This morning I had a bit of an epiphany, which is totally appropriate given the season, I suppose. I realized that I normally do not have trouble coming to Jesus to sit at his feet and listen to what he says, as Mary did, I just have trouble staying there. Even when I am worried and upset about many things, as Martha was (and as I am pretty regularly), I know the answer--take it all to Jesus. My problem is that once I take it to Jesus, and find some measure of comfort and presence and peace, I do not stay there. I allow my anxieties to lure me back into the dark country of fear and angst once again. My problem is not in the coming, but in the staying. I guess that's why Jesus went to such great lengths in John 15 to tell us the spiritual value of staying (abiding). Coming is easy, but staying is much more difficult.
"Why do you allow anxiety and fear to constantly beat the hell out of you?" he asks. "You know the answer. You know the way to peace and love. And yet, so often you don't go there, or stay there. Come to me; that is the beginning. That is the easier part. For when you come, I will meet you with my love and affection and care. But don't just come, that is only a small part of the battle. You must also stay. So often you come, but you do not stay with me, even though I am always with you. You turn right around and allow anxiety to lure, or to drag, you back into a dark and fearful land. Come to me, and stay with me, then you will know--and live inside of--my peace. For you will be living in me, even as I live in you.