right now. Riots in India over water. Nigerian villages burned to the ground. Tentative cease-fire in Syria. Nuclear bomb testing in North Korea. The polarizing candidates in our presidential race. The hateful things Americans are saying to each other and about each other. I just felt icky. Powerless. I felt like nothing I can do or say could possibly make a difference in the world. Nothing.
Doom and gloom. Good f’ing morning, World. ugh.
I got my curvy ass out of bed, made some coffee and went about my upper-middle-class-white-woman-from-the-suburbs morning routine. Fed my dogs, wrote in my journal, lamented over my weight, questioned whether or not I’d be single for the rest of my life, examined my face in the mirror for new wrinkles, cleaned up dog pee in the hallway (after six years I seriously think he does that just to show me he won’t be tamed) and got ready to go to work.
As I was walking out the door to get in my car (at 8:30 – I was already late for work) I heard my dad’s voice in my heart saying “Honey, just do the next right thing”. I don’t know – it was just something he used to say to me. He used to remind me I don’t have to do everything, I just have to do the next right thing. Just one thing at a time, one day at a time, and then my mom’s voice chimed in to my heart saying “sometimes its just one breath at a time”. Okay – thanks Daddy, I hear you. I made a mental note to call my mom later today.
I pray in my car every morning. I know that to really have a practice of anything I have to build the habit. So I started talking to God every morning when I get in the car. Just an easy conversation. Maybe telling Him what I’m grateful for, or what I feel like I need help with, or just acknowledging that I don’t really know what to say so I’m just saying “Good Morning”. Lots of times my prayer is “please let me hear you today”. This morning’s conversation was just “Good Morning, Lord”. I think I was too overwhelmed with the icky feelings I woke up with to really formulate any thoughts.
My commute to work is a whopping 5 minutes (unless I catch the light at the corner of Main and Wisconsin). As I rolled down Wisconsin Street completely caught up in my doom and gloom I spotted a guy with a shopping cart full of bags of bottles and cans (have I mentioned how much I love living in the city?). Sort of absentmindedly I pulled over so I could grab the bag of bottles and cans I had tossed into my trunk over the weekend. It was like I wasn’t really even thinking about it – it wasn’t really a decision so much as an autopilot reaction. I remember thinking that I hadn’t ever seen this guy before – its usually an older woman on this street picking up cans. I left my car running, grabbed the bag and walked across the street saying “good morning, can you take these for me?” He lifted his head full of long blonde hair and revealed the most beautiful smile. He looked me in the eye and said in a loud and clear voice “hey, thanks, have a good day”. I flashed him the peace fingers, smiled, and headed back to my car.
As I was clicking my seat belt I felt it. It was kind of like a jolt and a strange buzzing in my scalp. It was total awareness. The shopping cart guy’s face flashed in my head. A new voice flashed in my heart…
“just one thing”
In a morning where my prayer was sort of a throw away “Good Morning, Lord”, I heard Him. I can’t do everything. But I can do something. I’m not powerless. I can do just one thing, and that one thing is enough.
Hope is alive in my heart.