Holding the Universe Together

Snow day

She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the
balcony railing, holding the universe together.”  ~ J. D. Salinger, A Girl I Knew

It feels like we’re holding the universe together sometimes, doesn’t it? Much to our own demise we attempt to handle, prepare and guide everyone and everything around us. I think it’s especially true of women … wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers. With items and actions as simple as stirring pots of soup or folding fresh towels or making beds or giving a kiss goodbye as we send our people out into the big, cold world each day. We gather our resources — however small or grand — and do our best to patch things together and make things right for those we love. God gave us extra helpings of love and compassion and kindness, and asked that we use them to make the way easier for others. Oh, sure, we may pause for a breath or contemplative moment. We may lean over the balcony railing and stare out into the distant yonder, but our responsibilities are always there below the surface.

You know that old saying, “To have a child is to have your heart go walking around outside of your chest.” Indeed. But not just a child. Anyone you love. We’re wired to cling to and care for people we love. And just about the time we settle into a nice rhythm — a steady stream of daily living — the interruptions begin. We can laugh or cry or rage against it all or we can turn to the one who eases burdens, answers prayers and does it with a divine wisdom that we cannot discern.

I fell asleep laughing hysterically. Or maybe I was hysterical and laughing. I’m not sure.

Seriously, my sides ache this morning from the giant belly laughs that rocked my world. My husband was situated beside me, attempting to rest comfortably without pressure on his side. He’s sliced and stitched from front to back, with another man-made gash under his arm. He’s bruised and sore and healing. And here’s where the [slight] hysteria started … he took a shower, or tried to shower. The water slowed to a trickle but he persisted until it stopped altogether.

So the pressure switch on the pump went out again. It seems to happen every winter about this time. No one knows why. Usually it’s not a problem, just an inconvenience. This time it’s a challenge. But that’s not all.

We’ve had quite a bit of subzero temperatures of late. On the day before his surgery, I made the final payment on the car he drives to work. Yeehaw! The next day it refused to start.

It was for these and other reasons that my slightly hysterical funny bone began to twitch. But the laughter didn’t overflow until I climbed into bed and opened my Bible to a random page. Except it’s not my Bible, it was my grandma’s Bible. And there, on my random page turn to 2 Corinthians 5:7 she had written TESTING. It was underlined three times. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

And I giggled and laughed and shared the joke with my husband.

We are never alone. We have nothing to fear. There will always be sickness, sadness, stubborn cars and faulty, man-made gadgets. We may lose our fresh supply of water. But living water is always available in every second of every situation that could ever befall us.

“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” ~ John 7:38

Thanks for the reminder, Grandma.

We don’t need to try to hold the universe together.

God controls the pressure switch and he knows exactly what he’s doing.



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  • comment-avatar
    Nanny March 1, 2015 (8:04 am)

    Just hang on…. seems every smooth ride is followed by the bumps and then the cycle reverses….reminders of WHO controls our ultimate existence….TESTING….who are the faithful! Grandma you always were… amid protests sometimes but… always faithful

  • comment-avatar
    The Roes March 1, 2015 (8:52 am)

    How well put. Our fantastic God is always with us. I love how at times he let’s us know in such a beautiful way.

  • comment-avatar
    Sally A. March 1, 2015 (10:11 am)

    To me, living through February in Ohio always takes a lot of faith. Something is always freezing, or not working because it was sitting in the freezing conditions for so long, or needing repaired in the freezing weather. Arg. Just getting groceries in and out of the car while being able to breathe is a real feat (I’m sure I felt my face crack one day). And those are just a few of the the material obstacles we face. Sometimes it’s often hard to get past my frozen mindset that this weather and these problems will never end and Spring will come, but it always does. Thanks for the reminder that we are not the only ones enduring these tests. And that we are not alone during these times.

  • comment-avatar
    tracy b March 3, 2015 (12:27 pm)

    I have my grandmother’s bible also. I like to look through it and she always has some type of written note that always reminds me where I need to keep my focus. She is always blessing me with her smiles from heaven.