by Sally Ann McLean
When I was working at Fort Lewis, there always seemed to be a large plate of glass on my desk, underneath of which I would place reminders of one sort or another.
The assortment changed over the years. Among the varied items would be a chart of often used computer input codes, a business card for a licensed muscle therapist, a telephone roster, a list of the birthdays of my fellow office workers, a few prayers clipped from devotional booklets, and some favorite cartoons.
All these things were useful as reminders: that’s why I had placed them there. But they were only useful as I remembered to look at them.
One of those favorite cartoons showed two gentlemen mingling at a cocktail party. One man, holding a martini glass, was expounding his philosophy to the other: “My feeling is that while we should have the deepest respect for reality, we should not let it control our lives.”
On hectic days, if I would remember to glance at this cartoon and if I had a bit of a sense of humor left about me, I could chuckle as I acknowledged the truth of the caption.
Yes, the office might have seemed like a zoo with everyone making their own noises, pushing their own agendas. Yes, my desk looked like a three-ring circus with several projects in various stages of completion. Yes, yes, the reality of such moments evidenced chaos and confusion. The devil was sitting there by the telephone, hoping I would bark at the next person who dared to interrupt me and delay my agenda. But, I would remind myself that I didn’t have to give in to all that distraction. I didn’t have to let reality control my life.
One day, I was rearranging those reminders underneath the glass, I came across one nearly hidden by the adding machine. It was a quote attributed to Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “When you consider the state the world is in, you say, ‘Thank God I am not God.’ But when you discover the church and are drawn into it, you say, ‘Thank you, God, that you are God.’”
What a calming thought! The one who can bring His order to my chaos is in charge. That was a reality that I hoped would control my life.
I needed to remember, then as now, to look at the reminders God has placed all around me. He is in control. He is omnipresent. He is omniscient. He is omnipotent. I had learned those words in confirmation class so many years ago. Had I forgotten them? Or had I just forgotten to remember, forgotten to let myself be reminded?
Read more of Sally Anne McLean’s work in her book, At Faith Value: Seeing His Hand at Work in the Ordinary. It’s available on Amazon… go through the link on our Just Shopping page and a piece of your purchase will go to St. Marks! With any method of purchase (online or through special order in your favorite bookstore), Sally Ann has graciously decided to donate any royalties from the sale of this book to St. Mark’s.