The puddle has gone.
I walked across the road to check. There used to be a rut cut into the verge by cattle lorries swinging wide to turn into the farm lane. Their weight cut it deep and packed it hard. When the rain came it lay there, maybe six inches deep.
It was a puddle sufficiently deep to command the interest of small boys. I remember standing there one Sunday evening, feeling sick in the pit of my stomach. The school summer holidays, that had promised to last forever, were over; how could six weeks pass so quickly? Nothing could pull me from the slough of despond in which I stood, facing the bleakness of another year of primary education.
For years that puddle had the power to evoke feelings of fear. No matter how old I was, I could be pulled back to the thoughts of a lonely nine year old standing in the mud at a country roadside.
There was a lecturer at theological college who talked about the world as sacramental – there were things and experiences that we encountered in the course of everyday that were signs, symbols and sacraments of the presence of God in his world.
Perhaps the world was sacramental, but there were plenty of other symbols that were not so reassuring and perhaps knowing God’s presence was as much about being able to cope with the things that frightened as it was in contemplating the things that inspired.
Like a nine year old, who ate first the bits he didn’t like of the school dinner, in order that he could save the best bits to last, I need a God who can help me firstly cope with the puddles, then I can enjoy all the good stuff.