Sleeping on the waves
Tom has to spend more than half of his life to find out a key that changes him, a key that has been there right before his eyes for decades. But he did not recognize it.
Before recognizing this key, although he looked ‘strong’ from the outside, he often got ‘sick’ in the inside. For example, his hands trembled when facing difficulty, his feet staggered when dealing with pressure of work, his eyes got ‘itchy’ easily because of jealousy, he had a running nose when people talked about him, his forehead often got hooked by fame and name, his mind got panic according to the changing rhythm of life, his stomach shrank because of worries, he lost his peace whenever things didn’t go his way. On those days, he easily became panic, depressed, rebellious, pessimistic, negative, reactive, etc. Other people around him also got affected by his behaviors.
He felt these heavy symptoms in him, but he did not know how to heal them. Fortunately, he has recently found out the cause of his problems: it was because he did not know how to “sleep”. Consequently, his night was long and his day was tiring.
But how has he discovered it?
One day, while feeling stuck, Tom heard once again a story about the Master. It goes like this: “On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mk 4:35-38)
This story was not new to Tom. He had heard it many times, but never discovered the treasure in the way Jesus dealt with things: Jesus slept ON the waves. In the violent storm, He rested calmly. He turned the stormy sea into a bed for his nap. Now Tom understands one important reality, that is, the greatest storms are not from the outside but from the inside. The outside may look calm but his life will still be troubled if the heart is not at peace. But when the heart is calm, he will be solid even though external things may be chaotic.
Jesus slept firmly and calmly ON the waves. How? When people accused him of being out of mind, Jesus continued living the truth in his heart. When people called him ‘desolate’ or accursed, he continued proclaiming the good news of the Loving Father. When they insulted and humiliated him, he continued staying on the cross to defeat the common temptation to use violence. Even when a killer pierced his heart with a spear, his blood flowed out to touch and heal his blind eye.
Certainly, these storms of Jesus were bigger than Tom’s, and obviously Jesus had more storms than Tom. But Jesus still rested calmly and showed his trust in the Father’s wise providence. Looking at the Master, Tom now understands that the way to deal with storms in life is not to fight against them because human energy is limited, but to relax, let go and trust in order to keep the inner peace firm. Life will continue to flow and with it are different waves and storms. Tom realizes that instead of sleeping ON the waves like the Master, he had slept under the waves. What a foolish thing to do!
Tom concludes: whoever knows how to sleep on the waves is wise and has more peace. Peace is a key to happiness. From now on, his eyes will never leave Jesus.
Joseph Viet, O.Carm.