I stepped into an enormous puddle on the way to church early Friday morning.
Actually, ‘puddle’ doesn’t quite do it justice; it was more like a small pond, stretching across several contiguous parking slots on the blacktop lot. Which helps to explain why I didn’t see the temporary sea until it was too late: In the pre-dawn light, its outer banks were obscured under nearby cars – and without those edges for reference, it just looked like wet asphalt to me.
A great way to start the day, eh? Socks and shoes soaked…not to mention, my pride having just taken a painful body blow. But it was too late to climb back into bed, so I soldiered on. And by mid-morning, my early epithets had been transformed into a water-logged blessing of sorts.
The blessing came during a workshop I attended at King’s House Retreat Center. The speaker referred to the action of God’s grace in our lives – always present, like the rain showers that have been falling on the St. Louis area pretty much non-stop since Thursday afternoon.
Imagine: Grace, grace – everywhere! Poured out on us, whether we ask for it or not. Steady, persistent, and potentially revitalizing.
But, the speaker said, our receptivity is an important factor in the action of God’s grace. He mentioned the image used by Ignatius of Loyola, in his Spiritual Exercises.
If our hearts are ready…then grace can work in our lives.
[It] touches such soul sweetly, lightly and gently, like a drop of water which enters into a sponge.
Of course, that’s not way it always works. Grace, as powerful and pervasive as it is, can still fail to transform.
If we greet God’s gift of grace ‘with noise and disquiet,’ it might end up forming puddles instead – splashing off of us, instead of soaking in, ‘as when drops of water fall on the stone.’
So maybe it’s worth contemplating the moment, whenever God puts puddles (or ponds) in our paths.
It can serve as a reminder, as we wring the moisture from our socks: ‘Slow down. Be still. Tune out the noise. And take a moment now…to let Me in.”