Barry L. Johnson was a junior in college when his short story professor put a title on the black board and instructed the students to write a story to fit it. The title was “Sometimes, There’s a Hole in the Ceiling.” The story was a real challenge for Barry – it took numerous drafts and different ideas before he finally came up with a story that he was satisfied with. He wrote about a ghetto family who was surprised by help from an unexpected source. He closed his story with these words, “Sometimes, There’s a hole in the ceiling; it was made for the hand of God.” Every now and then the story would come back to him. As the words trickled into his mind, it made sense of some mystical moment, when the unexplainable happened. There would be an insight, light or wisdom that plopped into his mind. A series of unexpected events solved a problem he’d been agonizing over. Then, the words would come to him again “Sometimes there’s a hole in the ceiling – it was made for the hand of God.” (Sometimes there’s a hole in the ceiling – 1975 by Barry Lee Johnson)
When I first read that story, I thought of moments, more spiritual than physical. Moments of God’s presence where one is touched in such a way, that there is an assurance that God is near . . . when you just know, not only that God is close, but you are being loved in a special way. I think of ideas that have slipped into my mind when I have been perplexed – struggling to find a solution. Then suddenly, the answer simply is there. They are God moments, because there can be no other way to explain a series of coincidences and decisions made which are exactly right at a given moment in time.
But, I think a person has to be ready to recognize those God moments. One has to see outside the spectrum and vision one usually views the world through. How else does a person describe meeting a friend at a place neither of you could have expected to meet the other, but doing so on a day, you really needed a person to talk to? Or the set of coincidences that puts you where it was crucial for you to be? The thoughts that allow you to think differently of a person – so you see with compassion instead of frustration.
Sometimes, comes a moment clarity. There is a Hole in the ceiling, made for the hand of God. A hand that touches us and in that touch we know we are loved by God.