We're Just Tiny Little Specks
It happens to me every year. The change of temperature throws my body off somehow, weakens my defenses, and wham – I get hit with whatever germs are floating around out there. Judging by the coughing and sneezing I hear around the same time at work, at church, in the grocery store, and just about everywhere else, I am not the only one. I wonder how many of those coughing, sneezing people had to miss work. Maybe you were one of them. Maybe, like me, you felt the cold coming on and tried to will yourself not to be sick, determined to power through it, refusing to slow down. If you gave that strategy a shot, you probably had about as much luck with it as I did. After coughing and sleeping my way through my two days off, I finally realized there was no way I was ready to come back to work. Instead, I admitted “defeat” and went to the doctor.
The most frustrating part of being sick for me is the complete lack of control. All we can do when we are in that condition is take our medicine, rest, and wait. No amount of hard work will get rid of the germs any faster. In fact, exertion will only make things worse. In a way, healing is a process of faith. We no longer call the shots. Actually, there is very little over which we have any real control on a day to day basis, but it is easy to convince ourselves otherwise – until a microscopic germ or virus reminds us of our relative powerlessness in the universe. Every day we are dependent on forces we do not understand or control. I could not explain to you how plants take in carbon dioxide and expel clean oxygen, or how my body converts the foods I eat into the energy necessary to keep my heart beating and muscles moving, or how rain clouds form to water the thirsty ground, but without these processes, and countless others like them, we could not function.
At times, that sense of being out of control is scary. Other times, it is reassuring to know that everything is not riding on my shoulders. As a song from one of my favorite cartoons, “Animaniacs,” hilariously put it: “It’s a great big universe and we’re all really puny; we’re just tiny little specks about the size of Mickey Rooney.” Lying on the couch with my box of Kleenex, I was reminded that I am not in charge of the universe, not even the tiny little speck of it known as my body. But that led me to call, once again, on the One who created the universe, believing that God’s shoulders are more than big enough to carry everything, and God’s heart is still tender enough to care about tiny little us.
God of all things great and small, thank you for not leaving everything up to us. Help us to make the best of the things you have left in our control, and forgive us when we try to do too much. Every day, every moment, our lives are in your hands. It is good to know they are such strong and loving hands. Amen.
-- Chaplain Stacy N. Sergent