An illusion haunts us, that a long duration, as a year, a decade, a century, is valuable. But an old French sentence says, “God works in moments.” We ask for long life, but ’tis deep life or grand moments that signify. Let the measure of Time be spiritual, not mechanical. Life is unnecessarily long. Moments of insight, of fine personal relation, a smile, a glance–what ample borrowers of eternity they are!
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
A long time ago, a city girl princess moved to her own Winnie the Pooh hundred acre wood. This was accessible only by dirt roads that ran through a creek. She, her husband, and five children were the first new family to move into this particular “hollow” since before the civil war. And yes, it did turn out to be more like Green Acres than Winnie the Pooh.
There are many stories of their adventures in the Tennessee wilds. Most are funny or happy, but some are scary, and a few are sad. And then there are some that are all of these. This is one of the those.
In one six month time span several years after moving to the country; the family’s finances became severely reduced, there was a serious crisis affecting the future of one of their teen-age children, and the queen mother, who was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, came to live with them. The princess was seriously considering buying one of those tacky bumper stickers that said, “Shit happens.”
One morning in the middle of this collage of challenges, the Princess was driving out their country road, harassing God, “God, I’m up to my neck in manure here. Where are You in all this?”
At that moment, she happened to glance toward the side of the road. There sat an incredibly humongous fresh cow patty covered with dozens of glorious monarch butterflies.
It was such a typical God answer, that the princess had to stop beside the road, because she was both laughing and crying with joy. What a ridiculous, but perfect symbol. Where there’s manure in our lives, there’s grace. In fact, often the manure is the grace. It’s what God uses to help us become the people we were created to be.
And a few days later, the princess just happened to come across a bumper sticker that read, “Grace Happens.” She bought that one instead.