‘People watching’ at airports is a fascinating adventure. Having spent 6 hours yesterday in airports, I had a lot of time to do that. Among many ways to categories people, there was clearly two ‘types’ of travelers. (both at airports and in life…) On the one side you have the seemingly “carefree travelers”, like college students on their way to spring break or folks going on vacation. (That was me…) These are the travelers that seem to not have a care in the world. They are enjoying the experience, open to meeting new people, and ready for whatever the trip will bring. Usually these are the OUTBOUND passengers. On the other side, you have the harried business traveler/parent herding 4 kids/and the regular nervous Nelly’s. Between looking at their watch, texting, herding the kids, checking the departure gates, getting last messages off on the cell phone, thinking and talking about everything waiting for them upon arrival home, – it is obvious that they travel with a lot of worries and concerns. I suspect all of us vacillate between those two extremes in our everyday life.
One of my classmates became this on the way home. The lines at the departing airport were long. The lines at passport security were even longer. And then at customs even longer still – it was a madhouse. He went from vacation relaxed to anxious and uptight. And no amount of words to relax could take him out of that space. I think he is not alone in that. Sometimes we are fine. Life is okay, despite difficult times and we can keep our balance. Then something happens – and poof – all that calm is gone. We are troubled. We do worry:
- Do I have enough money to pay our bills? Or to fund college for our daughter? Is my job is going to last in this economy?
- We wonder whether we will get good enough grades to get into the college of our choice, or whether our children will?
- Our car makes a noise that we haven’t heard before; or our body gets a lump that we haven’t felt before and we worry.
- When the conversation didn’t go so well and we think the other person is mad at us… we find ourselves worried. Will they forgive us? Will the relationship survive this bump in the road? **
“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear.”
“Really? That’s easy for you to say. You’re the son of God. But for us, it is not so easy.” Yet, there it is: Do not worry about your life… But as usual, you know that there is a truth here, a deeper truth about life that Jesus is trying to convey to us. Jesus knows his future, knows that the cross looms for him. And yet, he tells us not to worry because
- He trusted for himself – and for us – that God would be with him – and us – even through the valley of the shadow of death
- And he knew that to worry robs us of life.
The great preacher, Charles Spurgeon, put it this way. He said:
“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its trials —
it simply empties today of its joy.”
Let me repeat that. ” ” ” ” ” ”
Worry has a corrosive power that eats away at our bodies, our relationships, our peace of heart and mind.
Into that experience, Jesus says: “Instead of worrying, just seek the kingdom. Just love.” In any moment, worry will not help me in any way. It will only rob me of the life and joy that is only found in the present moment. All I have to do is LOVE NOW. I only have to love now.
That is all that I really can do. That is all I need to do. It is the one thing that will yield a holy happy, joy-filled life.
- Jesus is not saying don’t plan for the future… He knows we have to think ahead and use our brains.
- Jesus is not saying, don’t learn from the past or act like it didn’t happen…
- He is just saying don’t live there. Live now. Love now.
When the anxiety comes, acknowledge it. But don’t stay there. Remember, all you have to do is love now. That is enough. That is ALL we need.
You see, we’re all in an airport – only the destination is not Paris, or California or even Turks and Caicos. Rather, we are bound for the heavenly kingdom. That is what we seek. And if we seek that, day by day, moment by moment, loving with all our strength day by day and moment by moment, then nothing else really matters, does it…
** at UMSL, the following were the ‘worry items’
- Do I have enough money to pay for college next semester? Can I get enough hours to keep the apartment rent up and still get out and socialize a bit?
- Will I get good enough grades to get into the vet/med school of my choice, or missing that, at least some school somewhere?
- My car mades a noise that I haven’t heard before – will it last through another semester, till I can find another one that I can afford?
- When the conversation didn’t go so well and we think the other person is mad at us… we find ourselves worried. Will they forgive us? Will the relationship survive this bump in the road?