Sunday Readings: Having patience with the Questions
A regular part of my life since my oldest son turned two has been audiologist visits. Test after test to first try and figure out whether or not he had hearing loss and then figure out how and if it is progressing. And when we determined he officially had hearing loss, we started bringing the twins to test their hearing as well. Yesterday, I took one of my twins for yet another appointment because he has consistently shown conductive loss in one ear. This kind of loss is seemingly temporary in most cases and can be caused by fluid in the ear. Yesterday, however, his ears were clear and the loss, at least in that particular test, was now seemingly permanent. The audiologist seemed confused by the result, and I don’t blame her. I am too. In the end, we left the office with “Let’s test again in a couple months and see. There is nothing to do at this time.”
For the last day I have sat with this in my mind and heart. Last time I was told to be patient, we missed something big in my older son – a significant hearing loss. This time, however, we are doing everything correctly and patience is, in fact, warranted. It is also, however, extremely difficult. As a parent, I want to know what comes next. I want to plan ahead and be proactive. Waiting to see what happens is challenging. He is fine. The loss hasn’t affected his speech or his social nature. In me, however, there still looms so many questions.
As I wrestled with these questions today, I turned to look at the readings for this coming Sunday. In the first reading, Moses tells his people to stop looking up and far away for answers. He says instead “[I]t is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” (Duet 30:14) The psalm implores us to “Turn to the Lord in your need and you will live.” (Psalm 69) The second reading reminds us of who Christ is (“Christ the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Col 1:15)) so that we may be reminded of the power of the One we should turn to. And then, there is the Gospel. The common story of the Good Samaritan is primarily about an understanding of neighbor. Today, however, I feel like it is also an invitation to proceed, even if you don’t know all the information. None of the men coming down the road had all the information about this man they encountered. They didn’t know what had happened, they didn’t know what would happen if they stopped, and they didn’t even really know all they could/should do in that moment. The Samaritan was the only one that let his heart be moved with compassion and entered into the situation with trust that all would be okay.
Today I hear the Lord inviting me not only to act with mercy but to be brave enough just to act. I hear the Lord inviting me to keep moving, to trust that, in the end, all will be okay. He invites me to continue to walk this road with all of my sons and see where it leads, and He asks me to have faith that He will equip all of us with what we need along the way.
He invites me also to have patience. 20th century poet Rainer Maria Wilke said this about patience:
“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”Rainer Maria Wilke, Letters to a Young Poet
May we all have both the patience to wait for answers to our deepest questions and the grace to keep journeying down the path God has set for us.