A while back a six-year-old I know was given a notebook with the words IDEAS printed boldly on the front of it. Straight away she had three ideas.
Her first idea was extremely pragmatic. She wrote, "If you are playing in your room and you need something from another room but your brother is out there screaming, then just wait. It will hurt your ears if you go out of your room."
Her second idea was very wise. She wrote, "If you have a problem, tell your mummy."
And her third idea was philosophical. It went like this, "If you see a puddle, go around it. PS There is always a way around a puddle."
I guess we all know people who seem quick to throw their arms up in despair at the sight of a puddle in the road, metaphorically speaking. Hey, most of us do that ourselves at some time or other – "it’s all too much"; "It’s not fair"; "Why me?"; "Why this week?" All the white goods pack up in one hit; the kids get sick as you head off on holiday; your babysitter bails...
Although of course, sometimes the puddles are much more serious. Someone you love dies; a relationship breaks down; a child gets trapped in addiction. Sometimes we look at what lays in front of us and think, "There is no way I can get around this one."
Now, when it comes to the frustrations and challenges of the everyday life puddles, the ‘white goods’ puddles if you like, then the little girl’s truth holds – "when you see a puddle go around it. PS There is always a way around a puddle." Very often what we need to do when we come across an everyday puddle is to take time to get our head out of the moment and get some perspective back. Sometimes we just need to helicopter up a bit and then the path around the puddle will emerge!
But then I got to thinking about the serious puddles – like the one a lady I know is staring at after the unexpected death of her husband - and I realised we need to add another PS to the list. "PS Sometimes the only way to get around a puddle is to go through it – one messy step at a time."
God knew this from the beginning and I’m sure that’s why he had the poet write, "Even when I walk through the darkest valley, [the deepest puddle] I will not be afraid, for you [God] are close beside me."
I hope you know the comfort of God’s good company when the only way around your puddle is to wade through it.
Lead Pastor - Lesmurdie Baptist Church