A friend of mine told me a story last week about her former employer who was a high-powered real estate developer. When in the midst of some professional snarl he would instruct his assistant to “just make it all go away!’ What a glorious idea: in the midst of life’s messes could there be someone who would make a few phone calls, deliver some pay-offs, hire an assassin and …. Poof! All unsolvable problems vanish. “Just make it all go away” is the ultimate luxury. Is that not what we tell our physicians and surgeons, our tax accountants and mechanics? Is this not the dream and expectation of every life – that all unpleasantness is to be banished from the freeway of our lives so we can zoom into even greater stratospheres of efficiency, pleasure and fulfillment?
I could not help but wonder if we don’t incorporate this same idea into our prayer lives as well? How often have I told God to make my suffering go away? I cannot recount the number of prayers dictating storylines to the Creator of the universe. I believe I am beginning to enter into a new awareness in which I am eager not to escape or attract unpleasant circumstances but rather to understand and decode the entirety of my life’s experiences.
If I told you a story free from conflict or effort would you be entertained? I suspect not. What makes any story compelling is the overcoming of obstacles, the acquisition of wisdom, the realization of unknown strength and courage. If your existence is actually the story of your life, should it not be filled with the full spectrum of emotion and experience? And doesn’t that include heartbreak, failure and rejection as well as triumph and success? To wish away the challenges of life would leave us with what? Plateau after plateau? I’ll await that never-ending vista in heaven. For now I pray for good humor as I search for meaning, I pray for perseverance in cultivating love and I pray for a great passionate, unforgettable story starring my God, my neighbor and myself!