My son Ben and I recently enjoyed watching (again) a musical romcom movie called Yesterday. If you haven’t seen it, here’s its plot summary: “A struggling musician realizes he is the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate reality where they never existed.”

Imagine. One day, the music of The Beatles and the genius of Lennon & McCartney are part of the fabric of reality as they always have been. The next day, you wake up, and there is no trace or whisper of them having ever existed in the history of the world (Google searches for “The Beatles” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” yield pictures of insects and Dr. Pepper soda), except in your own memory and imagination!

Parallel universes aside, life has its ways of turning on a dime, or throwing you that curveball when you’ve been hitting fastballs all day. Sometimes, these “alternate realities” are relatively benign, or perhaps even welcome, like when you discover you have overpaid your taxes and will be receiving a significantly larger tax refund than you anticipated, allowing more breathing room in your budget. Or when you’ve been expecting a child and then learn you’re carrying twins, which fills you with joy after initial feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.

Other times, the alternate reality you find yourself suddenly navigating can knock you off your feet, perhaps even take your breath away and make you feel like you’re gasping for air. You lose your job out of the blue, without any warning. Your child or your partner becomes very ill. A bridge collapses. You lose your best friend.

What do you do, when the sands beneath your feet, or the frame or lens through which you view the world, suddenly shift?

Our guy Jesus has something to say about this. Something about building your house on a foundation of rock, so that when storms and unkind weather blow their way into your world, things don’t come crashing down.

Our new Diocesan Bishop Carrie offered another image when she visited us this past weekend, that of a tree and the three sections you can see in a cross section of its trunk: its core, where it was a sapling, which she likened to God’s Love, always there at the center. Then, on the outside of the trunk is the layer of cambrium cells, the cells that are flexible and allow for new growth, allowing for change and bending and flexing. Between the core and the cambrium layer is the heartwood: those cells that used to be the outside as cambrium but have now become part of the structural foundation of the tree, helping it to stand secure on the inside even as the outer layer bends.

Bishop Carrie used the metaphor above as one way to understand and view a vibrant community of faith, a unity of both change/adaptability and stability/structure with God’s Love at our core. It could also be used, perhaps, to imagine how each of us as human beings might live and grow, as individuals who comprise such a community.

Back to Yesterday: without giving too much more away, it turns out that the main character is actually not the only one who remembers John, Paul, George & Ringo (there are two other humans who remember them too!). So if you wake up one day and no one around you has ever heard of The Beatles (or another musical genius, that you can’t imagine the world without), keep breathing and know you are not alone. Lean on those around you, who you love and who love you. Take just the next step before you, and then the next, and then the next. Do just what you’re able to muster up the energy to do (even if all you can do in a particular moment is cry, or sigh, or breathe), and surrender the rest to the Mystery and Ultimate Reality that is God.