To passersbys, I must have looked like some kind of crazed fisherman. There I was, standing at the end of our dock, thrusting a weighty, steel pond rake deep into the water, and then pulling it slowly and awkwardly back up to the dock with a rope. Maybe they thought I was angling for supper. Maybe they thought I had spied some kind of mini-Loch Ness monster and was vying for a spot in Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Maybe they thought it was some strange kind of aerobic exercise program I was into. Or maybe they are used to seeing weird things going on around our place and paid no attention (this seems the likely response). Whatever the case, I looked ridiculous. But I didn’t care. One of my dock chairs, a vintage “hotel chair” that I had recently refurbished, had fallen victim to a vicious thunderstorm and had plunged into our pond. I couldn’t allow my prized Pinterest project to rust away at the muddy bottom; I was determined to fish it out.
The biggest problem, aside from the utter clumsiness of the process, was that I had no idea where the chair might be. The pond water was murky and unsettled after the storm and I couldn’t see a thing. I was casting randomly, from one side of the dock to the other, and even into the deepest water off the edge of the dock, to no avail. I was sweating, the rake was heavy, and the rope tied to the handle of the rake was leaving angry marks on my palms. I was getting nowhere fast, so I decided to abandon my efforts and resort to my typical Plan B: Ask my husband to do it. Plan B usually works, but this time hubby was busy and couldn’t get to my request right away. I was disgruntled and discouraged.
The next morning, I walked out to the dock prepared to begin my rake-flinging spectacle once again when I stopped and smiled. There was the chair, in a mere six feet of water off the side of the dock. Six feet of clear water. I was amazed; I could see it plain as day. I waded in a few feet, grabbed the bottom rung of the chair and pulled it right out. No need for flinging, no need for acrobatics, and no fear of onlookers questioning my sanity.
Later, I pondered this development in my prayer journal: What a difference a day makes, Lord, I wrote. Many times I am faced with a challenge, and the situation seems overwhelmingly cloudy and confusing. I’m not sure which way to go. Nothing I try seems to work. I get disgruntled and discouraged. And then morning comes. I have rested, I have pondered, I have prayed. Things are now clearer. The solution appears. I can proceed.
The experts tell us to wait 24 hours before responding to a complicated or contentious situation that needs our response. There’s a truth behind that practice, my friends: The passage of time gives us a chance to calm down, gather more information, and regain perspective. For us Christians, it also allows us a chance to pray and ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance and the right words to use or the best action to take. Waiting—and praying— can bring about a much better result.
Are you in the middle of a puzzling situation, Sista? A day makes a difference. Rest, ponder, pray. Try not to worry. Give the murky waters time to settle and the Holy Spirit time to work. You’ll be amazed at what a fresh outlook the morning brings— with no fear of sea monsters, sore hands or becoming the talk of the neighborhood.
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About Mary Beth Weisenburger
Mary Beth is a 50-something magazine editor, a family humor columnist and an author, but her favorite form of writing is prayer journaling. Praying with a pen every morning for years dramatically strengthened her spiritual life, even drawing her back home to the fullness of the Catholic Church after several decades away! She recently published a book with Beacon Publishing/Dynamic Catholic titled, “Praying with a Pen—the Girlfriends’ Guide to Stress-Free Prayer Journaling.” Married for 30+ years to her witty and wonderful husband, she's a mom to two adult children: one a seminarian studying in Rome and the other a happily married school social worker who promoted Mary Beth to grandma status in March of 2018. Mary Beth is a member of her church choir, loves to sing at big Catholic weddings and has recently begun facilitating Catholic book studies and retreats for women. With a background in corporate communications and marketing and a Master’s degree in Business and Organizational Leadership, she has spoken to over 100 groups on the topics of leadership, family humor, writing and prayer journaling. Mary Beth has a borderline unhealthy attachment to her little dog, Sammy and, when the mood strikes her, she blogs about prayer journaling (and Sammy) at www.prayingwithapen.com.