Lately there has been a wrestling in my soul. As one of my friends says, “You counselor types are always a little conflicted.” I don’t know about the always part of that assessment, but, yes, I have a certain ongoing dissonance of one sort or another. I ask questions of life, of God, of myself. Although I have a certain love and respect for mystery, I continue to seek, to question. I generally don’t take things at face value. I like to know what is under the surface, as that helps me make sense of what is more visible to the naked eye.
So my wrestling heart, mind, soul grabbed a mocha with an extra shot of espresso this morning on the way to work, and then stopped in this place not quite halfway to the office. Along the Winnebago River in Fertile, Iowa. And I just sat there with mocha in hand, camera ready, and the quiet peacefulness of running water, steadily flowing by. And it was great for me to slow down a while, relax my breathing, and think and pray intentionally instead of in the more commonly reactive way.
I didn’t get out of my Jeep today, but just snapped a few photos through open windows. These four shots are reminders to me today of things that seem worth remembering as I face life in this season: flow, roots, gateways, millstones.
When I sit at this place and listen to the sound of water FLOW past me, I am reminded that life is in some way always about movement. It doesn’t really stop or stand still, even when we slow down enough to pay attention to how it moves by us. It is fluid and that fluidity is largely beyond our control.
In the movement of life, it serves us well to be ROOTED. When much around us is moving and changing, it is necessary to have a medium out of which we take most of our nutrients for growth. I think often of Ephesians 3:17- and the encouragement to let our roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.
Although many things are out of our control, there is always choice. There are fences and boundaries, but there is also some kind of GATEWAY. Something that comes next. This is an act of faith most days, more than a response to what is visible, obvious.
And the MILLSTONE. I love and hate the millstone. I resist what its function is in my life, and yet I know that I need those things that are millstones to me. Those things that sharpen my dulled edges. Those things that break through my protective shell and expose the substance of who I am and what I have to offer.
If I am disciplined and find or take the time in the coming days/weeks, I hope to spend more time thinking and writing about these themes: flow, roots, gateways, and the millstone. I would value your thoughts as well, if you’d like to respond…