Recently I lost something I truly loved.
It was a minuscule loss when compared with the suffering of so many around me and across the world. Embarrassed at how much it upset me, I turned to God in prayer and asked for detachment. The prayer was swiftly answered in a way only God could imagine.
So what did I lose?
I accidentally punctured the lining of our above-ground pool with my foot. I watched in horror as one hundred dollars’ worth of water quickly drained out. There was nothing I could do to stop it. I was grateful, at least, that the water drained away from the house. The expense of replacing the liner coupled with the drought making it implausible to refill the pool meant that it was a total loss.
I loved this pool. I enjoyed gazing at the water each day outside my bedroom window. I even liked cleaning it just so I could be in the water. When I swam my laps or floated on my back appreciating the blue sky, I felt such deep gratitude in my heart that this lovely gift had been given to me by God to enjoy. And for eleven seasons I had enjoyed it immensely.
Now it was gone and I was amazed at how much it upset me. Looking out the window at that stark, empty pool I asked for forgiveness and begged God to detach me from this object. Honestly, was I still so shallow as to grieve over the loss of a pool?
After making that request, an idea occurred to me – why not check out the town beach. Grafton has a lovely beach on Silver Lake, one of our favorite kayaking haunts. I tried it out the next day. I had forgotten how much I enjoy lake swimming – there is something about being one with water in nature. I found that I could swim much longer laps which would be beneficial for my health.
The town makes it so easy to become a season member by purchasing a twenty dollar pass right at the gate. They even allow me to bring my kayak to launch from the beach. To be able to both swim and kayak is a dream come true. There is even a walking trail bringing you to a peninsula where you can survey the entire lake. What more could I ask for?
When I told my husband that we could dismantle the pool, he declared it a “miracle” (he has wanted to get rid of it for years).
Blessings for both of us.
And if I hadn’t asked, I’d be stuck grieving over a lost object.
Does God really pay attention to such minute details in our lives? Wouldn’t that be beneath him? I believe God does care about such things and wants us to bring everything, no matter how small to him in prayer. It is precisely because he is omnipotent that he can care about every minuscule part of our lives. His infinite love makes that possible.
Recall the first miracle of Jesus where he attends to such a small detail – making sure that newly wedded couple has enough wine for their guests.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux, a Doctor of the Church understood this well. In her time, people were fixated on a God of justice and vengeance; they were so afraid of God that they would not dare approach him. She however believed in God as a tender Father who welcomed his child with open arms. Admitting her imperfection and her need for his constant grace, St. Thérèse adopted a simple way of fidelity, infusing every mundane task with love for her heavenly Father. No matter how trivial, no matter how unpleasant, she approached all things, all people, with this love.
St. Thérèse inspired the soon-to-be-canonized Mother Teresa in her work with the poor. No task was too small, no person unimportant. One of Mother’s favorite sayings was, “Do small things with great love.”
So how does my pool story fit into all this? I share it with others. It’s a witness as to how much an all-powerful, omnipotent God cares for me. All because I dared to come before him as a child, and ask.
It’s a small thing but I share it with gratitude and love. And God becomes bigger to me each time I share it.
Published in The Catholic Free Press, August 12, 2016
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p.s. Want to see my new pool? Another little surprise gift from God (in the form of an idea) 🙂
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