If you can believe that there is a Higher Power watching you, taking care of you, sending you strength and wisdom to face the tribulations, irritations and annoyances of daily life, you will find it easier to tackle, to take on irritations and conquer annoyance.
On the upper galleries of the cathedral of Milan, there are many statues of saints carved in exquisite white marble. The dedicated sculptor who created these masterpieces was busy at his work when one of his friends came to see him. The friend said, “I don’t see why you are wasting your artistic effort in such a place. High up here, in these unseen galleries, nobody will ever get to look at your statues. Therefore, your work will not really be appreciated. Isn’t that a pity?” “It is enough for me that you recognise their value,” smiled the artist. “And what if I had not climbed up all those stairs to see your work?” countered the friend. “My friend,” said the artist, “surely God and his angels would have seen it, and that is enough!”
During the American civil war, when things were getting tough for the Northern armies, Abraham Lincoln asked the people to pray for their victory. One of his critics asked him sarcastically, “Are you sure, Mr. President, that God is on your side?” “I’m much more concerned that we should be on God’s side,” said Lincoln. “That thought occupies me all the time!”
If you can believe that there is a Higher Power watching you, taking care of you, sending you strength and wisdom to face the tribulations, irritations and annoyances of daily life, you will find it easier to tackle, to take on irritations and conquer annoyance. If such faith does not come to you naturally, you can actually cultivate it by repeating to yourself, “God is watching me! God is watching over me!” Repeat this if possible, every hour. Repeat this to yourself, when you have to confront an irritating situation. People who take risks, people who are exposed to danger constantly, know what it is to have the strength of this belief: “God is watching me; God is watching over me!”
Have you seen circus acrobats who perform daredevil tricks? Have you seen trapeze artists walking across the high wire, seeming as if they are suspended in space? They cannot afford to lose their nerve; they cannot afford to have their calmness and composure disturbed. All acrobats will tell you that they climb up to the high trapeze and walk on the high wire with the simple belief that God watches over them. This is what helps them to stay calm and composed, for their survival depends upon it.
You and I may not be trapeze artists, but we too have to walk on the tightrope in the circus that is life. And the circus acrobats teach us the simple but valuable lesson that we can keep our cool, maintain our sense of balance, preserve our equanimity if we hold firmly on to the belief: “God is watching me; God is watching over me!”
Irritation and annoyance raise clouds of darkness in our mind. People who live in desert areas will tell you how irritating sandstorms can be. Strong gusts of wind blow sand and dust into people’s eyes and nose and face, so that it becomes impossible to see ahead, or indeed move on.
Irritation raises just such a sandstorm in the mind, making it impossible to think clearly, shutting us off from the source of confidence, calmness and peace that is God’s presence.
Alas, today we live in a world that is a veritable concrete jungle – cut off from the healing forces of nature. We live in the midst of steel, stone, pollution, noise, harmful emissions, dirt and confusion. But all we have to do to access inner peace and confidence is to remind ourselves again and again that He, who is the source of the Peace that passeth, surpasseth understanding – He is watching over us. Therefore, my advice to you is this: every morning, start the day by saying, “God is watching over me.” Repeat this whenever you can, throughout the day. And as you fall into sleep, say it to yourself yet again: “God is watching over me!” When you begin the day in this beautiful awareness, you breathe out aspirations of purity, love, joy and peace. Just as light dispels darkness, frustrations and irritations will be driven away from you, clearing the dark clouds that threaten your horizon.
A steamer, sailing over the sea, was caught in a squall one night. The ship tossed violently, awakening the passengers from their peaceful slumber. Nervous and frightened, they wondered what was happening. Some of them began to scream in fear. On board the steamer was the Captain’s daughter, a little girl of eight years. The noise awakened her, and she asked her mother, sleepily, “Mamma, what’s happening?” The mother explained to her that a storm was lashing the ship. “Is Papa at the helm?” asked the frightened child. “Yes, Papa is at the helm,” replied the mother. Hearing this, the little girl snuggled back into her bed, and was fast asleep in no time at all! The winds still blew and the waves still rolled and the ship still tossed – but she was calm and confident, because she knew her father was at the helm.
The Heavenly Father is always at the helm, and though storms may blow and thunder may strike, we can leave everything in His hands, knowing that He is watching over us.
As we proceed on the pathways of life, we encounter different types of weather – stormy and smooth, mild and wild. We must keep on reminding ourselves that God is in charge of the Universe, He is the controller of the destinies of individuals and nations – therefore nothing can go wrong. Today, here and now, you may feel things are going wrong – but if you have the faith that God is in control, He is in charge of our life, you will be assured that nothing can go wrong – for in everything that happens, there is a meaning of God’s mercy.