I don’t know exactly why I did it, I just did. I was laying on the floor listeningzto my daughter read me a story about a pig that talked and had magical farm land adventures. The talking pigs adventures helped me to conjure up images found lost long ago in my youth.
The page turned and I was shown a picture of a pink pig wearing a straw hat. “See Daddy isn’t that funny?” my daughter said.
“Yes dear,” I said. “That is a very funny looking pig.”
I laid my head flat on the carpet and peered under the couch. It was dark black and part of me still believed that monsters lived under there. “Hey Dan,” a voice from my childhood echoed in my head. “I dare you to put your arm under the couch.”
“You live in Minnesota.” the voice shot back. “There are no snakes under the couch that’s the one and only benefit of living in a region that gets as cold as Minnesota.”
“Yeah but, I know there are snakes, rats and monsters under the couch. NO WAY I’m sticking my arm under there.”
“Trust me it’ll be okay,” the voice said.
“I can’t right now, I’m listening to a story.”
My daughter’s voice becoming louder in my ears, drowning out the sound of the voice in my head. “The end.” She said. “Wasn’t that a great story? Can I have a popsicle?”
I nodded my head yes and returned my attention to the dark scary space under the couch. A space so filled with snakes and monster that only a person lacking sense and sensibilities would dare to stick their hand under there, let alone their entire arm.
“Trust me, stick your arm under the couch,” the voice said. “You have nothing to fear.”
“Will it make you shut up?” I asked.
I slowly moved my arm towards the vast darkness that lay before me. My finger tips soon disappeared into the inky blackness. I paused as I was convinced I felt the scales of a snake brush up against my finger tips. Turns out it was only a misplaced hair brush. I pushed my hand further into the vast darkness. Each inch that was swallowed up caused me to shiver and pause. “I just know I’m going to lose my arm to a monster and get rabies from the rats and when I pull my rabies infested half arm out it’ll be full of snakes.” I thought to myself.
Inch my breathtaking inch my arm moved towards the back of the couch. Soon my entire arm was under the couch.
Turns out there were no snakes, no monsters, no rats. My arm, it turned out was okay and the voice in my head was right, I should have trusted.
As Pope Benedict XVI enters retirement I think there are many Catholics out there who are afraid of what is to come. Is this the end of the world as we know it? Is this the start of the end times? Has God abandoned His church?
I’ve heard or read many of these things over the past few weeks and at the end of the day they are nothing more than the snakes, rats, and monsters under my couch. Barriers we place between ourselves and what God has intended His church.
As we watch Benedict XVI enter into retirement we need to focus not on the snakes, rats and monster telling us to be afraid, but we need to listen to the Voice in our heads that says “Trust me, It’ll all be okay.” We need to remember that God is in control and it will all be okay. We needn’t fear what lies ahead because what lies ahead is God’s plan and that after all is what we need to trust in.