It is my daughter’s wedding. Due to the anticipated crowd, the service is being held downtown in a church with which I am unfamiliar. I am fulfilling the dual functions of father of the bride and priest officiating at the service.

The ceremony is scheduled to commence at 2:00 in the afternoon. It is 1:15, the bride, her mother, sister, and I are gathered in a small room in a separate hall behind the main church building. We are relaxed enjoying being together as family on the verge of this momentous event.

Suddenly I remember that one of my responsibilities as father is to set up the video equipment to record the service. No one has thought to bring the equipment. I decide there is just enough time to drive home, collect the equipment, set it up in the church and still start the wedding on time.

As I rush to the car, I realize I have forgotten my vestments for the service. So, I drive in the opposite direction from home to my own church collect my robes, then hurry home for the video equipment. Back at the church, I set up the equipment, unsure I know exactly how to make it work, but staying calm and determined to do the best I can.

A little before the wedding is set to begin, I am back in the little room behind the church with my family. We are chatting and getting ready when I look at my watch and realize it is 2:00. I am still not properly dressed for the ceremony. I throw on my clothes and together we rush out to walk the short distance around the block to the front of the church.

I lead the way. “We can turn here,” I say. My wife says, “No I think we need to go that way,” pointing in the opposite direction. I insist I know the way and the bride follows. My wife and other daughter trail behind. We walk and we walk. I am certain I know how to get to the front of the church, so we press on. We cross a bridge over a large river. Traffic is whizzing by as father and bride trudge on with increasingly grim determination, followed at a growing distance by wife and other daughter. When we get across the river, I become separated from the bride; the others have long ago disappeared.

Now I am standing with one foot on the back of a tricycle. With my other foot I push myself along, zooming down hills and bumping through a completely unfamiliar and increasingly rough industrial area of the large urban centre somewhere near where the church is located. By now I am at least forty minutes late. I have lost the bride. I do not know where my wife and other daughter are.

I realize I have no idea how to get to the church. I cannot retrace my steps. I do not know if we will ever find the bride again. I have forgotten where I parked after collecting the video equipment and remember I left my robes in the car.

As I push my way along on my tricycle, I feel utterly incompetent, foolish, inadequate, and powerless to fix a situation I have largely created myself. I know I have taken on too much. I am carrying too many responsibilities. I have spread myself too thin, and am trapped in a chaotic mess. I have let down my family and failed in my professional function.

There are many versions of this nightmare that have awoken me in a cold sweat in the middle of the night over the past thirty years.

All my fears, anxieties and insecurities collect in one huge out of control bundle of restless, frightened nightmare. I am beyond my depth. I do not know the way forward. There are so many demands I feel inadequate to fulfill.

Eventually the nightmare passes. In the morning I return to business as usual. I appear to juggle my responsibilities competently enough. But, just below the surface, I carry the persistent illusion that I am solely responsible for making the world work and that I am sure I cannot meet the demand.

I have lived most of my life on this knife edge of determination to forge grimly on and get the job done while feeling desperately ill-equipped to manage the tasks at hand.

In reality I know the tasks that feel so vital are not that important. The necessary things will get done. I am not responsible for running the universe. I can accept the inevitable untidiness of life without bearing the burden of needing to control every detail.

The Buddhists tell the story of a man riding a horse through the wilderness. He meets another man who asks, “Where are you going?” The rider replies, “I don’t know.” The first man asks, “How do you know the way?” The rider answers, “The horse knows.”

The destination is not the point. There is a deep inner knowing that will guide us if we pay attention. We are not lost as long as we stay in touch with that voice of truth that speaks at the centre of our being.

God gives provision for the journey. It may feel as if I am trying to cross a barren wilderness riding a tricycle, but I have all I need for the journey. I have not been forsaken. I do not make this trip alone.