A man fell over a cliff, but caught the edge and called for help. “Is anyone up there? God, can you help me?”
A deep voice answered: “Let go.”
The man said: “Let go? I can’t let go, I’ll fall.”
The voice insisted: “Let go.”
And the man called out: “Is there anybody else up there?”
I read that joke recently and it hit home in a not so ha-ha way. Because I think it sometimes sadly sums up my faith. I am a believer but when asked to truly let go, I hedge a little.
My wife is very much a fall off the cliff Catholic. I’m not. If I’m letting go I want a plan, a helicopter, some bungee, and some parachutes just in case the helicopter runs out of gas.
I think one of the problems is that as a parent I’m supposed to do the planning and the worrying. And at home with the kids, I’m in charge. If something goes wrong with the children, it’s my fault. When I go to work I tend to also be in charge at this point in my career so if something goes wrong, it’s essentially my fault whether it is or not.
So I think my mind has been trained to plan and concern myself with putting things to rights. I tend to worry about all the stuff I’m supposed to worry about like when is this child going to be potty trained and how much work can I do from home without ignoring the children. And there’s always money concerns.
But there’s a point when analysis supersedes faith. When considering giving money to the poor, I sometimes think to myself if that money might be better going into a college fund. When considering volunteering, I wonder to myself how I can take time away from family and work.
But sometimes I realize you just have to do your best and pray for the best. Because too much worry and planning starts you looking at things differently. Instead of seeing miracles in your children, you start seeing dollar signs and worrying about how expensive little people actually are to have around. I can see how someone could convince themselves that they are loving the child they have more by ensuring that they don’t have any other children. There’s logic to it. But there’s no faith. My wife and I have been very open to children but I can still see how that road of logic can mislead.
But I’ve been holding on tight. I admit it. I’m a big believer in the C.S. Lewis quote, “We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” And I think for a while now I’ve been expecting the pain so my life is one elongated cringe before the crash. I know I have to un-cringe. I need to stretch out. Accept what I can’t control.
Because in the end, I know that the good I can provide is temporal. By worrying and planning without falling off the cliff I perhaps am setting up a rival good to God’s plan. And God’s good is so much better.
So I’m going to try to let go a little. For tonight, I’ll just loosen my grip. A little. But I’m still taking the bungee and parachutes with me.