I have wasted a lot of energy in my life worrying about outcomes: what might or might not happen in certain situations or because of certain events. I use the verb “wasted” rather than “spent” because of finally coming to the “right answer” to the question of Jesus in today’s gospel. (MT 6:24-34) He asks, “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life span?” The answer is unequivocally “No.” All we have is the present moment. Jesus expands on the issue of worrying to anything in life (what to eat or wear…) and the answer is the same: it doesn’t help! All it gets us is headaches or emotional distress. The advice of Jesus is that we seek first God’s kingdom and spend some time observing creation – the way the world works, the cycles of the seasons – and (although he doesn’t say this we might intuit it) give up our need to control everything about our lives. Surrendering to “the now” isn’t easy but in the long run, when we learn to do it, it is much less stressful than the alternatives.
That certainly sounds simplistic when we consider the sad state of things in much of the world. I’m not suggesting that we give up trying to better our situation or that of others. I’m only recommending that we let go of outcome: do our best and let God be in control. It takes a lot of practice and probably won’t be totally achieved by some of us until our last breath but open hands can receive more than tight fists any day so today I say to myself and anyone who will hear: Let’s open up and get in the game!