To play the children's game, "Kick the Can," a tin can is placed in the middle of a yard, cul de sac or
playing field. Teams hide and the person who is "it", tries to find the others. When someone is found and names the hider, both run to the can. If the person who is "it" gets to the can first, the hider is in jail. If the hider gets there first, he or she kicks the can and finds a new place to hid. The place of the can is re-established and the person who is "it" goes looking for those hiding again.
Several years ago I felt like I played a version of "Kick the Can" when I was preparing to confront my brother, with examples of betrayal from the past. I was the one coming out of hiding, speaking the truth.
The Sunday prior to meeting my brother I took a walk around the neighborhood. On that mid-September afternoon the sun was bright, the cloudless sky deep blue. My favorite red sweater gave me a layer of confidence as I thought about the meeting three days later. Although I prepared for the encounter several weeks, as time approached I felt my anxiety increase.
Setting of on streets familiar to my feet from many years of walking, I noted homes whose owners had changed three or four times. Living in a start-up community makes for rapid turnover.
Reaching the back of winding streets, I noticed a row of oak trees that lined the street almost to the curb. Acorns were scattered on the street so I kicked one. Watching its lopsided roll a few feet in front of me, I kicked it again where it stopped. I began a rhythm of kicking the acorn, watching it move, and kicking it again as my path moved around a bend in the road and back onto the straight way.
With each kick I noticed a stirring in my heart so I kept kicking realizing I was being drawn into God's presence. My walk was transforming into a time of prayer, my heart filling with God's love with every kick.
Reaching home I realized I kicked the acorn almost two miles. What further astonished me was how a simple act brought me to God greatly reducing the anxiety which held me when I started. Lifting the acorn from the ground, I put it in my pocket.
On that September day, kicking the acorn on a two-mile walk created space for communion with Go. I needed God's presence to ground me and strengthen me for the confrontation scheduled later in the week. Carrying the acorn in my pant's pocket the day I entered the room where my brother sat, helped me speak with boldness and courage. My words were not easy to say, but my voice was heard and God was with me.
The acorn rests in one of my desk drawers as a reminder how a simple act, like taking a walk and kicking an acorn - my adult version of kick the can - brought me to God. The acorn also reminds me of God's presence and strength for some of the most difficult things we ever have to do.
Prayer: God you continually amaze me the ways you come to me in simple acts and every day encounters. Your presence fills me generously and with abundance. I am so grateful. Amen.