Today is my brother’s birthday. I was almost six years old when he was born, having been “the baby” all that time. I had no idea what that meant but something must have dawned on me eventually because one day having walked half-way to kindergarten with my sister who was the ripe old age of seven (walking was safer for children alone in those days), I refused to continue. After a neighbor stopped and took me home, my father took me to school, and the conclusion of everyone hearing the story is that I was jealous and thought my mother would forget me if I were not around with her and the baby. I didn’t need to have worried as there was definitely enough love for the three of us in our family and my brother turned out to be one of the truly delightful gifts of my life.
That long introduction leads me to the reading of the Letter of James for today – to a line that probably rings true for the majority of us and, if not yet, will someday for the rest. James says you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. We can probably all think of unexpected things in our lives – some tragic, some delightful. While it’s impossible not to plan ahead, the manner in which we plan is important. I read a book once whose title “A Light Grasp on Life” has really helped me learn that I can never be totally sure of the future I project. This calls me to practice a letting go of worry about what may or may not happen. Surrendering to life in the everyday events prepares me for the big things that I can’t control and my faith sustains me when those “big things” are the tragedies. And just maybe sometimes – like with my brother – what we first see as tragic or disappointing turns out to be blessing in the long run.