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Barefoot and Preaching

By Leah Perrault

01/25/2017

Leah PerraultGrace enough for today

One of the greatest gifts of living in a cold prairie climate is that it gets cold enough for hoar frost. It is the frozen form of dew, an icy proof of the movement of moisture even on such cold mornings. Breathtakingly beautiful, I would like to keep it all winter long, but there is only ever enough for today.

I resist the idea of enough at almost every level. When I am thinking about the meals and the groceries, I get nervous if there isn’t an extra can or two of tomatoes more than I need for what I have planned. What if I change my mind, and I have an urgent need to make pasta sauce and do not have enough tomatoes? I better get an extra can or two.

A friend calls and there is an opportunity to visit; technically the calendar has space, between two other things. I want to say yes, even when I know there is already too much going on. What if what is already happening is not enough?

When I have a day where everything seems to fall apart in my hands, I get worried that God is not enough, does not know what I need, cannot be trusted. I am not alone in complaining about the same old manna in the desert.

The problem, it turns out, is not with the way the frost melts on the trees in the blinding winter sunlight. Neither the absence of the last can of tomatoes nor delaying a visit next week is life-threatening. My own disappointment, sadness, and fear aren’t the issue either. I have been seduced by the lie that it is possible to secure everything I need. I have been betrayed by the false promise of the lie. My challenge is that I cannot be, make, or provide the grace that sustains me. I can only receive it — and only enough for the present moment.

When traffic is backed up and I left late, I want a guarantee that I will never be stuck in traffic again. What is offered to me is a beautiful sunrise and my favourite song on the radio from the comfort of my warm car. For as long as I am attached to my impatience and hope for a life without inconvenience, I cannot receive the gift in what is — it will never be enough for me.

While someone I love is facing death, I want a miraculous healing and assurance that the kindest people get to live healthily through to old age where they will die peacefully in their sleep after saying goodbye. In reality, I am offered the chance to grieve and cry, to hug those who remain, to refocus on what matters, to offer soup and kindness to the living. I drink the poison of resentment so willingly instead of choosing the cup of reality I do not want.

Low days still find me here and there several years into my recovery from depression. I have a lot of fear of the overwhelming sadness and its crippling purposelessness. But I want a cure. I have been given the gifts of not being alone in struggling, of compassion, of allowing myself and others to be uncomfortable, of asking for and receiving help. And still, I resist the grace that could be enough for me today. A cup of tea, a nap, a phone call to a friend, the chance to do something small for someone else.

I have survived all of the difficult moments and days until now. There has been enough grace, even when it did not feel like it. Why do I question whether or not there will be enough this time? This is the miracle of God’s abundance: all the tiniest drops of water condensing into frost on a branch for just a few hours, and God making a beautiful moment or two out of whatever fumbling offering I can come up with after I give up resisting.

So beautifully little is actually asked of me in each moment of my life — to breathe, to be, to give and to receive. It is enough to live just this moment as well as I can, resisting and letting go, getting scared and showing up. The evidence of God’s movement in and around me often melts as quickly as the frost. If I am not paying attention, I miss it altogether. There is enough grace for today — and for me — right here, whether I can see it or not.

Perrault is a wife and mom, a grateful employee of Emmanuel Care, and a speaker, writer and consultant at www.leahperrault.com