trust and confidence

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord,
and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

St. Augustine


(The Mayor with training wheels / Julie Cook / 2021)

Do you remember when you first learned how to ride a bike?
I started my journey on wheels with a tricycle.
Eventually graduating to a small bike with training wheels—

And in due time, off went those training wheels…
and thus, for better or for worse, I was suddenly on my own.

No broken bones but a lot of skinned knees, elbows and stubbed toes.
And this was a time long before we knew helmets were important.

At my current age, I hate to admit that I don’t exactly remember a
whole lot of this particular rite of passage—
however I can remember my mom and dad, taking turns racing behind me,
holding onto the bike if I started to veer too far to one side or the other
or God forbid…started rolling way too fast for my level of
expertise.

And thus today, the gauntlet has been passed…it is now the Mayor’s turn.

Of course there is a great deal of hesitancy and trepidation.
“MOM, MOM, I NEED YOU!!!!” (yes she calls me mom, her mother is mommy…
daddy is dada, my husband is da)…

And in like fashion, how many times have I cried out to God… “Father, I need you!”

“I’ve got you Boo” I reassure her as I hold onto the back of her seat as she
laboriously attempts peddling up the street…Peppa Pig rain
boots probably do not aid in one’s peddling.

I let go once she hit level ground.

“Look at you Boo—you are riding your bike!!!!”

And right then, in that moment, there comes the obvious and visible
sense of self satisfaction.

So as I stand there, looking at my granddaughter riding a bike on the very
same street where I learned to ride my own bike,
my thoughts are transported to thinking about my own learning to ride
as well as to something else…that of learning my way on the journey
as a child of God.

A juxtaposition of life’s journeys.

How many times have I set out, unsure of myself, sitting in a driving seat
position, while God had His hand on my back?

“Steady” He say’s…”Ive got you Julie”

I wobble, teetering and leaning, trying desperately to keep myself
upright. I feel His hand resting on my back so I have a sense of
serene security.

Then, ever so slightly, He removes His hand…”you’ve got this”
I hear as I peddle off heading straight ahead…knowing all the while
He’s standing behind me, smiling.

And right when I get going too fast, losing control…He’s the first
one there… either to grab me by the shirt and or pick me up once I fall.
Once again He gently repeats…you’ve got this…because I’ve got you.

And whereas I won’t always be able to be with my granddaughter as she takes
off on her own life’s journeys…I have given her over to God…knowing that when
mom or da, mommy or dada can’t be with her…
Abba will always be by her side—

“How can we not ask at every turn,
‘What is going to happen? How will this turn out?’
The main thing is not to consent consciously to anxiety or a troubled mind.
The moment you realize you are worrying,
make very quickly an act of confidence:
‘No, Jesus, You are there: nothing–nothing–
happens, not a hair falls from our heads, without Your permission.
I have no right to worry.”
Perhaps He is sleeping in the boat, but He is there.
He is always there. He is all-powerful;
nothing escapes His vigilance.
He watches over each one of us ‘as over the apple of His eye.’
He is all love, all tenderness.”

Jean C.J. d’Elbée,
I Believe in Love:
A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux

The only option for the journey… hope.

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”

― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

DSC00911
(arbor walkway Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria / Julie Cook / 2012

It’s the alarm again. . .5:00, 4:30, 4:00, 5:30 –all of the A.M. variety.
It’s Monday or is it Tuesday? I know it’s not Friday, I’d know if it was Friday.
It’s cold.
It’s dark.
Is it raining, do I hear rain? Grrreeat. . .
Pull the covers up.
The bathroom. I need to go to the bathroom.
D@%n-it!!
Ok, ok, I’m up–don’t you see, I’m up already.
Ugh, my feet. Oh they hurt.
I can’t do this.
I can’t do this another morning.
I’m not doing this another morning!!

And so it goes.
Morning after morning. Day after day.
This is Life and Life is, for better or worse, a journey.
A long tiring journey.
–Or—
For some, perhaps the journey is far too short.
Time is limited. Deadlines loom, prognosis loom, the ending looms. . .
Depends on who you ask.

And yet we can’t seem to wait for the weekend, or for tomorrow, or for next week, or for the end of the week. . .
–Or–
For some, they don’t want it to be the end of the week, the end of the day, the end of a weekend, or simply not even tomorrow.
Depends on who you ask.

Life is a journey.
It starts the day we are born. . .no, better yet, actually it starts when we are conceived.
It doesn’t end until the day we die. . .no, better yet, that isn’t the end–but then again, I can’t speak to that part as I’ve not gotten that far. . .
But what I do know is that life is indeed a journey.
And there are day’s I’ve been on better journeys.

Yet delightfully each morning, each blessed beautiful brand new morning, hurting bones or not, there is something new, something unknown.
No one can tell me what this day will hold as no one has lived it yet. Oh we can guess given what transpired yesterday, the day before, but still, no one is certain, no one can say for sure what this day holds, what it entails.
There is a bit of mystery here as this is the unknown.
Uncharted waters.
New.

And so it is on this brand new morning to a brand new day to this brand new week, still in the beginnings of a brand new year, I wish for you a journey.
A journey new and full of discovery.
A journey of hope—as that is what each new morning offers to you, as it offers to me, a gift of hope.

Despite any dreary prediction for a new day— be it poor weather, dreaded meetings, unavoidable tests, undesirable appointments. . . no one, not any living soul, knows what is in store for any of us—as no one can see to the other side of the day. Thankfully no one can see.
We may not have much offered to us in this world but one thing is certain. . .just as it is one of the unalienable truths about life, we all have hope–each living breathing person is offered hope.
As hope does not discriminate. It knows not color, race, religion, sex, status, finances, education, geography. . .hope is offered to us all.
Thankfully there is always hope. . . the mere act of a sunrise is testament alone to that single undeniable truth.

So as you start the new journey of this new day, this new week, this new year—go forward, go forward with hope. It’s the only true guarantee any of us is given each new morning.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:5