rain puddles: day two.

February 19, 2010

in the book of exodus God spoke to moses through a burning bush.

in my life God spoke to me through a rain puddle.

moses and i have only a few things in common: 1) he was a human, i’m a human; 2) he felt inadequate to speak for God, i feel inadequate to speak for God; and 3) God revealed himself to both of us in odd ways through seemingly ordinary items. i can’t begin to know what moses felt or thought when he first saw that bush burning and heard a voice coming from it. i can imagine he was a bit overwhelmed, perhaps felt a little freaked out, and maybe also felt grateful. the God of the universe making the effort to approach you and speak to you is humbling for anyone, and especially for a seemingly insignificant human being. so i can only imagine moses was a bit caught off guard, and could have had no way of knowing what was to come next.

october of 2007 i drove down the alley behind my house, as i did most mornings on my way to work. as i approached the end of the alley, i noticed directly in front of me a puddle. spending most of my life in western washington i have become quite familiar with puddles and don’t often take note of them. in fact, my interaction with puddles is usually to notice them only enough to walk around them. this puddle at the end of the alley, however, grabbed my attention – it was shaped like the continent of africa. i drove around the block and back down the alley a second time to make sure i had really seen it correctly – yep, it was definitely the shape of africa. i continued on to work. for the next couple of rainy weeks i saw that puddle every day. and each time i passed over it i knew [and i know this is about to sound cheesy] that God was sitting in that puddle with something to say to me.

it sounds dramatic. it sounds over-the-top. it sounds ridiculous. but eventually, in combination with other happenings, i realized that africa-shaped puddle [or God in it] was saying, “go.” so i went.

eight months later i flew to africa, tanzania to be specific. i stayed for two months, and those eight weeks changed me. the following summer i went back again, this time for longer. and those months changed me again. africa – the [short] time i have spent there, the figurative family i have found there, and the things i have witnessed there – changed me. much of that change happened deep inside of me and manifests itself intangibly. but as i step forward, changed, i am noticing that those unseen, intangible changes are manifesting themselves in the choices i’m making, the direction i’m taking, and the words i’m speaking. and i’m walking into the next part of my own story different.

that puddle remains in the alley behind my house. of course it’s not there every day, in fact this winter it’s not been out much at all, but after a long night of rain i can be sure that puddle – shaped like the change that’s happened within me – will be waiting for me at the end of the alley. and each time i see it, each time i drive over it, i am reminded that God speaks into our lives. sometimes through the most mundane items [like a puddle in the pacific northwest]. i am reminded that God speaks, and he leads, and he transforms.

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