I have a new computer and noticed at the top center is an icon of a little light bulb that reads, “Tell me what you want to do.” Maybe it’s because I had a perpetually messy room as a child and watched too many episodes of I Dream of Jeannie, but I’ve been looking for a light bulb like that my entire life.
Haven’t we all? How much simpler life would be if we could just get what we want, what we think we need, what we know will finally fill that persistent ache of our humanity. When I look at my life, the things I wished for as a child, the vows of certainty I made as a teenager, the ambitious plans I made as a young adult, and the middle-age accumulation of decades of yearnings, efforts, achievements, and disappointments, I wonder why I long for anything. It hasn’t been a “your wish is my command” experience, but it has been magical, even if that magic felt black at times.
I know both the joy and vulnerability of childhood, the discoveries and confusion of the teen years, the naivete of young adulthood and the knowledge I learned from my mistakes, the exhilaration and exhaustion of motherhood, and, now, the balance between improving myself and accepting who I am. I’ve learned every stage has challenges, triumphs, and part of the answer to what God calls us to do. The sufferings I lamented, resented, and mourned have shaped me into a wiser, stronger, and more resilient person. They’ve also taught me to surrender, be softer, and stand firm.
I bring the waves of vacillation that shape my life to the altar during the Eucharist as a plea, “Tell me what You want me to do, God.” I feel more connected to Him at this moment than any other. I feel both surrender and strength. Sometimes it feels scary like a dare. Will I do what He asks? Will I obey? Other times my plea feels like a brave truth. l trust in His mercy, have faith in His plan, and feel love so genuine that I know it will bridge the difference between truth and dare.
“Tell me what you want to do” has evolved from being a means to get what I want to a way to give what He wills. I don’t know what the years ahead hold or if I am promised any. But I know that the trajectory of my life, with all the roads that sometimes felt too narrow, too fast, too winding, and too dark, led me to Him. It hasn’t been as simple as the light bulb icon on the computer screen promises, but it has illuminated the darkest parts of my life, not by giving into my commands, but by teaching me the right questions to ask.
God, tell me what You want me to do.
Copyright 2018 Lara Patangan