Movies with a twist ending are frustrating. You spend the whole movie thinking things are one way only to have the rug completely pulled out from underneath you at the end. You realize what you held to be true and real was but a figment of what was really real and true. Frustrating as it may be, this is also what makes these types of movies so enjoyable because in the end you can go back and look for clues, realize where you went wrong, and enjoy the story all over again. When you come to terms with how little control you had, you realize how beautiful the story was.
Right now, control has been wrested from us. We can't go into work or out to eat. Our semester will be finished from mom and dad's living room couch and the friends with whom we have shared so much are left behind. It is frustrating and the source of incredible anxiety. What we thought we had was unceremoniously and abruptly ripped from our hands.
At a time like this, it makes complete sense to feel alone and isolated, to feel lost and dejected, to question everything. As a person of faith, however, we know that there is an answer to all of this and it is good.
In his book Abandonment to Divine Providence, Fr. Jean Pierre de Caussade notes the challenges and the angst of not knowing what lies ahead and responds thusly: “What God arranges for us to experience at each moment is the best and holiest thing that could happen to us.”
As frustrating as the twist of shelter-in-place, online classes, extended time in confined spaces with family, the fear of contracting a devastating disease, our faith lifts us up and challenges us to recognize God is in control and He is working out something more amazing and beautiful than we could even imagine on our own.
Think of it this way: All of the things which normally keep us from prayer, from family time, from intimacy – sports, social lives, crazy work schedules, competing family schedules, and so on – have been stripped in an instant from our lives. We now have time to pray, to be together, to serve the poor and vulnerable.
It’s tough right now and it may get tougher, but God has a plan, God will provide, God desires your heart and offers you salvation and boundless love.
Sincerely yours in Christ, Fr. Patrick Hyde, OP
Fr. Patrick is a Dominican priest and the Campus Minister.