One of the most exhausting elements of this recent flare-up of my chronic illness is that I am constantly imagining ways that I will improve. It could be diet or rest or a good old fashioned miracle, so I wear myself out with my hopeful visualizations.
Recently, while I was sneaking a few moments of rest in the manner which has become my habit, I was dozing on a decrepit sofa and turned again to my self-centered prayers for healing. For a few minutes I felt better. With my arm over my eyes to block out the light and my back sagging into old cushions I thought this would be a funny place for healing.
Despite my purported spiritual development I still expect the white light, the moment of the earth rumbling underneath me. Yet God keeps surprising me in the funniest places. I switched seats on a train so that a large group could sit together, and the next moment a man sat down next to me who would change my life. I dragged myself home from a retreat in college to find a recruitment flyer for teachers on the door of my dorm room that would lead me into my career.
Surprise! God says. Here I am, where you least expected! And grace floods me and my life is transformed.
This is the hope I need in my life, the hope that grace will sneak attack me. Instead I exhaust myself with dreams of exactly what I want, not quite convinced that God can do better than my anguished imaginings. So I keep trying to remember that grace shows up in funny places.