What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. (James 2:14-17, NRSV)
My husband leaves in two weeks for a job out-of-state , and the
countdown has begun. When will he finally call his aunt?
Every time Pure Luck goes away, he tries to see Aunt Linda before
he leaves. About four weeks ahead, when he’s doing his security paperwork and
looking for a housing packet in the mail, his thoughts also turn to his late
mother’s beloved younger sister. He tells me, “We should get together with
Linda and her family.” And I say, “Why don’t you call her?” And he says, “Well,
she’s at work right now.” Or, “Well, you’ll have to be here, because you’re the
one with a schedule.”
Now don’t misunderstand me. He doesn’t consider this to be
an unpleasant obligation. He likes seeing Aunt Linda. We love her family and
always have a great time visiting with them. But for some reason actually
getting her on the phone can be a challenge.
There are powerful forces of inertia at work in our lives.
We tend to just keep going in one direction. And that inertia makes us
vulnerable to other excuses not to deviate from the plain and easy path that
lies right in front of us.
our house we have a vacuum cleaner with gears. If you have it in neutral, it’s
hard to push. If you switch the lever and put it in drive, it will propel
itself! But it will only go in a straight line if there is no hand to guide it.
We’ve probably all known someone who can’t stop going in the same unfruitful
direction, and we’ve probably all wished we could help them as simply as we can
redirect a vacuum cleaner.
Pure Luck finally called Aunt Linda yesterday. Guess what? No one
was home, and the last time I wrote down her cell phone number, I wrote one
number over another and we can’t figure out the last two digits. Sometimes
circumstances do get in the way of making things happen. But we need to keep
trying, both out of family loyalty and out of authentic love.
Whether you think of yourself as being on a faith walk, or an individuation path, the key is to keep trying. We strive to get past our inertia, both out of a sense of that we’re doing the right thing and with a welling up of love for the Creator who in many forms has touched and blessed and saved us. That force of Divine Love is the hand on the vacuum cleaner, pointing us in new directions. That’s the path to making things happen.