Daily Step – Grace is in the emptying and the filling up.


“The Big River is already flowing through me and I am only one small part of it.”

This morning these words of Richard Rohr won’t leave me alone.

As I read them, I can see myself standing in an empty river bed. It’s at the base of a tiny mountain that has a large cross on top of it. The river bed is rocky and uneven and completely void of water. 

I stood in this river bed maybe 5 or so years ago on a trip with our senior class. That year, we had some massive droughts in Texas. They were so bad that rivers and lakes receded. In some places, they temporarily dried up.

I remember standing there in that dry river bed thinking a few thoughts simultaneously.

First, I was surprised to see the water gone as just year before it had been flowing at least shin deep.

Second, I thought “This is kinda nice. With no river here, I can get to the top of the mountain without having to first take off my shoes and wade through the water.” 

But I also thought, “What happens if the water never returns?”

Does faith ever feel to you like that?

Do you ever feel like you are standing in a dry river bed just waiting for the water to return?

What do you do when that happens?

Are you surprised?

Are you relieved? Like maybe it’ll be easier to just forge my own path on dry land for awhile.

Are you wondering if it’ll ever return?

In his meditation, Richard Rohr says that grace both empties and fills. Grace is present both in the moment when you are standing dry with hands empty AND in the water that will eventually come to fill your cupped hands to over flowing.

We don’t need to push the river.

It’s already there.

Instead let us stand hands open ready to receive.

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