United Church of Christ

Missing Out

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. - Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

In the movie 13 going on 30, a girl has a terrible 13th birthday party, ditches her best friend, and cries herself to sleep wishing she could just skip tomorrow and jump to being 30 years old. Just like in a good fairy tale, her wish is granted and she wakes up being 30.

It's not unlike the story of Rip Van Winkle. A 20-year-rest is granted, which we think must be peaceful, but Rip wakes up bereft, alone, with a long beard, missing his wife and his dog, and only attended by his walking stick. Like Rip, the now-30-year-old heroine, Jenna, wakes up disoriented. She even raises her hand to ask to use the bathroom during a business meeting.

The same thing happened to our hero in the Christmas favorite, It's a Wonderful Life. The angel Clarence grants the gift of timelessness, and again, the results are somewhat disappointing.  No matter how bad things are now, missing their natural progression can be even worse.

Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann argues that the psalms favor the pattern of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation. It would appear that we need all three to be fully alive.

Prayer

God, grant us the gift of one step after the other and help us resist FOMO—the fear of missing out—all the time.

ddauthordonnaschaper.jpgAbout the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Frances: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.

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