Show Me the Way

A couple of weeks ago, my preaching minister began a message on the spiritual disicipline of guidance by showing a clip from “Cool Hand Luke,” where Paul Newman’s fugitive character petitions the “Old Man” in an abandoned frame church.

It wasn’t my favorite clip, nor would it have been my choice. Up until a few minutes ago, I’d have picked the scene in Martini’s bar from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when Jimmy Stewart’s desperate George Bailey pleads “God, I’m not a praying man … but if You will, show me the way, God. Show me the way.”

What has changed my choice is seeing a DVD press of “The Bells of St. Mary’s” in glorious, full black and white. I haven’t seen it since I was a kid, and I didn’t remember the scene near the end in which Ingrid Bergman’s Sister Benedict is wrestling with God over being sent away from her beloved St. Mary’s School. She doesn’t know why, and Bing Crosby’s Father O’Malley won’t tell her. “Remove all bitterness from my heart,” she begs first of all. Then, she too asks for God to reveal His will.

He does, of course. It happens in the movies. But art does not always imitate life.

At noon today, as my disappointed twelve-year-old son begged me to take him back to Blockbuster to exchange the NHL Hockey PS2 game that his mom mistakenly rented (it had been filed behind an NBA game cover), sleet began to fall while I was shrugging on a winter coat. I renegged on the deal, advising him that this might be one of those instances when it would be wiser to wait, and be grateful for what we have … which is not being stuck at the bottom of a ravine in our minivan as we were after the accident we had in sleety weather in January. “But I hate hockey!” he protested.

It’s a little after 3:00 p.m. now. We’re snowed in, and the blizzard continues. While the rest of us watched “The Bells of St. Mary’s,” my son has worn out his fascination with his sled, left his clothes on the hearth to dry, and bounded upstairs. The hockey game didn’t go upstairs with him (yet), but he has gained an appreciation for the amount of fun one can have on ice – safely.

Show me the way. It was a wordless prayer as I was putting on that coat, watching sleet collect on the deck and deciding whether to go: Risk our lives or risk my son’s perception of my courage, integrity and faith.

God had an answer … white, cold and wet.

One thought on “Show Me the Way

  1. Keith, would you have considered that the answer (white, cold and wet) if you had decided to go ahead and made it back safely? I’m not sure exactly how to put the question I struggle with in looking for the will of God, but doesn’t his answer sometimes DEPEND on our response to the cues he gives? Or is that just our perception of what is answer is, based on how we see the whole thing turn out?

    I’m not trying to be argumentative or to debate just for the sake of it, I really have trouble deciding when I am being directed in a certain way. And based on the responses to Cope’s blog a few days ago (which you and I both posted on) several of us do.

    Maybe it’s not important to know which way we are being directed, but rather to just have faith that we ARE being directed, and be content with that. I feel that I can look back and see direction in my life that I couldn’t see when it was being done. I wish there were a parallel universe somewhere so that I could see the different outcomes that may result from one small change in a decision some place. Maybe somebody ought to make a movie about that……

    As for the current blizzard, we ended up with about 5″ of snow, and I went home early and rigged up a sled to pull behind the four wheeler all around the front yard. We had a blast snow surfing.

    take care, and Merry Christmas.

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