John Burger writes in his article ‘The Things That Made Mother Teresa Tick’ that one of the sayings of that “saint of the gutters” was: “For God nothing is small; for us they’re small.”
Watering the flowers every evening during the summer months is a job I find very small. It's tough to believe God doesn't agree with me!
Natural Winding Down
But with the right attitude, I can make this half hour of tedium turn into a positive ending to my day.
Father Richard Hauser, a Jesuit priest who wrote In His Spirit: a Guide to Today’s Spirituality writes that he needs to build ‘rhythms into my daily life to put me in touch with the Spirit.’
He makes time in his day ‘for being quiet and alone.’ One way he achieves this is through ‘simple chores that don’t require much intellectual activity.’
Flower watering definitely fits into this category, so I use the time spent holding the hose over them for winding down and becoming more relaxed.
Once my mind is calm and I’ve stopped feeling resentful about having to be out here instead of being able to veg in front of the TV, I’m able to think about my day and see all the occasions when God was present.
For example: one afternoon someone got very angry with me. I apologized to that person even though I didn't think I'd done anything wrong.
But I did feel God rebuking me for my part in the events which led to that person being upset. It was humbling - and hard to deal with! I'd not acted in tune with the Spirit: my impatience had caused this situation.
So I drove to Starbucks to do some writing and take my mind off the painful event.
While I sat there, one of the baristas came over and told me they were having to get rid of four chocolate croissants, and would I like them? She knows I love those things!
She then asked if she could she warm one up for me right now? The other three she put in a bag for later. She had no idea how much she had cheered me up! (A friend told her the next day. :) )
On the way home thankful tears dribbled down my cheeks. God needed me know I’d slipped up, but he wanted to console me by letting me know that He still loves me.
See what I mean? God is always present in our lives if we just look for Him.
The gratitude God engenders in us leads naturally to a resolve not to let Him down in the future. Yet, sadly, we know we will. It's in our make-up.
A local church has posted this on their notice board for all the drivers passing by to see: “Men don’t fail, they just give up trying.”
Instead of being discouraged when we stumble, we should be glad God reminds us that we need Him at all times, and ask Him for the grace to pick ourselves up and try harder next time.
Keeping our eyes focused on Him will aid us in complying with His will throughout the day.
There are always people in our lives who need our prayers. Standing with the hose in my hand I think of all those who are unable to stand there with a hose in their hand.
Perhaps they are wheelchair bound in a nursing home like my mother, or find it too painful to stand up straight, or maybe they live in a tiny apartment and don’t have a beautiful garden of flowers to water.
So in addition to praying for the graces I need to be a better Christian, now is a good time to pray for the well-being of others in my life who aren’t as fortunate as me.
Indulging in these mental activities while taking care of the garden makes productive use of my time. The minutes pass by quickly and often I reach that last plant before I’ve finished talking to God.
In those instance I continue my chat with Him while sitting on the lawn chair in front of the house. I converse with Him as I gaze over the rolling hills opposite, and admire the sun setting in glory over the horizon and listen to the gentle snorts of the horses in the field which add audible peace to the scene.
And I end up being glad I had to perform this mundane, “small” job.