Then the LORD will guide you always
and satisfy your thirst in parched places,
will give strength to your bones
And you shall be like a watered garden,
like a flowing spring whose waters never fail. – Isaiah 58:11
Many years ago, I took classes for contemplative spiritual companioning through my diocese. It was an interesting and challenging class. I was already a certified spiritual director, but I thought this class might be good to add to my experience and education.
One of the “exercises” we did towards the end of the 2 year course, was to do an affirmation exercise. Each person was to write down what came to mind about each student. And then our teachers read them aloud.
If I were to sum up the affirmations said about me, what sticks out in my mind over and over is that a couple of people said I was like a “watered garden.” It is a phrase that comes from Isaiah. Two of my classmates had actually written that phrase down, without telling each other. I knew I had to pay attention to that.
I am not sure if I really knew what that meant back then, but I think I do now. To be like a watered garden is to be fed by the graces of God to the point where others see it. To allow oneself to be used by the Lord. To soak up His graces.
So whenever I feel bad about myself, whenever I think I am just not cutting it, I pull out these slips of paper and I read the affirming words again.
I do not know why I kept them. I do not know why I have to keep re-reading them. I just know that I find comfort in them, even after all of these years.
Others saw God working through me and I cannot forget that. If others see it, it must be so. And so I know that I need to be open to God’s graces always. And I need to ask for His graces, too. I need to pray for them.
And give thanks.