Holding the Universe Together
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.