Everytime I finish a gig I fly into a panic.
I’m probably not alone in that regard. I know that other singers do it, my guess is that most freelancers have the same experience. You hardly have time to enjoy one success before you convince yourself that there is no more success coming up down the road. We want our calendars packed full for years at a time. We want to know what’s coming.
Do we ever really know what’s coming?
Two Sundays ago in the first reading from Exodus we heard the Israelites doing what they do best in the Pentateuch: grumbling. God, in response, tells them that quail and bread will be provided for them. They are not to store up manna, but God will give it to them every day.
Today it hit me during the Lord’s Prayer: When we ask for our daily bread, we aren’t just asking for food, we are asking only for that day’s portion. Maybe part of that prayer needs to include asking for the patience and the faith to be satisfied with just that one day’s portion and the promises that God has made.
I don’t want to be patient or take things one day at a time. I want to know that my relationships will stay the same forever. I want to know that I will be an employed musician for many years. I want to know that the people I love will live to old age. I usually revel in the surprises of life, but in my sinful human nature I have decided that some things are so important that I need certainty – more certainty than the promises of God. Promises aren’t good enough: I want predictions. They don’t come.
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. — Thomas Merton, “Thoughts in Solitude”