“Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days…He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap…In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” (Ecclesiastes 11:1-6)
Robin was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She was a nurse’s aide and declared, “I loved it!” She was 40 years old when she enrolled in our outpatient hospice services with end-stage lung cancer. Robin had moved in with her elderly parents, anticipating eventually needing their support.
Robin was petite, about four feet ten inches tall and weighed about ninety pounds. Her father, Ed, referred to her as their “little girl”. She was vital, full of energy. She talked ninety miles a minute, and when she did, her father would fondly gaze upon her, smile and nod his head.
Robin sure didn’t look old enough to have a 25-year-old daughter, but she did. Robin was divorced and seldom talked with her daughter who lived in Columbus, only about ninety miles away. And she hadn’t seen her for over three years. She explained that her daughter resented her for not attending her wedding.
Robin admitted, “I should have been there for her, but I was afraid of seeing her father.” Robin had imagined all that could have gone wrong and stayed home. In the words of wise King Solomon, Robin “observed the wind” and “regarded the clouds”. (Ecclesiastes 11:1-6)
Robin shared that her daughter was expecting her first child soon and that she’d received an invitation to the baby shower. But since Robin’s ex-husband and his family would likely be there, Robin questioned whether she should attend.
Robin started “observing the wind” and “regarding the clouds” again. “What if they all ignore me?” “What if he starts something?” I was concerned that Robin would again allow the “What ifs” to rob her of another opportunity and a chance to possibly restore her relationship with her daughter.
The following week, on my way for another visit with Robin, I pulled to the side of the road and prayed, “Lord, What does Robin need to hear? Give me wisdom. Guide our conversation today? Immediately Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 came to mind and I was persuaded that the verse was for Robin. So Robin and I read it together.
We talked about how seaport merchants in Bible times used the expression, “Cast your bread upon the water” to refer to taking a risk; to loading their goods upon a ship and setting sail to see what would happen. We talked about how we have to take risks in order to grow; how we’ll never move forward if we wait for the “perfect time”.
We talked about how we really “don’t know” how things will turn out; about how we sometimes needlessly expend time and emotional energy worrying about things that may never happen.
Then Robin exclaimed, “I’m going!” She decided to “cast her bread upon the waters”.
The following week Robin returned with a report of the “wonderful time” she had with her daughter and her in-laws; “Everyone was so nice to me. My ex-mother-in-law treated me like I was one of her children. And my ex-husband spent most of the time by himself.”
The next time we find ourselves, “observing the wind” and “regarding the clouds”, let’s remember Robin. And let’s not let the fear of what might happen, rob us of what could happen.
“People are like turtles. They don’t move forward until they stick their necks out.” (Author unknown, heard on a Focus on the Family Broadcast)
Loren Hardin is a social worker with SOMC-Hospice and can be reached at 740-357-6091 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can order Loren’s book, “Straight Paths: Insights for living from those who have finished the course”, at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.