What seems to occupy my thinking? What occupies the thinking of the people in my world. On one level, there are the headlines:
- The death of Pope John Paul II
- The Wedding of Prince Charles and his long time mistress
- The trial of Michael Jackson (with all of the lurid, sordid testimony involved)
- The men’s and women’s basketball championships
Those stories appear as "news" and then are discussed over talk radio as well as endless "special reports" on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, etc.
Then I think about some of the conversations that I’ve had in the last few weeks. These conversations were about real people (some local and others live in other places) who will not be seen on the news.
- The family who is trying to comfort their aged mother in her last few days on this earth.
- The mom/dad who are deeply troubled over one of their children and her destructive choices.
- The parents whose child manages to get in one bad relationship after the other.
- The spouse of a person who has become dependent on prescription drugs.
- The adult child who is very troubled about a parent and her bazaar behavior.
- The middle aged guy who has just lost his job.
I’ve listed six examples. In several of these examples, I can think of more than one family or persons with very similar circumstances. What I have noticed through the years, is that the "local" usually weighs more heavily on me than the national or international stories. The "local" describes my situation in life. When the situation involves my parents, my sister or brother, my husband or wife, or my children, then everything else seems to pale in importance. What I am talking about is not theory. This is where I am with my own life.
Most of us learn to go on with life somehow. No matter what we are dealing with, we still have to go to work. We still need to get groceries at H-E-B. We might make small talk with someone who we are in line with at Home Depot. Ultimately, we learn to go on living (even in pain) by trusting in God to be present.
I need to know that God knows and cares about whatever I am dealing with at any point in my life. That is one reason why I like the words of Ps. 139:23,
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
I need to know that he is present and with me through whatever happens. I just read again Ps. 139:7-10
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go to the heavens, you are there; ‘
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.