Sometimes we can’t do it alone

Sometimes the churning, fearsome waters of a stormy sea seemingly never end. Sometimes, as the ocean waves crash over your head, you find it hard to catch a brief breath.

Your arms flail in an attempt to stay afloat in such overwhelming conditions.

Just ask the Apostles when they were at sea, and eventually saw the Lord walking to them amid the winds and waves.

Just ask Peter when he was asked by Christ to walk to Him in nature’s onslaught.

And imagine Peter’s relief when Jesus held out His hand to keep the terrified disciple from slipping beneath the sea.

How comforting was it when Christ calmed the seas and the Apostles could breathe a sigh of relief?

We all, at one time or another, or another, or another, find ourselves in those dire straits. We all flail and fear slipping into the abyss of a cold watery demise. We all fear we just can’t hang on much longer. And we all are offered an outstretched hand, sent by God, to keep our heads above water.

The question is whether we reach out to that hand or not.

Not all of our problems are as perilous as these scenarios, but all of our problems can seem to be that way — when we’re going through them.

Jesus doesn’t extend His own hand as a lifeline, as he did for Peter. Rarely is there an angel who mysteriously appears to lead us to shore, and then as mysteriously, disappears.

No, Christ uses mere human beings to perform such heroic feats.

As St. Teresa of Avila so eloquently promised in one of her prayers, “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which He looks compassion on this world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

Yes, we are the “minions,” who help each other carry on.

The most difficult part of receiving the hand of Christ from a brother or sister is how to thank them.

How do you thank someone who listens to your plight and knows the right people, places or things that can help — then goes out and seeks them for you?

How do you thank that little minion who goes above and beyond the call of duty to help?

How do you thank someone for just shooting a text message out of the blue, in the middle of a work day with the words, “Just thinking of you”?

How do you thank someone for sharing their story; a story that is so similar and so difficult to bring up again, yet it’s the right thing to do at the right time?

How do you thank that Christ on earth for the prayers for you and those around you — knowing full well, it’s not just lip service, but something they’ll actually drop on their knees and do?

Christ’s body, hands and feet on earth cannot ease the churning, fearsome waters of a stormy sea.

They can’t turn the roiling waters into a sea of tranquility.

But they can help you flail your arms to stay afloat.

They can keep your head above water so you can catch that desperately-needed next breath.

And they can provide relief and comfort when you think none can be found.

How do you thank these friends; these brothers and sisters in Christ? You simply say it.

Thank you minions. You know who you are. 

And if I can ever return the favor, just reach out your hand from that stormy sea.

Dave Jolivet can be contacted at davejolivet@anchornews.org.

© 2018 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing   †   Fall River, Massachusetts