The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The Lord is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
I admit, I am afraid of the dark.
At night, in bed, I am so afraid.
Hearing sounds, but unable to see them...
my heart pounds fast and I beg for the morning light to come quickly.
Waiting in the dark terrifies me.
I become paralyzed.
My daughter thinks because our house is so old, it is haunted.
I tell her, "don't be silly" and then I look around thinking..."is it?"
Recently, while looking at my profile picture I zoomed in on what looks like an evil face in the window staring down at me. Really...take a look. It is freaky.
I live in a bit of fear.
The two blind men (not to be confused with the three blind mice-totally different message) in today's Gospel ( Matthew 9:27-31) are not paralyzed by their darkness. In fact, they are moved by it.
They follow Jesus.
They can not see him, yet they know He is there.
And after they shout out for help, aware of their need, they take it a step further.
They approach him.
And then? Then, Jesus asks them something.
Jesus...God...who knows everything...who has no real need to ask a question because He already knows the answer...He asks them...
"Do you believe that I can do this?"
You know, I have many friends, fallen away Catholics, who are searching so hard for something to make sense of their messy life, their emptiness, this dark world. They see other things of this world that sound like a good idea...I can raise my kids in kindness...maybe try Buddha...yoga perhaps will help. And yet, when I run into them, weeks, months, years later...they are still searching. And after this latest tragedy in the news, they will tell you, "See? There is no God!" Or they will tell me, "stop praying and do something! Praying is not enough! He clearly does not answer prayers! We need to take action!"
And I agree.
We do need to do something.
But doing something does not mean we eliminate prayer.
Praying is doing.
Praying is what leads us to action.
Prayer is where we discover what it is we are supposed to do.
And maybe that something is a big action...maybe it means fighting for a cause or running for office.
Or maybe, it just means using two extra fabric softener sheets in the dryer so your kids laundry feels doubly soft and good. Or maybe it means putting off housework to sit with your youngest and go over geography.
Whatever it is you do, so long as it is done with great love, you are making a profound difference.
I think the people who want us to stop praying simply do not understand what praying is.
Praying is not simply asking for what you want and then sitting back and waiting for it to magically happen.
Praying is worshipping.
And worshipping means following.
(You know what it means to follow...just look at your IG account or your facebook page)
"As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him..."
And following means recognizing our weakness and crying out to him...
"Son of David, have pity on us!"
And crying out means approaching him
"the blind men approached him"
And approaching him means resisting the temptation to talk non stop about what we want Him to do for us, and to sit still and listen to what He has to say...
"Do you believe I can do this?"
And this is it.
This is what is so important.
This question he asks the blind men.
This question he asks us everyday, but because we are too busy following Taylor Swift, or Fox News, or that guy from Highs School who you dated and really loved but he dumped you and married a woman uglier than you and you just get a real kick out of seeing his pictures because it makes you feel better about your own life...I digress...Jesus asks...
"DO YOU BELIEVE I CAN DO THIS?"
Because if we have not followed, and we have not cried out, and we have not acknowledged our need for him, and we have not approached him...then no...how can we possibly believe?
Once the blind men say, "Yes, Lord", did you catch what Jesus does?
Jesus touches them.
He touches them.
And it is by his touch alone that they are healed.
I need to remember these two blind men when it is dark and I am afraid.
I need to remember that although I can not see Jesus, He is ever so near.
And I need to continue following him, always crying out, always aware of my need for Him.
Because only then will my blindness allow me the courage to approach Him, to put my trust in Him, to be quiet enough to hear Him, to be touched by him.
And then like the blind men, my eyes will be opened.
I know that prayer can feel empty sometimes.
A waste of time.
I know how discouraging it can be when you pray for years for something, and still, you do not get the answer you would like. (Like how I prayed my bills would go away only to get three certified letters from the IRS and my bank account emptied by them just weeks before Christmas. Yeah, so no Christmas card from my family to the IRS this year!)
But I also know that God has the big picture, I do not.
I know that He created the sun and the stars and the moon and every single good thing in my life, like my family and the animals and chips and salsa and a really good cheap margarita. And slippers. Well, actually, Costco made my slippers. I just really love my slippers.
I know how scary the dark is.
I have been in it.
But I also know how awesome the light is.
Even with eyes closed, you can see the light!
Even the three blind mice were moved...see how they run!
And so I choose to follow Christ. In my slippers. From Costco.
And I will continue to pray.
I will love those who love me back and will continue to try to love those who do not love me. (I know! Could you imagine there are people who do not love me? What's wrong with them?)
I will take my small flickering light and bring it with me everywhere I go.
Stop and Shop...the gas station...all those glamorous places I frequent in town!
I will hang out with the two blind men, and I will, at all times, be aware of what a hot mess and needy little critter I am.
I will shout out to my God, I will beg for His mercy, I will ask him to take pity on me.
I will approach Him every single day, and I will say "Yes, Lord."
I believe that God can do this.
I really, really do.
"Let it be done for you according to your faith."