not a one-man soup kitchen

"Thou didst reject the one infallible banner which was offered Thee to make all men bow down to Thee alone--the banner of earthly bread; and Thou hast rejected it for the sake of freedom and the bread of Heaven."

That's Dostoyevsky's Grand Inquisitor talking to Jesus (that I quoted a couple weeks ago). And I think the story in John 6 says something similar. It begins:
There was much grass in the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.

...On the next day boats from Tiberias came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. And when they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?"

Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you..."
Jesus is bothered that they just come back for the food. He cared about their hunger, and he provided for their need very generously, but he does not want to become a one-man soup kitchen. He meant the food as a sign, not just another meal. And he's not willing to provide more food for those who are just seeking that. He rejects the "one infallible banner" of bread, for which the people will gladly come again and again. And here again, as with the devil, his response is that "man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from God":
They said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"

Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world."

They said to him, "Lord, give us this bread always."

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. ...This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever." This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" ...After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.

I'm not sure what this says about the work here (a work people readily understand and honor and support). But it does seem to fit with my growing dissatisfaction with the pressures and demands to "provide services." The constant flow of people just wanting food or shelter or money. And coming here because it's a soup kitchen and shelter, which are not about inspiring faith (or requiring faith of those who come, as Jesus did) but about putting food on the table.

Are we taking up the "infallible banner" that Jesus rejected?

I do still think it's possible to love people here in a Christlike way, provide "signs" of God's love, and I plan to continue to try to do that (and learn to do it better). But I also think the soup kitchen model is lacking, and I feel the need to look beyond it.


a bed makes sense

On servanthood (from the old entry I mentioned yesterday):

...not just performing “a service,” but actually putting ourselves in the vulnerable position of a servant. The dependent position. In which our own will and needs are set aside to attend to the needs of another. In which the one being helped is not humiliated (as a beggar) but we put ourselves in the humbler position.

The intention is to direct attention to the God we serve, who is the true benefactor for all of us. The desire is not to direct people’s attention to ourselves or encourage them to put their trust in us or become dependent on us. This would do nothing to address the deeper, more important problem of our separation from God. We are to show—in all areas of our lives, just as Jesus did—that we are all dependent on God. And that it is in faith, trusting God in our dependence and weakness, that we find God.

This morning a man walked in and sat on the couch. I told him we weren't open, but he seemed distressed and complained about falling and hurting his elbow. So I offered him some coffee and Tylenol and let him sit for a while. Talking with him, I guessed that he had some mental health issues (and may have been drinking). But he did ask at one point why I was so caring. I just said God has cared for me.

But I don't think I've focused on this as much as I should have since I've been here. The pressure to "provide services" is pretty strong. From the guests, from each other, even from within myself. That's what a soup kitchen or shelter is for, right?

Bread makes sense to people. A bed makes sense. What does "dependence on God" have to do with anything?

I've been thinking about John 6 lately, where Jesus challenged the people for just coming back to him for more food. And then didn't give them any more. There seems to be something important there. I think I'll take a closer look at that in the next few days...


getting my attention

Illness and fatigue made me take an at-home retreat during the beginning of this week, but I was recovered enough to help with the flurry of Thanksgiving activity yesterday. And I think I'm up for making pizza tonight (people will have had enough turkey and dressing by then).

But I feel like God is trying to get my attention. Trying to call me back perhaps. I think I've gotten distracted by all the action and need here and so have forgotten something important. One thought that came to me during my rest-and-pray time was about handling stressful and challenging situations, and about how the spiritual life is involved:

A deep spiritual life is not required to make us strong in difficult situations; adrenaline and the instinct to survive can do that. The spiritual life is required to allow us to be weak in difficult situations. To keep us from despair or from fleeing. And make it possible to endure and keep loving though we are vulnerable and humanly powerless.

Looking back on this journal entry from a year ago also challenges me now, as it's hard not to be the "benefactor" here. I don't know what to make of all this yet. But I think I'm being called to some sort of change...



God gives

The second chapter of Ecclesiastes ends with these lines, which I've found intriguing and hopeful:

To the man who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner he gives the work of gathering and heaping, only to give to one who pleases God.

This contrasts the futility of the struggle for survival with the joy of being provided for by God. Thinking of that yesterday, I looked again at these words of Jesus that also focus on receiving what we need as a gift from God:
"Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you..." (Jn 6.27)

"Do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind. For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well.

"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Lk 12.29-32)

Those verses have been sweet to me. And central in my actual experiences of poverty and need over the past several years. But I feel like recently I've gotten away from the gratitude of being provided for and shifted more to being the provider for the needy. You'd think that would feel good, but it doesn't. How to go back?

I've noticed that the poor are often eager to share their experience and tell others where they can also find help. Can I reposition myself from being the provider to being a co-recipient, sharing with others where they can also find help? That's actually closer to the literal truth for me here...


vanity of vanities

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?

We're looking at the first chapters of Ecclesiastes tomorrow during our bible study. And I've been thinking about those verses a lot lately. Because the futility of the struggle for survival can weigh very heavy around here.

It's most obvious on those unfortunate ones that come to our door with absolutely nothing, and have to work so hard just to make a beginning again. So much effort for so little. And the fulfillment of their hopes is such a terribly long way ahead of them, often too far to even imagine.

But also I've experienced the futility of my own efforts here. The impossibility of keeping anything clean or in order; too many other hands to take and use them, too many tired or despairing people that leave things worse than they found them. And for every person that is helped, two more needy ones step into his place. "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, and I feel it.

Yet there is also this reminder from Paul: "the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope" (Rom 8.20).

I believe even in the futility there is purpose. It helps turn our hearts away from dedicating ourselves to, and putting our trust in, these things that do not last. Away from any hope in what our own hands can gather or accomplish. Even if we are doing "charitable" work, these false hopes are very much a temptation. I've felt busy Martha's irritation several times in the past few days. So I am grateful to be shown the futility of my efforts so that I am reminded of the "one thing needful."

If I give away all I have,
and if I deliver my body to be burned,
but have not love,
I gain nothing...

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

Love never ends.


Lord's supper

That's Fritz Eichenberg's Lord's Supper. Our newsletter just came back from the printer with that picture on the front page (and it looks great).

Our supper last night was very good, too. A full table (around homemade pizzas, my Friday specialty) because Vicky and the four boys were home for dinner. And we found out they got an apartment with the help of their church, which is great news. Though that may mean that was our last evening with them. There was a shaving cream incident, one minor buttocks injury (a failed cartwheel), and an awkward moment when the seven-year-old asked Heather if she had underwear on. And lots of laughing. All in all, a great success.

And there were a few slices of pizza left over for the couple that we asked to move out (they're still in the process). They said they're going to be able to stay with a friend for a while. And they're still friendly with us (Heather even got a hug). It's been difficult and we definitely made mistakes, but I was impressed that there's still good feeling there, even friendship--how often does that happen when there's such trouble that people are asked to leave? So we must have done something right. Thanks, God, for your grace in that situation.

And thank you for being at our table tonight.


"take time to stop and taste the baklava"

Lately I've been so focused on dealing with the stresses and questions of suffering that I've forgotten to mention some joyful moments:

Sharing a pint of Guinness with Heather as we listened to musicians playing traditional Irish music together. There were fiddles and penny whistles, a guitar and a drum, and also some singing. They just sat in a circle and followed each other's lead. And we got to listen (Heather also happily sang along on a couple of the songs she knew).

Enjoying the sweet, flaky baklava that David (a soup kitchen guest that Heather has befriended) brought to us.

And the excellent chicken parmesan and tomato soup that Bob brought from restaurant at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. He also offered to get complimentary tickets for us.

Seeing Heather Clark (a Reba Place friend) at her sister-in-law's farm not far from here. They also had new kittens there, which Heather adored. Then, last night, seeing Cliff Kindy (Erin's dad) here giving a presentation on life in Iraq. These familiar faces have been a comfort; and we're planning to see more at Christmas time back in Evanston.

Sitting, thinking and praying in the little chapel at the Wesley Methodist church, my new quiet getaway now that the weather is cold. There are usually flowers there. And I like to look out the old, leaded windows at the stonework outside.
Our hope is in you, Father, who richly provide all things for us to enjoy.


respecting freedom

The Grand Inquisitor to Jesus:

"The freedom of their faith was dearer to Thee than anything in those days fifteen hundred years ago. Didst Thou not often say then, 'I will make you free'?

"But now Thou hast seen these 'free' men," the old man adds suddenly, with a pensive smile.

It is very painful to watch. To see people making choices that seem sure to lead to dead-ends, to dig them in deeper and leave them more desperate. And now that the cold has arrived, these missteps seem all the more frightening. I try to offer a better answer if I see one, but it is often not accepted. Then there's the tightness in the back of my neck as I watch them turn and set off on their tragic mission.

But what is the alternative? To take over people's lives? To threaten them with eviction if they do not accept our control over their decisions? Some ministries and most social services take that approach, because it does seem more effective, more efficient. But it doesn't respect people's freedom.

And, as the Inquisitor rightly says, Jesus held our freedom dear. He would not compel or buy our obedience, our love. He would rather endure our disobedience, painful as it was to him to watch us destroy ourselves, than force us to obey. God watches our excruciating disobedience every day. And then he continues to provide sun and rain for both the just and the unjust.

Can I bear to do that as well? To try to help with basic needs, to endure the pain of wrong choices, to hope they will learn and become more open to the wiser path, to plead for their voluntary turning. Respecting them as free persons, as Jesus always did.


"...for freedom and the bread of Heaven."

Tonight our discussion will include reflections on Dostoyevsky's "Grand Inquisitor," especially this passage, where the Inquisitor challenges Jesus on how he responded to the devil's first temptation in the desert:

"Judge Thyself who was right--Thou or he who questioned Thee then? Remember the first question; its meaning, in other words, was this: 'Thou wouldst go into the world, and art going with empty hands, with some promise of freedom which men in their simplicity and their natural unruliness cannot even understand, which they fear and dread--for nothing has ever been more insupportable for a man and a human society than freedom. But seest Thou these stones in this parched and barren wilderness? Turn them into bread, and mankind will run after Thee like a flock of sheep, grateful and obedient, though for ever trembling, lest Thou withdraw Thy hand and deny them Thy bread.' But Thou wouldst not deprive man of freedom and didst reject the offer, thinking, what is that freedom worth if obedience is bought with bread? Thou didst reply that man lives not by bread alone...

"Thou didst reject the one infallible banner which was offered Thee to make all men bow down to Thee alone--the banner of earthly bread; and Thou hast rejected it for the sake of freedom and the bread of Heaven."

And isn't this true? Jesus insisted on treating people as children of God, not simply animals to be fed and sheltered. This greatly complicated his mission, and he was ultimately rejected because of it, yet it was his central purpose and he never diverted from it no matter what the cost.

This also makes the work here much more complicated and confusing. It's straightforward enough how to feed and house people. But how to draw them out as children of God?

Often it seems like suffering people have come to see themselves as animals struggling merely to survive, and it's difficult not to take that same view of them. Yet I believe there is more in them, even at their lowest point. Yesterday I remembered one thing that the woman kept repeating in her despairing cries the other night. "...And no one cares. No one cares." That's not the complaint of an animal. It's agony of a person who seeks love, who seeks God.

I hope I demonstrated in a small way that night that someone does care. And I hope I can continue to care, though the suffering seems overwhelming and the needs keep coming. Dorothy Day preached that we should try to see Christ in every needy person. I don't believe in that. But I think it may be possible to see a person in every needy person, and care about those persons, encouraging them to discover themselves as children of God.


they keep coming

One of the passages read at church Sunday was Mk 6.31-34:

Jesus said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.

Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd...

They keep coming. Friday night after we closed the house there were two emergency calls. One woman was stranded at the bus station and the security guard was calling to find her a place for the night. The other call was from a nurse at the hospital who had a woman there who was fleeing domestic abuse but could find no room at the local domestic abuse shelter (it was after midnight by this time).

I managed to let them in and provide a place on our couches. And the next morning Heather helped me sort out their stories and find bus fare to get them on their way. Heather was very good with the woman who was fleeing. She was nervous and needed to be comforted, and Heather invited her into her room and helped her prepare for her journey to a safer place. We felt good again about helping those two women.

But they keep coming. The very next night a woman showed up on the porch late, very drunk and crying. Her boyfriend had spend her money on drugs, money she had been saving to pay a fine that would keep her out of jail. When she got angry, he called the police and had her removed. Since she had no where else to go, they left her on our front porch.

She cried and talked for a long time. About her losses, her life of pain. And God. She said she believed in God, she believed there was a God, and she believed he hated her. She said she now understood how some women turned to prostitution, how others became criminals. Mostly I listened. And gave her some sliced turkey (she was ravenous for meat, since she had been living on noodles for quite a while). She thanked me for being a friend and eventually was able to sleep.

I felt pretty good about that night, though I was exhausted the next day. Heather helped me get some more rest. But the experience of the "great throng" in need makes me feel vulnerable. And the couple that was asked to leave our house is still around, having trouble actually making the move and not very open to my efforts to help.

I'm resisting the tendency to try to take control. I'm trying to rest in God's handling of the world and just do what I can to show love through personal contact and being a helpful servant. But it feels scary. Like many of the moments when I was out on the road and not knowing how things would turn out.

I'm reminded of these lines by Raissa Maritain, who I quoted in a journal entry this summer during my walk (there's also some other good insights in that journal entry, so I put it in our newsletter that's coming out this week):
I have the feeling that what is asked of us is to live in the whirlwind, without keeping back any of our substance, without keeping back anything for ourselves... in fact to let ourselves pitch and toss in the waves of the divine will till the day when it will say: "That's enough."


a crisis

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.

I smiled as I chanted those lines from Psalm 40 this morning. The words fit me well, though perhaps I hadn't been waiting so patiently.

A few days ago the tensions in the house came to a head and some strict actions were taken to get things under control. Like in most situations where we begin to feel vulnerable, a more authoritarian approach was taken, and decisions were made that helped restore order quickly. And I agreed (though I tried to soften the blow to those affected by the decisions). But later I felt we hadn't been as wise or compassionate as we could have been. We were more concerned with feeling secure and solving the problem than with loving the "troublemakers."

That night I had a crisis, a kind of anxiety attack, a feeling of being trapped, of losing my bearings. "The desolate pit." And the next morning I realized that in slipping into the role of master in this house, I had lost my spiritual support. I was not called here to kick people out or force them to do right or decide their fate. I was called here to share the lives of the poor and vulnerable and try to help them. Shaken by the wrongdoing of some of these people, I had slipped into the role of master and gone along with the fears of myself and others, pulling away from the very people I was called to help, putting myself over them.

So that afternoon I went and ate at the soup kitchen with Heather. We enjoyed the lively conversation and there met the woman who had confused us with her long bath a few nights before. But instead of pulling away from her, we listened and helped her get the bus fare she needed. It felt great.

Then yesterday we got involved with another young couple (with some mental health problems) who were stranded without money and without identification. They could find no help. We tried everything, but could neither find them shelter (without ID) nor the large amount of money they needed for the trip home to Minneapolis. But we invited them to dinner and enjoyed their company anyway. And while we ate, a call came in from our church and they came through with the bus fare. The couple jumped up and down with joy. They left that same evening and should be arriving in her home town as I'm writing this.

Heather is also going this morning to help a mother and three kids get to the shelter in Bloomington. We're using the ticket that was not used by the woman who gave us so much trouble last week (she tried to exchange it for cash, but then returned it to us when she couldn't). And Heather said we had enough of our own money left to pay the kids' fare.

It all turned around so quickly and in such a powerful way, it seems like a miracle. My feet feel like they are back on the rock. I feel refined by the fire of this past week; I'm more clearly convicted that I must be a servant here and not a master.


love as fire

A woman who spent the night with us last night confused and worried us all by spending almost three hours taking a bath. There were also many loud splashing sounds that we couldn't figure out. My best guess was that it was some kind of purification ritual for her (she was a rather unusual in other ways as well).

My shower this morning also felt like a purification after the hardships of this week. But water is not the only thing used for purification, as I was reminded as I read Isaiah 1 for our bible study tonight:

I will turn my hand against you
and will smelt away your dross as with lye
and remove all your alloy. (Is 1.25)
Those words made me think of my comments about suffering yesterday. I think we have to be very careful in talking about suffering as punishment and trying to lay blame, which was the fault of Job's friends. But I think it is good to recognize suffering as a purifying fire. Later in Isaiah, the prophet speaks more explicitly:
Behold, I have refined you, but not like silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. (Is 48.10)

In Hebrews also, the writer speaks of God using suffering to purify us, saying "he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Heb 12.10-11) And he even says Jesus himself "learned obedience through what he suffered." (Heb 5.8)

We see this role of suffering also in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son, where he is pressed hard by his circumstances and so turns back to his loving father.

Affliction and suffering as refinement. As purification. Not because God hates us or does not care (or can do nothing about it), but because God loves us and wants to draw us back to himself, to make us better, to perfect us, to make us one with him. That is one of the simplest spiritual truths to say, and one of the hardest to hold on to in the midst of suffering.

But it may be the "good news" that I can actually say to the poor and afflicted.


"such bitter experiences"

God did provide a place for that woman last Thursday, and we were able to get her a ticket to go there. But then that same night there was a very bad incident with another guest involving alcohol and a terrible fight that makes it clear that she needs to find a place that can give her and her husband more help. And the next day we found out the first woman tried to sell her ticket back and had spent the little money we gave her. So she never got to the place that was willing to take her in.

Yesterday I read this from Dorothy Day: "It is an agony to go through such bitter experiences, because we all want to love, we desire with a great longing to love our fellows, and our hearts are often crushed at such rejections." That was exactly how I was feeling.

And I needed to understand. Is this just a tragedy? Why is God letting them sink so low? How can I love them if they will not accept my help or even use the situation to dig themselves deeper in trouble?

Dorothy says, "I can only say the saints would only bow their heads and try not to understand or judge." But I don't find this an acceptable answer. Why not understand? What "saint" would not want to understand what God is doing and so know better how to respond? I don't think Jesus closed his eyes to the sins and faults in others; after all, he was interested in repentence above all and recognizing the need for repentence means recognizing the fault.

In cases like these, it is very clear how our own faults contribute to our own suffering. They are related. I don't think it's a matter of God punishing us, but I do think God presses us hard when we persist in our faults, because he's trying to get us to change. I've experienced this often in my own life. Some people say suffering is evil; suffering just leads to more suffering; we're all fellow victims. But suffering doesn't always lead to more suffering. Sometimes it leads to repentence, to a changed life, depending on our response to it. It's a clear theme in the bible that God "chastises" or corrects us like a parent, warning us with pain when we persist down the wrong path. And God wants us to understand this, so we will stop fighting him (and hurting ourselves).

I know this isn't clear and each person's case is too complex to explain easily. But I think it's important to see the possible good of suffering, and recognize that all of us have things we need corrected and places we need to grow. There are no innocent victims. God is doing hard work in all of our lives.

That doesn't mean we should not help sufferers. Of course we should, even the ones who are hardest to help. When Heather asked what Jesus said about how to respond to people who cheat us, I thought of these words:

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again.

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. ...But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish." (Lk 6.27-35)
But it's important to recognize that Jesus puts our actions in the context of what God is doing with these people. Which may include his heavy hand upon them, pressing them to admit their fault and change.

Jesus' words are the guide for how we should act. But God has also given us some understanding that, while we humans do not have the insight to know the deepest darknesses in hearts and what is necessary to change them, he does, and he is using every means to bring people around. I don't have to take control over someone else's problems, nor do I have to bear the burden of them. God is doing this. I need to give what I have to give (expecting nothing in return) and trust God with their lives as I trust him with my own.



"a harsh and dreadful thing"

After losing patience with a woman this morning and making my frustration with her obvious, I remembered this line (from Dorothy Day's journal) that I read yesterday: "It was cruel to be harsh to anyone so absolutely dependent, as they are, humanly, on my kindness."

I wondered myself if I had been too harsh, and she complained that I was being mean to her. But I don't know. She's been hanging around for almost a week now, saying she doesn't want to stay here, but then showing up later with nowhere else to go. She acts like she has things under control, but her "plans" are just one random idea after another, leading nowhere. I'd like to help. But not help her just continue this pattern, pretending everything will work out. That led her to go home with a known rapist yesterday evening (despite Heather's attempts to warn her). She needs to stop and admit that she needs to make some serious changes, and she needs to be willing to put in the sacrifice and effort herself to make her life better, not just hope someone else will do it for her. Maybe a harsh (or at least very firm) response is what is needed to get a person to face such realities. Can't that be love, too?

As long as it's followed by forgiveness and support. Heather was good about listening to her this morning. And I'm going to try to find another place for her to stay in a nearby town (after some thinking, she seems willing to try it). Please God, make a way.

I guess I don't think it's primarily a question of dependence, as Dorothy said. I've gathered from Jesus' example that he was often harsh to the strong-willed and prideful, while always gentle with the humble and repentant. Often those who are dependent are also humble, and so should be treated kindly and gently. But sometimes there are those in need who will not admit their problems and insist on pressing on, and only want someone to help them keep pursuing their own self-destructive illusion. Then love needs to be more confrontational, I think. Not forceful or coercive, but challenging the wilfulness that is at the heart of the problem.

This situation reminds me of another Dorothy Day line (quoting Dostoyesky):

Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams.


in the hands of God

Because the needs and requests and problems are so many and can come in such unexpected waves, and because we depend on so many other people, emotions can run very high. And then very low. The lull after a crisis can often be harder to bear than the scurrying.

It was good to read these lines by Dorothy Day this morning:

I should know by this time that just because I feel that everything is useless and going to pieces and badly done and futile, it is not really that way at all. Everything is all right. It is in the hands of God. Let us abandon everything to Divine Providence.