Tuesday, May 30, 2017

From my journal, September 2010: Lessons from a babbling brook

Originally written September 12, 2010, around the time of this blog post.
Right now, I'm sitting outside with Michael on the deck of the cabin we rented to celebrate our anniversary. We're in Luray, VA - in the Shenandoah Valley. I hear bugs, we saw woodpeckers and then a raven chased them off. We ate pie for breakfast (who ever would have known that dessert for breakfast would become such a thing for us and celebrations?) Now we're sipping our second cup of coffee and Michael is writing in his Bible and I'm here. All to the soundtrack of a real life babbling brook.

The occasional car drives by.

The simple life out here in the county is such a nice escape from the hustle-and-bustle of our lives in DC. As I listen to the brook, I think about how people pay major money to recreate these nature scenes in their own environments. Like the pond in my mom's back yard, or those little fountains people buy with the rocks and the flowing water. We are so funny. We want to grow and develop, and build all these conveniences, then all of the concrete and escalators and baristas shouting our names stress us out, so we end up spending $179 a night in a one room cabin at Brookside, escaping the man-made utopia for real, authentic peace.

That's man for you, isn't it? We are always thinking. Always working toward something bigger or better. I know I am. Pretty soon, our closets are over-stuffed with clothes and our kitchens have more gadgets than we could ever use. That's my own manifestation of this truth, at least.

THIS. Is. Church., though. Seeing the slow, slim stream of steam off the top of Michael's cup of coffee (well, 1/2 Swiss Miss, 1/2 coffee) seeing the brook flowing. Nothing stops it. When the warmth of that coffee hits this cool, crisp, fall mountain air, it creates steam. It has to, to escape. When the flowing water, running slightly down hill comes up on a rock in the middle of the brook, it flows over it, or around it, or back into itself. Whatever is necessary. It has to keep going. Momentum is taking it somewhere else.

As I ponder these challenges that we've faced in our first year of marriage, I'm thankful to have a clear head and these examples of triumph right before my eyes. What would happen if the warmth of the coffee didn't escape, if it weren't able to blow off steam? The coffee would probably end up weak and gross. And the term, "babbling brook," that is so much fun to say, wouldn't exist.

The babbling part is the triumph. And you know what? That stream running behind Brookside Cabins wouldn't be nearly as beautiful if it weren't for all those rocks in the water and running haphazardly around the edges. There's no rhyme or reason for where the rocks are placed. Some are big, some are small. There are places where there are lots of little rocks - one right after another. In some places, there is more space between the rocks where the water is more calm. Surely, the water can't see what's ahead, if it's a slope - where things pick up speed - if there's a giant rock that no matter what, the water is just going to splash up against it, there's no way to know what's ahead. But the water just keeps. on. going. It must. It has somewhere to go. It is compelled to keep running.

Oh how I relate to this! Funny though, how I do not see any water down there throwing a fit because it is cold, or wet, or not comfortable. I supposed that would be quite a scene, huh?

Thankfully, for the purpose of this illustration and just in general - water is quite obedient. I suppose that's why people say, "go with the flow."

As I gaze at this babbling brook, I'm inspired by it. I suppose since I don't see a section of water complaining and pouting and feeling sorry for itself, I must relate to a section where the water is just barely squeezing by. And in some places, it's kind of just sitting there. Some of it's been there a while, too - because there is moss growing on the rocks.

Oh, how I have been in that place! Where it's dark and cold and it feels so stuck. And slimy! I hate to say it's been a tough year, I hate even more to write it because then I have to actually see the words on the page. But that's the truth. It has been a tough year, but as I said to Michael this morning as I lay my head on his chest in the morning sunlight shining down through the skylight - "It's been a tough year, but we've had one heck of an anniversary!" Seriously. The Nats game, this trip. What an awesome way to celebrate all that God has brought us through TOGETHER this past year. I'm looking forward to many, many more. With much less "moss."

Gotta just keep moving. Go with the flow, because I've got somewhere to go. And remember, these rocks are what make us beautiful, and special and authentic!


Unknown said...

I needed to read that today! God's timing is perfect!

Dana Brown Ritter said...

I'm so glad to hear that! Amen!

bettyC said...

I've just read this again. And again, it touched me.
One of the things that I miss since my husband escaped ALS, is going on vacation r just a ride to an out of the way place.
At the end, he could still talk but couldn't move much of his body.
But....he was my strength, my support... it's been 3 1/2 years 😔

Allan Hawkins said...

Every year there is a time when one has to face some sort of sadness but people should try to have a positive attitude towards this.