My Homemade Mother's Day Gift

Friday, September 30, 2011


I was supposed to be cleaning house on Sunday.  It is my only day off and the only day I really have to get very much done and I vacillate between regretting spending it having fun and regretting spending it on mundane tasks that absolutely must be accomplished. For several weeks, the mundane had been pushed aside until there was no pushing it further—we were running out of underwear and it was becoming difficult to find a bare spot on the table in which to set one more thing out of place. 

The table was strewn with unopened mail, contents of my husband's briefcase, books he had been studying and books my mother had given me as she was streamlining her overabundance of impulse purchases.  I had completely forgotten they were there and flipped through them with interest.  The last book I came to had the words, "DON'T PANIC," written in big friendly letters, on the front cover. 

I had no time to peruse the book that morning, but later on that evening, I retrieved the book from the shelf and began to read.  Poor Mr. Dent, it begins, was spending most of his morning lying in the mud in front of a huge yellow bulldozer to prevent the scheduled demolition of his house when his friend Ford Prefect suddenly showed up with the undisclosed intention of saving his life, for unknown to the rest of the world, the Earth, also, had also been scheduled for demolition in twelve minutes. 
Later, in the spaceship on which they had hitched a ride, Ford Prefect shows Mr. Dent a book, sort of an IPod, called, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  Ford, an alien, had been stuck on the Earth for fifteen years because he took an assignment to include some of the lesser known planets into the footnotes of the book, and found himself unable to catch a ride back until the fleet of destroyer spaceships showed up to dematerialize the Earth.. And as a very troubled Mr. Dent examined the book, he noticed on the front cover of the book, written in big friendly letters, were the words, "DON'T PANIC." 

It was those very words that had caught my attention in the first place because given the present state of the world, the present state of my life, the realization that time is moving faster and faster and less and less is being accomplished, I find I am continually fighting down waves of panic, myself so I was quite interested in the contents of a book sporting an annotation larger than the book's title, warning it's readers to remain unruffled. 

The words, "DON'T PANIC," written in big friendly letters, were to remind the carrier of the book, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, that since the book provided qualified advice to successfully navigate through every conceivable situation, they need only consult the book for guidance that would see them through any and all perils which would, therefore, free them from further dread and trepidation. 
I thought about those words on the way to work as I passed a truck driver pulled over by a highway patrolman who was meticulously scrutinizing the driver's paperwork while three other patrol cars waited behind them, should any  of his affairs be discovered out of order.  I thought about it as I drove slightly faster than I thought prudent because I was afraid I would be late to work and again as I looked across the road and passed a well dressed man,  briefcase in tow,  hitchhiking beside his brand new expensive but apparently inoperative car, looking as though he needed a copy of Prefect's book. I considered that most everyone needed a copy of a guide book with the words, "DON'T PANIC," written in big friendly letters to guide them through the oft occurring misadventures of life. 

When it just came to me…I already have the book and it cautions you over and over "DON'T PANIC," written in big friendly letters. 

Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid, not of the terror by night or the arrows that fly by the day, not of evil tidings or sudden fear or desolation or of war or of any man that can kill the body, or of their faces, or prison or words or scorpions or briers or thorns or death or whatever life throws at you because you have got the book and the book, if you read it, if you apply what it says, if you just "DON'T PANIC," then you'll come out on the other side safely.  

And just like Ford Prefect, it will be our job to add to the book, the bits and pieces we have learned along the way and to lay down a reliable, tried and true,  gateway to the unknown so that when they see the words, "DON'T PANIC," written in big friendly letters, they will have something to guide them on in their travels through the Universe. 

Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. …  I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. (Isaiah 51:1,16) 

Just like Ford Prefect, we are hitchhikers through the Galaxy, making the way easier for those that come along behind us,  proving the Book is not only invaluable in making our way through the universe, but proving it works as perfectly as it says it does... so long as we follow the instructions and heed the warning, "DON'T PANIC," written in big friendly letters.