by Fr. Nicholas A. Marziani, Jr., D.Min.

The other day one of my good neighbor friends here at Makarios on the beach, Randy Overbeck, and I were near the condo pool area, which is located adjacent to the mailboxes that serve the subdivision. It was becoming late afternoon, and the mail had not yet been delivered, as sometimes occurs due to postal system hiccups and such.

We both grabbed a chair by the pool and observed numerous folks coming up to their locked mailboxes, keys in hand, only to open empty spaces where the mail should have been.

The disappointment on their faces was obvious, and Randy reflected – knowing I was a preacher “in residence” – that what we were observing was sermon material. I know Randy to be a good man with a religious background, so, intrigued, I bade him to continue.

“Well, Nick,” he said, “it’s sort of like life itself at times. We look for any number of good things to come our way – be it the mail (with good news and not too many bills) – or maybe a new outfit or sporting gear at the outlet mall, but instead come up empty. What we’re seeking just isn’t there, at least not when we expect it to be there. What do you think? Now, does that preach, or what?!”

I had to smile, and told him he was right. Oh, how right. In this life we often come up empty, and then question is, what do we do about it? Fret, fume, pout? (Better watch out, Santa’s coming to town in about nine months!). Or worse yet, blame someone else for our frustration, and alienate the very people we say we love and need?

Of course, most of us pretty much know the answer. Put bluntly, suck it up, and hear the Lord telling us as He did Paul the Apostle, “My grace is sufficient for you.” Like being caught in a riptide, keep your head, swim cross-current, and then ride the waves back to shore. And for me that cross allusion very much applies during this season that many folks from the old (and not so old) school call “Lent”. A time to “drill down” to use that now hackneyed phrase, and find our taproot of faith.

Read Psalm one sometime, speaks of the same thing, in slightly different language. You’ll be glad you did, especially if you actually follow its advice!

Peace be upon all of you,

Fr. Nick