By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
A dusting of snow swirled in the wind as I drove from LeClaire to Long Grove to promote The Catholic Messenger to parishioners at St. Ann Church. My hands clamped the steering wheel and I prayed the rosary, dedicating the first decade to all travelers on the road that cold Saturday afternoon. I cleared the major hurdles and slowly entered the somewhat slick county roads leading to the church.
It seemed as if I were driving inside a snow globe, which would be mesmerizing but my mind clearly focused on the goal … arriving at church on time, in one piece. When I pulled into the church parking lot, I finally relaxed my fingers on the steering wheel. Father Joe Wolf, the pastor, greeted me. “Were you white-knuckled?” he asked about the drive. “Yes,” I responded, but grateful to have arrived safely.
I gave my brief talk during Mass to a small gathering, grateful for the opportunity and recognizing some familiar faces. I have participated in Christian Experience Weekends (CEW) at St. Ann, so some of the parishioners seem like family, even if we see each other only occasionally. After Mass, I headed quickly out the door to drive home, feeling the familiar sense of anxiety about road conditions and the weather. I prayed another rosary, and arrived home safe, thanking God as I pulled into the garage.
Meteorologists on the local news cautioned viewers about the bone-chilling temperatures and slick road conditions for the following morning, Sunday, when I would return to Long Grove for the morning Masses to make my pitch for The Catholic Messenger. The meteorologists were spot on regarding slick conditions. My car fishtailed at the on-ramp entrance for Interstate 80, but I regained control and started another rosary, counting the prayers with my fingers.
I arrived safely, thanked God, and made my pitch during the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Masses, again, to smaller gatherings, likely due to the pandemic and bitter-cold temperatures. Who could have imagined this would be the coldest weekend in two years? Who could have imagined two years ago that we would be enduring the 11th month of a devastating pandemic?
The nerve-wracking travel time came just days after I jumped to conclusions about the results of an EKG, required for an upcoming surgery to remove “hardware” from my right leg. In the midst of that anxiety, I read two chapters of Luke’s Gospel in preparation for a weekly Bible discussion with my Uncle Joe, who lives in Maryland.
In retrospect, Luke 12: 25-29 was directed at me. “Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your lifespan? If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest? … If God so clothes the grass in the field that grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?”
Our newspaper strives week after week to inspire readers to continue developing their faith. The events of this past week put my faith-developing efforts to the test. Yet, God provided me with reassurance along the way, through companions on this journey of faith and the calming effect of prayer and liturgy. God is in control. Our God is a loving God, not a vengeful God. No need to worry!
(Contact Barb Arland-Fye@ email@example.com)