Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke…
My sister told me this story a few days ago – she got through Oprah – I looked it up online and found a number of different versions – from Buddhist to Catholic to Jewish. This the version I liked best.
Two monks were strolling by a stream on their way home to the monastery. They were startled by the sound of a young woman in a bridal gown, sitting by the stream, crying softly. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she gazed across the water. She needed to cross to get to her wedding, but she was fearful that doing so might ruin her beautiful handmade gown.
In this particular sect, monks were prohibited from touching women. But one monk was filled with compassion for the bride. Ignoring the sanction, he hoisted the woman on his shoulders and carried her across the stream–assisting her journey and saving her gown. She smiled and bowed with gratitude as he noisily splashed his way back across the stream to rejoin his companion.
The second monk was livid. “How could you do that?” he scolded. “You know we are forbidden even to touch a woman, much less pick one up and carry her around!”
The offending monk listened in silence to a stern lecture that lasted all the way back to the monastery. His mind wandered as he felt the warm sunshine and listened to the singing birds. After returning to the monastery, he fell asleep for a few hours. He was jostled and awakened in the middle of the night by his fellow monk. “How could you carry that woman?” his agitated friend cried out. “Someone else could have helped her across the stream. You were a bad monk!”
“What woman?” the tired monk inquired groggily.
“Don’t you even remember? That woman you carried across the stream,” his colleague snapped.
“Oh, her,” laughed the sleepy monk. “I only carried her across the stream. You carried her all the way back to the monastery.”
Hmmm…what am I still carrying around?
So, I am finally committed to what God has been asking me to do for a couple of years now.
It’s taken time for me to agree—
I’ve been stubborn—
‘I can do this thing on my own, God’, is what I’ve told Him—
‘You can?’ says He—
‘Yes, I can’ says I, ‘if You are sure to help me while I struggle with my own plans’—
And because I didn’t do as He wanted, but what I wanted—
I continued down an inevitable spiral path, circling the drain as it were—
Though I refused to do what I knew God wanted me to do—
Though I created the mess I am now in with my desperate and foolish desire to go it alone—
Though I sought after other gods before the One True God—
I turned around and there You are, Lord
You never left me
You never gave up on me
You never stopped looking after me
You never stopped loving me
I am a foolish human, O Lord—
I’ve made mistakes I’ll be paying for (literally) years to come—
But you are Perfect Love in every way
As I give up and give in—
Strengthen me through Your love—
And I will face this new life
With You and in You and in confidence of You—
And I said to the Lord,
Lord, You have been our dwelling place for all of our lives –
Before the mountains pushed their way out of the earth
Or the oceans were carved into the ground and were filled with Your tears
From forever to forever—
You are God –
And I, who dwell in the heart of You
I will also abide under Your Shadow, the Almighty God
And I will say of You,
“You are my refuge in times of grief
And my fortress in times of trouble and sorrow.
You are my God, in You I will trust.”
And the Lord God responded to me,
Because she has set her love upon Me, I will deliver her.
I will bring her up to the high places because she is known to Me.
She will call upon Me and I will answer her.
I will be with her in times of trouble.
I will deliver her and comfort her in her sorrow
With abiding love, will I heal her and show her My salvation.
Excerpts from Psalm 91, an interpretation after the NKJV, in tribute and memory of a friend’s sudden loss of a loved one