I took my sweet little daughter to the doctor’s yesterday. Four years old and sitting in the back of the car, she questions me as we’re leaving the doctor’s office: “Did he take all the snot out of my nose?” In my attempt to get her to the doctor’s, I’d reassured her that going to the doctor would make her feel better. But as we left, it seemed to her that she didn’t feel any better than before we had gone. As an adult, I know that going to see the doctor usually means getting a prescription, filling that prescription, taking the medicine, and then finally feeling better, but in her limited mind she didn’t see the correlation between physically seeing the doctor but not physically feeling any better the very next moment.
I thought about this moment as I was in prayer this morning. Last week I was unfaithful to my daily prayer time, choosing other activities or things to do besides going to the Divine Physician. Trust me, I was in need of him, but I’m a prideful, willful, stiff-necked woman. I thought that my problem could be solved another way. The problem is that the house isn’t clean. I’ll feel better when I finish cleaning the house. The problem is I have too many things on my plate. I’ll feel better when I get just another one of them done. And the list of problems and solutions kept coming, but none included stopping to go to the true healer, because none of the problems felt spiritual.
As the time approached for me to sit down with Scripture and pray, I wondered and doubted if this time would make any of my problems better. The truth is that it seems ridiculous to have thought this and now to write this. It’s a bold-faced lie to say that prayer couldn’t help with any problem, but while the mind is wise, the heart is slow to learn. Just like my little four-year-old, I’m wondering if sitting with the Divine Physician and listening to his words will instantly make me feel better. In fact, in prayer time I don’t often “feel” anything or any differently. However, I propose that it doesn’t actually work like that. Sometimes there are instant remedies, but God’s in no hurry; he’s not on a time schedule. And I believe his best work takes a while.
Yesterday, I pressed into my resistance to pray, grabbed my beads, and sent myself outside for my Rosary Walk like an insistent school teacher, “You will not come back until you pray!”
And while that Rosary Walk did not bring me instant fulfillment, as I sat with my children hours later, the graces poured out. I more gently answered their constant questions, I was joyful at silly things, I wasn’t anxious about a house half-cleaned or the list of things still left to do at night. And I felt better. You see, the Divine Physician gave a prescription: pray! And when we fill our souls with that medicine, we’re bound to get better. . . all in his grace-filled time.