Possible Impossibles

My daughter cried from the bathtub (suddenly she hates to be clean) as I finished the last few lines of Madeline L’Engle’s Walking on Water. I patted and shushed, trying to concentrate on words so delightful and satisfying both, these words:

"When Jesus called Peter to come to him across the water, Peter, for one brief, glorious moment, remembered how, and strode with ease across the lake. This is how we are meant to be, and then we forget, and we sink. But if we cry out for help (as Peter did) we will be pulled out of the water, we won’t drown. And if we listen, we will hear; and if we look, we will see."

This morning one of my shepherds reflected on a past marred by feelings of inadequacy. He related another Peter and the water story, a story of Peter in the water. He said he sometimes felt like Peter after the denial and then the resurrection, the Peter who’s so bound to a sense of self-reliance, of doing everything the right way, that he puts on a coat to jump into the water, unwilling to appear before Jesus without it. Peter knows he’s not good enough, but he’s still trying to be.

As beautiful as this moment is—Peter’s jump into the water splashes of devotion and passion—it’s sad. Because not even for a moment does Peter think, looking at the sea, “I’ll walk.”

L’Engle says “The impossible still happens to us”—to us, in us, through us. Never by us or because of us. But the impossible still happens.