By Teresa Tomeo
At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” ~Matthew 14:27
“Calgon take me away.” If you are not old enough to remember those words from an old TV spot promoting bath products, do yourself a favor and Google them. The search is sure to lead you to the 1970’s commercial that I guarantee you’ll find remarkably timely. It focuses on a woman who, well basically just can’t take it anymore. As she is desperately trying to get at least a few minutes of quality time alone, you see all of the activities of hectic everyday life swirling around her including, the children, work, the dog, the messy house, and then some. The sounds and sights are putting her senses on overload and she suddenly blurts out those words. In the next scene, we see her in the bathtub. She is suddenly peaceful and serene as the world and all of its troubles melts away all on a count of Calgon.
How many times, given the times we’ve had including the global pandemic, the fallout from that pandemic which continues to be felt on so many different levels, and all sorts of civil unrest causing us to feel overwhelmed and anxious, have we all wanted to make the world go away compliments of Calgon, Bath and Body Works, Dove any other bath product of choice? Not that a nice soak in the tub does not do our body and mind good. It does. Eventually, though we must leave the bubbles behind and get back to the business of living.
I have felt a lot like that woman in the commercial lately. As a matter of fact, one afternoon in the middle of, what I’ve come to refer to as our 2020 summer of discontent, I was waiting to see my spiritual director and went into the parish center in a foul mood. I had just about had it, to the point of wondering if God still wanted me to work in Catholic radio any longer?
With all the angst, anger, confusion, and sadness being expressed by so many people including my radio audience, I just felt it was getting increasingly difficult to be heard among all the noise. Perhaps my near 40 year run in the media world was ending?
“Lord if that’s what you want, so be it. You’re will. Not mine.”
Now in full disclosure, that prayer wasn’t exactly coming from a place of holiness. Hardly. Rather, it had much more to do with my Italian temper and a lot of pent up frustration. All of us, have those days when we’re ready to say “ciao” or “whatever.”
I happened to be talking, well more like, whining to God the same time I was going through a pile of mail for my husband, a deacon at our parish. He asked if I could pick up and sort through the items in his box while waiting for my appointment. As I was doing so, suddenly, a prayer card drops out of the envelope. At first, I thought it was a funeral card. To my surprise, it was the ordination prayer card from our associate pastor. While Fr. Andrew was new to our parish, he was ordained in 2016. I am not sure how or why the prayer card ended up in Deacon Dom’s mail. But when I looked at the quote and the image accompanying it, I realized it was meant for me to see right when I needed it most. It was Jesus calming the storm on the sea of Galilee. And the quote was from St. Padre Pio:
“Stay in the boat in which the Lord has placed you. You will not perish. It appears to you that Jesus is sleeping but His heart diligently watches over you. At the right time, He will awake to restore your calm.”
I had my answer. I think I knew it all along. Do not give up. Continue to do what the Lord has called you to do. Try to get that welcoming break or a warm bath, whatever you need to step away for a while. But at the end of any given day never forget, when you step out of the tub and back out on the deck, who is at the wheel.
Prayer: Jesus, help me remember that no matter what I’m going through with the stormy seas of life, you’re always in control and will guide me to where I need to be.
About the author:
Teresa Tomeo is a bestselling author, including Conquering Coronavirus: How Faith can Put Your Fears to Rest (*Read our WINE review). She is a syndicated Catholic talk show host and speaker with more than thirty years of experience in print and broadcast media. Her weekday radio program, Catholic Connection, a co-production of Ave Maria Radio and EWTN, the global Catholic radio network, is heard daily on over 500 stations worldwide, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Her TV show, The Catholic View for Women, on EWTN.