All of my life I have felt the need to be prepared. In school, just in case I would be called upon; as a management consultant, to speak intelligently to my clients; as an attorney, to win my cases no matter what the opposition tossed our way; and as a rabbi, to give coherent sermons and answer congregant questions with wisdom.
I was always okay with saying, "I don't know, but I'll find out." But there was still the need I felt to be prepared for any situation that cropped up.
I know I am not alone. I have a friend in his 90's who always carries a rope in his trunk (I know, I know - he shouldn't even be driving) and when I asked him why, he answered me like I was missing the obvious, "Because if I am ever driving down the street and I pass a body of water, and I see a person drowning, I can stop and toss them a rope." Yepper -- prepared.
I think of this need to be prepared every time my pager goes off now that I am a trauma chaplain. My gut clenches and I have this brief moment of panic: am I prepared? And then I remind myself that with this job, there is nothing I could possibly do to be prepared. I will encounter whatever is placed before me and trust that I have earned and learned enough wisdom in life to be able to respond to it appropriately and with sage words of comfort and solace.
There are times when I open my mouth to speak to a family and I am in awe of the words that I say. When I am alone afterward, I thank God for speaking through me to them, for allowing me to be the vehicle and vessel of the salve that will sooth and comfort them. So many times, too numerous to count, I hear words coming from my mouth that I know without a doubt, are divinely inspired, wise words I have never pondered before will spring forth to comfort someone in need.
How blessed I am that at this stage of my life, my only preparation is to show up and be open. Of course, that may have always been the case for me and I just didn't know it or trust it. And it is probably the case for you.
Our lesson -- whatever stage or age we are, trust in the divine to support us, guide us, and help us be a tool for goodness and Godness. Let us show up and be open, and stand in awe at what flows when we do.