Spiritual Spigots & A Shower of Grace

Some of the plants in my backyard were looking a little peaked the other day--the oppressive heat was taking its toll, and they were wilting and drawing inward.  

I'd turned off my sprinklers earlier in the week because we'd had so much rain, but I was thinking I'd have to turn them back on again.  And this pained me because water in Austin, TX costs a pretty penny.  

Then it rained last night---a hard rain, complete with thunder and lightning, very, very frightening... 

When the sun came up this morning, I looked outside at the very same plants that had been hanging their heads the other day, and they were standing tall, looking lush and none the worse for the wear.  

Now ordinarily, I'd be kind of nonplussed by such a thing, but I'd just read an incredible essay by Bob Goff that contained this golden nugget of awesomeness: 
I want to live so much in awe of what is going on around me, there will be no time to live in judgment of the people around me. 

I loved that line so much and mostly because I needed to hear it.  

You see, right about now, I'm having a rough time feeling charitable toward certain groups of peopleThere's no need to go into details about them, let's just say that I've lost any warm and fuzzy feelings about them I might have had (I didn't).  

What?  You don't have some people in mind that you're not inclined to offer the hand of friendship to?  Everybody does.  Just fill in the blank with the name of a person or group that is getting your goat at the moment.  

I bet you could offer up a nice judgemental rant about them at the drop of a hat.  I know I could---for the ones on my mind, that is---and, in fact, I have done just that, to be perfectly honest.  

But then I started thinking about those poor plants that were looking blighted and awful.  I'd deprived them of water for too long, and they were drawing inward, trying to find life where they could.  

In the end, all it took to restore the beauty that was within them all along was enough water, some time, and the warmth of the sun.  But without it, they would have eventually drawn inward completely, shriveled, and become unrecognizable from the plant they once were.  

So now when I think of those people, whom I feel judgemental toward,  I think about those plants...   I think about how a lack of water can turn them small, ugly and so inward-focused they lose themselves.  

And then I think about how much like those plants I am when I stand in judgment of others, and turn away from what's life-giving for me---namely, kindness, mercy, joy, wonder, grace, peace, and love.  

It also occurs to me that the very thing I know to be true about myself is also true for the people I'm struggling to feel charitable toward.  

Perhaps they're in need of the very life-giving things that could restore them and give them peace, and even further... maybe I'm the one who is supposed to share those life-giving things with them.  

I want to live in awe of what God is doing all around me, in me, and through me to bring about the shalom or peace of God in the world.  

I want to live in so much awe of this that I forget to be judgmental of others, and instead become a spiritual spigot, showering the life-giving water of kindness and mercy over them, just as it has been showered over me. 

May it be so for me and for you, and for all who long for peace and unity.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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