If you realize that all things change,
there is nothing you will try to hold on to.
If you aren’t afraid of dying,
there is nothing you can’t achieve.
Trying to control the future
is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place.
When you handle the master carpenter’s tools,
chances are that you’ll cut yourself.
(Tao Te Ching, trans. by Stephen Mitchell)
It is a day before my husband’s surgery. We are praying for a physically healing outcome and “Thy will be done.” We hold all the medical people involved in the surgery in the Light. And we expand that to all people performing surgeries in hospitals and all patients having surgeries anywhere in the world. We pray for any one who is anxious or fearful today for any reason. Is that you?
At times, I plan as if I control my future. We buy airline tickets, anticipating that my husband and I will be in good shape to fly in several weeks. If anything disrupts this plan, I imagine that I’ll be tremendously upset, unless I remember that I am not in charge. As Lao Tzu wrote, “Trying to control the future is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place.” Surely we need to plan; yet, I hold the the future lightly. It can change on a dime.
This statement of Lao Tzu reminds me of a wise carpenter/rabbi, who I try to follow. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) He acknowledges suffering and even shared in the depths of it in human experience. So, this Holy Week in my faith tradition, my husband Jim surrenders to the “death” of anesthesia and awakes to the “resurrection” of a new life of healing and return to wholeness, we hope. It is life’s eternal pattern of death and resurrection that we can see, whether we follow this rabbi or not. We see it in nature’s seasons as we see it in chapters of our lives. Death and resurrection. Trouble and the overcoming of it.
Please keep us in your prayers or your metta or whatever your spiritual practice may be. Thank you.