God of the Ditches (aka: Oh God, It’s Monday Again)

God of the Ditches

(aka: Oh God, It’s Monday Again)


It’s easy experiencing God while watching a beautiful sunset, witnessing the innocence of a newborn child or sharing time with a loved one or friend.

 It’s harder finding God in the midst of our daily ordinary lives—in the marketplace, in the ditches shoveling our workloads. 

 Amidst the hustle and bustle of emails, phone calls, memos, to-do lists and keeping on top of our work, we can soon lose sight of God’s presence.  We can even become angry that we have to work so hard to make ends meet wishing instead we could be enjoying our hobbies or pursuing other passions.

 That’s when finding God in the ordinary becomes a challenge—an invitation.

 Finding purpose in our work can be helpful in finding God in the ordinary.  Asking ourselves in a quiet moment like driving to and from work with the radio off some simple questions may help us connect with our soul’s purpose:

  • Why do we work? 
  • What purpose does it serve?
  • How am I and others benefited by the work I do? 

 The answers to these questions can help:

  • Reaffirm our work and our life purpose; or
  • They can draw us toward something more we’re being called to do, perhaps a fork-in-the-road for our careers; or
  • The answers we hear might be guiding us toward the slow and steady unfolding of a more fulfilling job down the road in the second half of life.

 Listening to soft music in our workplace is another way to keep centered and grounded as the whirlwind of work scatters us in a dozen directions.  Quiet piano music playing from our computers can help soothe our battered souls when that feeling of being overwhelmed crashes down on us by 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning.

 Taking a gratitude break can also restart our day.  Grabbing a cup of coffee or using the restroom and counting 3-5 good things that have already happened today can remind us to take a deep breath recalling how blessed we really are.

 Focusing on one task at a time also keeps us on track.  Studies show multi-tasking is actually counterproductive for efficiency.  So allowing only one job at a time to gain our attention can help us keep peace with ourselves throughout the day.

 The workplace, life in the ditches, can either be a blessing or a burden; on most days it’s a mixed bag of both.  

 But, if God is indeed everywhere and in everything God created, not just in the sunrises and the warm embrace of a loved one, he must be found in the ditches alongside us, slinging hash, answering phone calls, and peeling potatoes.It may take some gentle discipline and learning the art of letting go to find God in the ordinary, but by adopting some simple practices that work for us, which are life-giving through the course of our workday, God somehow reappears again—right there, in the ditches.


How do you find God when you don’t feel God’s presence? 

Where does God find you when you let yourself be found?



—brian plachta 4/2014






1 Comment

  1. Absence is something I can readily relate to in my ministry of spiritual companioning young men recovering from addiction.Unconditional love, nonjudgmental sharing the stories of our lives, and mutual questions about the Presence and absence of God are typical fare. Yet it’s easy to become discouraged and lonely for Presence when the going is dark and hope seems elusive.

    Just this past week I ended a day feeling discouraged as I left a dreary clinic together with my young friend. I know, both from direct experience and from the addiction literature, the statistics for sustained recovery are not pretty! At the end of the day I had allowed myself to be swallowed up by hopelessness. I wondered, where is God when this young man and I so desperately need his grace and strength in our lives?

    The following morning I woke with a strange, unexpected, and seemingly miraculous sense of lightness and freedom. During a time of prayer an image of Simon, the Cyrenean, (Gospel of Matthew 27:32) came to mind. Simon was ordered by Roman soldiers to help the stumbling Jesus carry the heavy load of his cross. In my prayer I identified with Simon, recognizing an invitation to share with Jesus the weight of his cross – life’s chaos, pain, and disorder. Strangely, my self-pity and weariness had disappeared.

    Like Simon, I know what it’s like to be a bystander, curious about this rabbi and his teachings so upsetting to institutional powers. Then, unexpectedly I, like Simon, was called to help carry the cross. As if my entire life had prepared me for this “burden” I was exhilarated by the invitation to walk with Jesus toward Golgotha. Outcomes became insignificant. Under the burden of Jesus’ cross his Spirit reminded me that this long and painful walk was not the whole story. Unlike Simon, I have the benefit of knowing that the downward path leading to a miserable, dreadful ending is followed by resurrection light and restoration. With this, I am given renewed sense of hope and desire to share the Christ’s cross.

    How do I find God when I don’t feel God’s Presence? By recognizing that I am not a victim but, in fact, I have been invited to share with the Great Mystery in co-creation of an unending restorative process. Walking with him, sharing the Jesus-story (cross carrying) then offers me energy for a continuing ministry of friendship and spiritual companioning. It’s my privilege!


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