When we go on walks with our kids (ok, maybe I should more truthfully say ‘when we force our kids to go on walks’) we end up having lots of chats that I don’t think we would otherwise have. Walking is brilliant for having really meandering, wondering kinds of conversations.
A conversation on our last walk was about whether we were ‘glass half full’ or ‘glass half empty’ people. I can’t remember exactly how we scored each other, but I know that when we realised that our 13 year old had left his hoodie behind in the motorway services, we never expected to get it back.
He was devastated. For those of you who see him frequently, it was the hoodie that he always wears. A part of him. We weren’t even sure which of the motorway services we had stopped in on our 300 mile drive, but we gave Moto services in Tamworth a ring. Not only did they find it but they posted it to us – free of charge. Isn’t it incredible when people go the extra mile, and especially when you least expect it?
But then, there was the angel postman. We were only about half-way through one of our day’s walk and very tired and hot, slumped with our backpacks on the side of a field along a narrow lane. All of a sudden a post van pulled up and a cheerful man got out and asked how we were doing and where we were going. And then he asked if we had enough water.
We didn’t. We were running low and weren’t sure where we could get more. ‘You can have some of mine,’ he said, and promptly came over and almost completely re-filled my water bottle with his. And then he drove off.
I don’t know about you, but when I am tired and low and least-expecting it, the kindness of a stranger can have an enormous impact. The boost was much, much more than an increase in our water supply.
I recently saw something new in some familiar words from in the Bible. ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts’, God says, ‘neither are your ways, my ways’. That always seemed kind of obvious to me – God’s ways and thoughts of course must be different to human ones. (Isaiah 55)
But then I noticed the sentences that come before, which are all about God’s mercy. It’s God’s mercy that is not like our ways or our thinking. God’s mercy towards the people that we might be tempted to judge or avoid is way beyond our comprehension.
I wonder how often I think of God in a glass-half-empty kind of way instead of seeing the overflowing goodness; not just to me- but to everyone. This chant has been reminding me of the gift:
Let all who wish receive
The water of life freely
Amen, come Lord Jesus
And may we all, Father of Mercy, be implements of your mercy each day.
I can identify with what you say about walking together and the amazing conversations that evolve as the real and metaphorical ground is covered. In my experience, there’s a wonderful depth that seems to happen easily and naturally.
The half full, half empty glass is a great phrase. “Think Pink” was a favourite with a work colleague of mine, when he was trying to encourage our students to climb rocks they thought impossible.
The wonderful outcomes to your stories about the lost hoodie, being tired and low on water are what I call “God incidences”.
We are so fortunate to be loved and blessed by such an amazing, generous Lord.