The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.—Proverbs 20:12 (RSV)
“Quid hoc ad aeternitatem?” as St. Bernard of Clairvaux used to mumble when faced with the usual parade of tumult and travail. “What does it matter in the light of eternity?”
And yet, with total respect for eternity, don’t we love our problems, considering the alternative? The blizzards of bills I can never pay in toto, the surly son, the dismissive daughter, the moist shabby house held together by duct tape and blackberry vines, the battered moaning car, the shivering pains in my back, the grim brooding debts, the dark thread of fear that I might not have been the best dad, the feeling sometimes in the dark reaches of the night that maybe there was a better husband for my wife if only she had stayed in the game a little longer, and the most pressing problems, the ones that haunt me every minute of the blessed week: the health and joy of our kids and the fragility of their future…
But there are sweet, glorious moments when I realize that the things that keep us awake at night could be the greatest gifts we can ever get. Soon enough, as real time is accounted, we’ll be with old St. Bernard, and what we will want more than anything, even there, in the incomprehensible Light, on the Ocean of Love, is to be in a chair late at night, worried, rocking a sick child, knowing that that child needs and wants you more than any other person in the history or future of the world. All the way to heaven is heaven, as another mumbling saint said—despite the muddy potholes along the road.
Lord, I ask politely for the kind of eyesight that sees the glory of the muddy road.
Editor’s Note: Sadly, beloved Daily Guideposts contributor Brian Doyle passed away on May 27, 2017. We are forever grateful for the many gifts he shared with us.