Tuesday, December 18, 2012

7 Minutes with Falling Water

This morning I had 7 extra minutes after I finished my run.  The outside track at my gym is incredibly beautiful (a pond with a fountain, trees, picnic tables, etc.), and the rocks and waterfalls beckoned me, so with 7 minutes to spare I took the invitation and climbed the small mountain to sit on one of the boulders and just be.

7 minutes in that quiet - no kids, no people, no laundry, no e-mails, no Christmas even.  I sat mesmerized by the movement for a few moments, and then something struck me and, true to form, the Lord taught me truth.

The water at the very top of the falls seemed perfectly still.  I mean, perfectly still.  I couldn't see it move at all.  Really the only way I knew it was moving was because the waterfall had to be coming from somewhere.  After the water passed from the top pool that seemed so still, so calm, it fell down a number of feet, hitting many rocks along the way, until it churned white foam into another pool.  And then it flowed dutifully through that calm but flowing pool over some more rocks, dropping quickly into the pool below.

The stillness led to chaos, which led to stillness. Sounds familiar.  Hello, my life.

When we visited Virginia a couple of years ago I took Nate by the home where I grew up.  My parents have since moved to a different house, and I had not had the chance say my goodbyes to my home of 24 years.  We pulled up to the curb and stepped out so I could walk the streets where I had drawn so many hopscotches, ridden my big wheels, shoveled the snow, and [memory] and [memory] after [memory] (they do tend to accumulate after 2.5 decades).  As we stood there in the night looking at the lights inside, the cat in the window, the cars in the driveway, I just started to cry.  Sure, I think a part of me was just getting gushy (I'm a hopeless sentimentalist), but I think the biggest part was saying goodbye, not to the house, but to what that house represented for me - that simple phase of my life.  It was now officially over.  My life no longer consisted of roller skates and handstands in the yard, but my sister's cancer, my homesickness from living so far from family, my sleep deprivation from being a new mom.  Life had gone from being so simple, so still, to what felt like a freefall.

We've had some easy times since then.  We've had some crazy times since then.  More easy times.  More chaos.  Never that same stillness I had as a child. 

I thought about these things and how well they were reflected in those waterfalls, and I dwelt on these words:

Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.
               ~ Psalm 42:7-8  

"That's my life!" I thought as I watched the water flow.  Stillness. Madness. Stillness. Madness. And all along the Lord has directed His love to me.  Even when all of the waves and breakers felt like they were sweeping me away, His song has been with me.

After my 7 minutes were up and I walked down the stony path to leave, I watched the water fall over the rocks, and a the very bottom, I saw something breathtakingly beautiful - stillness again.  At the very end of the water's journey, it smoothed out one last time, and so it remained.  

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
             ~Revelation 21:3-4

I'm not sure how many different falls there were, how many different pools, how many fierce rapids, or how many eddies.  What I can tell you is how still the water was at the top, how very busy it was in the middle, and how still it ended.

And so, in 7 minutes this morning, God reminded me of Hope, of Peace, and of my future after this madness is done.