Let Nothing Disturb You

Porter’s Weekly Reflection 9-13-17

What a strange week.  Our daughter Marie lives in Venice, Florida—on the Gulf just below Sarasota.  She stayed in place during Irma.  She and her friends did all the right things for staying—boarded the windows, had plenty of water and a generator and food and flashlights.

But there were those hours when we had no idea what was happening. All we had was the Weather Channel and they made this seem as if it was worse that the Great Plague of London in 1665. The more we watched the more anxious we became. I kept thinking “If only….” If only she had driven home. If only the storm had veered into the ocean.  If only there was some insurance policy against pain and hurricanes and unwelcomed surprises.”

Coincidentally I have been teaching St. Teresa this week at Wake Forest Divinity School.  I handed out a short poem of Teresa not really thinking of Marie until I read it aloud: 

Let nothing trouble you.

Let nothing scare you.

All is fleeting.

God alone is unchanging.


Everything obtains.

Who possesses God

Nothing wants.

God alone suffices.

I confess in the moment it didn’t help because I was troubled and I was scared.  What it did, however, was mark the gap between where I am and where I’d like to be.  In AA we talk about serenity and seeking to know what we can change and what we can’t, but when your daughter is in a hurricane, you want to change everything. 

So now that the sun is out in Florida, I am mindful of the gap.  I am trying not to be overly self-critical but instead to realize that I can manage my intentions and most of the time my actions but I am asking/praying for God to deepen my serenity—my trust in the divine love and providence.

It’s so much easier in the classroom to talk about the journey of the soul than it is to walk that journey in real life—with hurricanes and our own internal storms.  But the hope is in continuing the walk.