A Little Surprise, A Little Smile

A Little Surprise, A Little Smile

It’s a sunny day here in late-winter Michigan. The water from yesterday’s rainfall had formed a little lake in the street outside my house. Time to clean out the city storm sewer drain of all the winter debris, most accurately described as “gunk,” which is blocking the water from the drain. It’s one of those little homeowner chores I enjoy because the results are dramatic for such a little bit of work.

Today as I started brushing the collected debris away from the drain I stopped in amazement. There, stuck under a lot of dead, wet leaves, was a perfectly formed white flower. It was dried, so it had obviously been there a long time. It’s the kind of flower that grows on what we always called a “snowball bush.” I’m sure there is a proper botanical term for it, but snowball bush always worked for me when describing these flowers, which bloom during May in Michigan. I know that drain was completely cleaned out in November in preparation for the winter, so how did a May flower arrive in my drain system in March? It’s a little inconsequential mystery that I’m sure I’ll never solve.

I only bring it up because this has been a Lent of surprises for me. I resolved to focus my attention more on Jesus and less on myself, and I have been frequently surprised to see how God acts. I have found grace where I least expected it. Big grace, quiet grace, peaceful grace—grace that overcomes all my thrashing around that so frequently gets in the way. Like that mystery flower, I have been discovering the mystery of God’s care and God’s goodness toward me.

In some ways this has been my simplest Lent ever—no big programs, just a quiet resolve to surrender everything to Jesus. Out of that simple desire a revolution of grace is brewing. Today a simple dried flower bought a smile to my face and a sense of wonder to my heart. I’d love to hear how God has been surprising you this Lent.

Photo credit: Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


About the Author

Louise Paré has spent the last 37 years in Catholic publishing and is currently a director of product development for Servant Books. She works from her home in Michigan, where she is an avid Detroit Tigers fan.
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