Peace in the Puddles
I punch into a spiritual clock every morning and say, “Lord, use me to turn Your light on in this dark world.” Then I get in my car and drive to the place where I punch into a real clock. The moment I step inside those doors I feel the split of my person, the tear in the curtain, the separation of the holy I strive to be and the sinner I become. Toxicity seeps into my skin, patience is tried, anger fused. I struggle to keep my heart afloat, my faith from slipping in the puddles. There are puddles there.
The walls drip with evil making puddles on the marble squares. Unethical, corrupt, Judas-filled puddles. In higher rooms sit appointed rulers, the strapped in tweakers who hate anything just, anything right, anything God. They look through magnifying glasses developing bullying strategies to pluck out the ones who don’t follow their ‘way’.
I watched them, over the years, my co-workers. I watched them with eyes blurred and noses red and heads down. When they thought no one saw them, I did and so did God. And I followed after them swiftly wiping their tears from the marble floor with the tip of my boot as I reached for their hand like a secret friend. It’s ok. It’s gonna be ok. I had work to do. Not the kind of work you get paid for. Not down here anyway. And we’d sit and they’d cry on my shoulder and together we would find the piece of them they lost inside that hell place. And broken things would come together.
It was only a matter of time on that Sunday afternoon before I looked up from monthly goals and over-priced ‘nothingness’ and saw her. Through back-stabbing gossip a look of despair screamed, “Get me out of here!” All I could think of were the words ‘use me’. The words I said a few hours ago. Use me. These are the moments I live for, I thought. The moments I know my life has purpose. When I know God really does hear our prayers. Yes, use me…of course. No! Use Me. HIM.
I grabbed her by the hand and I said, “C’mon.” Grace can do this. I pray for words as we walk around the puddles to the bench where tormented tears sink into the wood. The bench where faith works. The bench where hands are squeezed tight and God happens.
“I want to walk out”, she said.
“It is not the time.”
“I can’t take it anymore, the evil.”
“I know, but you have to be strong. You have to stand. The battle is within you. You choose.”
“I have no peace in me.”
“You have to keep your focus on God. He is your peace. You can’t do this alone, not in there.”
“I am Catholic and I pray to God and I can’t take this.”
“Have you ever asked Jesus to come into your heart and live inside of you so He can save you from all of this?”
“Do you want to?”
“Have you ever asked God to forgive you of your sins?”
“Do you want to?”
And so right there, as passers-by pressed their noses against our grace bubble, we bowed our heads and ‘hallowed art Thou’ and we let heaven open in us and we rose above and our perspective changed. And one more name was carved into the bench, into the cross. And we found peace in the puddles.