God spoke to me in the shower this morning, and not for the first time. I hadn’t actually heard from Him for quite awhile, at least not actually speaking directly to me in the shower, so I was surprised when it happened today.
It all started a couple of years ago. When I was working, I always hopped into the shower first thing, and I was often mulling over some hard part of life, primarily the fact that I was working. At least, that’s what I was specifically mulling the first time it happened. Things had been so difficult at work that I was dreading the start of another week. Then God said something to me. The fact that He said anything at all was completely unexpected, never mind the fact that I knew immediately who it was. It was just a brief sentence or two. I can’t quote it exactly, but it had to do with setting down a heavy load that I’d been carrying, and it made perfect sense. It wasn’t something I would have thought of on my own.
Since then, I’ve consciously used the shower as a place to pray, and a place to listen in case God ever wants to say something to me again. Every once in awhile, He does, but He picks the occasions and they don’t come often. Anne Lamott says there are three kinds of prayer: “Thank you thank you thank you,” “Help me help me help me,” and “Wow.” I say them all in pretty much equal measure. God never says “You’re welcome,” or “OK, here’s what I’m gonna do for you,” or “Yeah, that was pretty neat, wasn’t it?” I’ve prayed “help me help me help me” a lot lately, as in “Please give me strength.” The only sound I could hear in response was the water hitting the bottom of the bathtub, and there was no comfort from the tiled walls. But I’m here to say, I’ve been given strength.
God only talks to me, it seems, when I least expect it, and no use trying to pretend that I’m not expecting it, because He’s on to that and won’t say a word. This morning, I was thinking about someone who very recently gave me some unsolicited advice that was so inappropriate and thoughtless it bordered on the bizarre. I felt slapped with a dead fish, disappointed, hurt, and angry. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I was chewing bitterly on it in the shower.
God suddenly said, “It’s hard to love people sometimes.” I knew exactly what He was implying, but I’m not up for loving this person again right now. Actually, I had decided something along the lines of a cold day in Hell. “I have to go,” I told God. “I have a dentist appointment.” He didn’t answer. He’s done for the moment. But I’ve been thinking about it all day long. And I know I haven’t heard the end of it.