Confession: I am an information junkie. If there’s something I want to know, I NEED to know it, and I need to know it now!! Now, mind you, this ravenous appetite for enlightenment doesn’t extend to astrophysics, say, or sports. Those fall into the “don’t know, and don’t care” category for me.
I recently installed something called Mailtracker on one of my email accounts. Through the magic of technology, Mailtracker can tell when my “sent” emails are opened, and how many times they are read. I get a daily summary of these missives every evening. While I’d be very curious about any emails I send to YOU, don’t worry—I’m not planning to track my personal emails. I just wanted Mailtracker for my writing life, so I could tell when editors opened and read my queries, pitches and submissions. Before this, I would send an essay, say, to The New Yorker, and then wait. And wait. And wait for a reply. I’d agonize over when to send a follow-up email (too soon? Pushy! Too late? They’ll have forgotten all about it!) Whereas, with my dandy little tool, I can tell exactly when Mr. or Ms. Big Shot Editor opens my message! Yay! Now we’re in business, right?
But what do I do when I know they’ve they read it, but they still don’t respond? That’s a whole other issue. Some publications are very prompt and get right back to me (often with, “thanks, but we’re passing on this piece!” but still, it’s an answer!) Others take weeks, even months. Some assume that you know their silence IS their (negative) response. So Mailtracker has not, in fact, solved my problem. In fact, my “need to know” may have led me to know a little too much for my own good!
I wonder—if there was a Mailtracker for the prayers we send to God, would we feel better? Or worse? If we got a report that, indeed, the Almighty HAD received our prayers at 3:15 PM, but our inbox remained empty for days, even years? Would we conclude that God’s silence was always a negative answer, or would we give the Big Guy the benefit of the doubt, and realize that our prayers would have a response, in God’s time if not in ours? Do we really need to know precisely how prayer works, to believe that it does?
There’s an awful lot I wish I knew that I don’t know, may never know. But maybe some of that I DON’T need to know. There are things I can, and should, just take on faith, faith that we are all in the very capable hands of a loving God.
I probably won’t uninstall Mailtracker just yet (who knows, The New Yorker may finally read my fabulous essay this afternoon!) But I hope I can make my peace with the gaps in my comprehension of life, figure out what I can, and then, rest assured that all will be well in the end.