Just enough

Quite often over the past few years I have been given lessons by God Himself on the importance of trusting in Him and His Providence. “Divine Providence” is basically God taking care of you. It does NOT mean that you pray for something and “BOING!” you get it. How you obtain what you need (not want) varies but essentially you trust in the Lord and cooperate with His will, and your basic needs are met. There may be a lag time in when you obtain the need, (“I want what I want, and I want it now!”) or in the perceived quality (“I want a MacBookPro! You mean I gotta settle for an ASUS netbook? AAARRRGH!!”) and so on. But if you look back and humbly assess the situation, you will find that although your wants were not satisfied, your needs were met.

Recently I’ve discussed this with my wife, and we basically refer to this phenomenon as getting “Just enough.” We have “just enough” to get by. We may be a little iffy for next month or the one after that, but somehow we have “just enough” to meet our current needs. The future may be dark, but right now the lights are still on.

We rely on Divine Providence. Sure, it would be nice to have a cushion. But this includes God more in our lives, as there is a partnership with us. This seems to be how He works. He did not need us, but we were created anyway. God’s will seems to quite often involve our cooperation. Sure, He can just will something to happen and solve something. But now, instead He chooses to involve us. Perhaps doing so respects the gift of free will.

One of the first major situations when I started keeping track was a few years ago after my Mom died. I was working as a part-time janitor for my local parish. My priest “just happened” to need someone around for light maintenance work just after Mom died (turns out the previous guy left for something else full time, if I recall correctly. My priest also knew someone who “just happened” to have an available apartment, which would come in handy as I was about to be kicked out of my Mom’s old house.) Anyway, my car needed a new muffler. Badly. I did not have the money for a new one. I had spoken to my priest about financial difficulties and he gave me a basic raise. But still, I would not have enough cash for the muffler.

Payday arrives. I get my paycheck, and it turns out the pay included the raise retroactive for the previous pay period, not the upcoming one as you’d expect. It provided me with “just enough” money to get the new muffler.

This does not always happen to the faithful. Something like this also happened a long time ago when I was a “spiritual seeker”. I believed in God but not religion, but apart from believing in Him I paid Him little attention.

A job I had when I lived in Southern California had just ended. One of the perks I had as the employee was an apartment (right near the beach, like a block in!) Naturally, when the job ended so did the lease. So, all of a sudden I was facing unemployment and eviction. Within the space of maybe 2-3 days just before Thanksgiving 1993 I had obtained a job through a temp agency and an apartment (still near the beach, but a block farther in.) This blew my mind, that I was able to accomplish that so suddenly. Street savvy/life-survival skills were not my strength, and accomplishing this made me proud.

(Unfortunately, the job led me to meet a woman I had a disastrous romantic situation with, which I reacted to by altering my drinking habits from occasionally social to daily coping. But that may or may not be another post.)

It could also happen in little things. The event that caused me to start thinking about this post happened yesterday when I finally planted our vegetable garden. I had “just enough” plants for the garden space I dug, “just enough” fencing and fence posts to lay around it, “just the right size” pallet for the garden gate. Nothing major, but it got me thinking.

So:

Matthew 6: 24-34

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?

Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin.

But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.

If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?

So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’

All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

(Via USCCB.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"