This weekend, the homily included a story about a woman whose son had fallen into the water off a pier. After he was rescued and returned to her, she complained that his head was missing. The priest went on to discuss how she was missing the point that her son had been returned to her, but I have to say I was pretty sympathetic with the mother. I think the head is a pretty important part of my child, and it shouldn’t be missing. I struggled to understand what he meant until I realized that his accent was thick enough that I heard “head” when he meant “hat.” The hat was missing. Now, that’s an entirely different story. Her son was alive and well, head and all, but he didn’t have his hat.
The point was that we can stand with our arms full of blessing and miss it all because one small part is not there. We can miss the answers to our prayers, because we have an idea of what the answer should be. We should pray and ask for what we desire, but then we should watch for the path that is laid out before us, and for the gifts that are placed in our hands. Even if they’re not what we expect, we can be grateful knowing that they are probably what we need.