Last summer I gave up a lifelong compulsion: knocking on wood. Not to “blame” Mom, but it was she who, not obsessively, knocked on wood, drove around the block to avoid black cats, chanted “bread and butter,” and threw salt over her shoulder. So naturally I, as children do, copied her with wild abandon.
My tennis racket had to be wood. (I still lost plenty of matches….) My college roommate taped a pencil above my bed so I could easily access wood after a nightmare. My husband infuriated me by stating, “Come in,” when he heard me knocking. How dare he interrupt my battle with demons! I even quietly knocked on the wood of my chair in church during prophetic moments in the sermon!
Upon boasting to my sister last summer of my “no-more-knocking” victory, her reply was, “FINALLY!” Little did I know my knocking permeated decades of long distance phone calls.
I asked myself why I did this. The fear and worry behind each “knock” was living rent free in my head. Would it not make sense to replace that anxiety with inner peace? To quiet the mind and know God? I take great comfort in these words from The Book of Common Prayer:
May Christ support us all the day long, till the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in his mercy may he grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest and peace at the last.