Communion at the BP by Paula Gordon Lepp

It was a little thing, really,
this offer to fill my tire.
I was unscrewing the valve cap
and heard a voice behind me.
‘Here, I’ll get that for you”

“Oh that’s ok, I’ve got it,” is what I
normally say to such overtures,
this knee-jerk reaction to refuse.
I am the one who offers to help,
I am the one who serves.

Perhaps it was the eager spirit
in his face or his brown eyes
full of hopeful connection that
caused me to say okay.

I felt the vibration of
his unspoken benediction:
I can’t do much for you,
fellow weary traveler,
but I can do this. Lay
your burden down and
I will carry it for a bit.

And I couldn’t help but wonder
how many times I have denied
someone the blessing of serving
because I have been too stubborn
to accept their gift.

As I was standing there in
the sun drenched gas station
parking lot, the hiss and tick of
the air pump sounded very much
like a psalm. I watched his hands
filling more than just my tire with air,
while goodness and grace
swirled around us.

Communion at the BP

How often do you decline offers of help for the little things in your day? If you’re more comfortable giving than receiving, as I am, you will understand. We are quick to say “Oh that’s ok, I’ve got it.“, that knee-jerk reaction to refuse. And yet this time, Lepp responds to his eager spirit…his brown eyes / full of hopeful connection.

She receives his unspoken benediction – let me do this small thing, fill your tire, this much I can do for you. This leads her to wonder how many times she has denied / someone the blessing of serving. This is truly something to consider, that allowing another to help us, even briefly and in small ways, can be a gift to them, not just to us.

In this mundane gas station parking lot, listening to the hiss and tick of the air pump (can’t you just hear that?), she tells us it sounds to her like a psalm. And as she watches him filling more than just my tire with air, she becomes aware that goodness and grace / swirled around us. And now we are all left filled with something more, that gift of receiving.

11 thoughts on “Communion at the BP by Paula Gordon Lepp

  1. Yes, lovely reflection on a lovely poem. I too so often refuse the offer. I’m capable. I don’t want to inconvenience the other. I don’t think about how that shortcircuits Grace as it moves between us. It made me think too of how we respond when we offer help. So often we act as if our offer is nothing to us. I offer to give a friend a lift to an event, “Oh thats okay” she says “its out of your way”. Usually I say “Not at all”. Truth is, it IS out of my way and I’m offering anyway. What if I did’t minimize the offer by saying “its nothing”? What if i said “Yes, Its a little out of my way and having time with you is worth it”.? What if I gave Grace a chance?

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  2. Oh Wendy, I love your idea of giving Grace a chance, not minimizing our offers of help – It’s a little out of my way and having time with you is worth it! Yes! Yes! thank you xoxo

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  3. I think my refusals often come from a feeling of, “if I let you do this for me, what will I owe you in return”. I’ve been conditioned to this way of thinking, and it’s unfortunate, because I know that many of the offers I now receive are coming from a place of love without cost.

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