So many thresholds being crossed this summer, I don’t know how or where to begin. I want to tell you all about it all. Knowing I can’t, I’ve been trying to gather and find the big picture in the miraculous, multitudinous details.
Last fall when we arrived here, we played in the river, taking our shoes off and wading into the shallow parts even though it was chilly, we’d wait for the warm part of the day to cool our feet — because the water was cool. And because, that’s what we did with rivers in the midwest, put our feet in.
But more often I put water-proof boots on my kids when we walked down a stream turning over rocks, looking for lizards and always keeping an eye out for snakes. That was its own kind of excitement, and probably all this mama-heart could handle at that time.
However, in the last several weeks we can’t get enough of something we’ve never done before, swimming, rafting, and tubing down a river. Then my son and I steered a small boat down together. For me, this is big. I’ve always had my big brother, my dad, or my husband with me. And Jay did take me down before I ventured on my own — which was great, and easy.
But. When you have a river in your backyard, water temps bearable, Jay’s gone back to work, and six kid’s are looking at you…it was time to take a lead and choose not to be afraid. And that’s the thing that’s thrilling me to my toes as much as the rushing waters themselves, I went afraid…into the river!
At first, I felt silly for feeling like this was such a big deal, but I shared it with someone I respected and that I thought would never have dealt with any fears over such a thing and found out I was wrong. I wasn’t alone. But if I had kept it to myself I never would have known that. There it is again, sharing the exhilaration, means taking the risk.
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” -Joseph Campbell
(1904-1987, Educator, Author and Expert on World Mythology)
Honestly, these are words that seemed so cheesy (to me) at first, but I could not and I still cannot escape their reality. These words have walked beside me for some time now, and I am so grateful for their simple but bold instruction.
They pushed me to learn how to swim three years ago. I had no idea or dream of an idea then that I would be taking my entire body and my children’s bodies, into a river, swimming in it, floating in it, acquainting ourselves with the geography of it—huge threshold. And, oh, for goodness, I love it so incredibly much.
This is all speaking to me on such a profound level. It’s inciting me to see each day new, to welcome small steps trusting they are a bigger part of the whole than I may ever know. These are my steps but now my children will take their own, in new ways.
My oldest and I worked on some math studies this summer. I am now certain that figuring out how to paddle together in unison, high five-ing over our accomplishment, and laughing together along the way has brought more to the table than I ever could have without it.
We’ve entered the river and it has brought deeper wonder into our hearts. Eagles flying overhead by day, bats flying overhead and weaving around by night. Fish tickling at my children’s legs if they stand still long enough. I cannot tell you how amazed I am, amazed we are. These are sweet days.
We play in the river where two branches converge. One, greatly exposed to the direct rays of the sun, flows warm into the second. The second winds through forest and woods beneath a canopy of trees creating a deeply shaded route down the mountain, keeping the water brisk and chilled. At the mouth of both it’s like standing in the flow of two faucets pouring at once, one on cold, the other warm. It feels alive. It feels perfect.
I can hardly make myself get out. And that’s when I realize it the most, I’ve always been here.
The days carry on so beautifully though don’t they? One moment this earth vibrating realization and the next I’ve got a fuller house than usual these past couple of weeks. A special uncle came for a visit and now my big sister and niece and nephew are with us. My home and heart are so full.
Days are simple and look like: meeting a dear neighbor for morning walks and playing in the river with my people. We’re planning a birthday party and soon starting an artist gathering in our home. When did life start getting something like “normal” in my mind again and have I quit holding my breath? I think I have.
My hair is long enough to braid again and though I thought I’d keep it pixie forever because it felt so good, I’m finding instead a me that needed a new chance to grow and she is. I was pruned and then watered by love and goodness and beauty, I can’t help but grow.
When days and time speak their continuity, their sustainability, their truth, to me, I wonder if I would listen? I wonder if I am?
The psalmist prayed, “Teach us to count the days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom”. I remember these words sometimes when I find myself hunting for my sustenance like an animal on all fours.
I could see the summer—this table I am feasting at. I could come to the table, sharing and eating every good fruit, yet I’ve been known to worry about and question crumbs. Beneath the table I have groaned, but it is also there I saw a light slip through a crack. Break of day!
I couldn’t hear the whole of days yet, their language beyond, but earlier this year as my grandma entered into her last days on this earth I heard that sliver of gold as it slipped through the crack and illumined the dust particles I was sharing head space with. Thresholds speak.
I heard the light say, “Come, every willing heart, come”. I’m the fumbling type, quicker to bump my head raising the whole table in my haste when finally the light dawns on my darkened states.
“…we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…we will not fear…” -Psalm 46
I once thought all the surging and quaking in life was counterproductive to making my way to the table. I thought it should be easier, to count my days and make my days count. Now I know it’s simply the way the river flows, I mean, roars, foams, surges and even at times, diminishes so that we will come play in it. Yes. Play. This is the way of Mercy, and oh how Mercy is a valid teacher. Hallelujah.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
-Psalm 46: 4-11
Thresholds tell us what a day means, what a river feels like, what Mercy is here to walk with and whisper to us all, even when we live in the desert.
We’ve always been here.
Here, at the threshold of the house of God. Amen.
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My name is Raynna Myers, I’m an author, photographer, homeschooling mom to six children, and a wife of 19 years, creating to be the life-giver I was created to be, in the image of my Creator. This is where I share as I learn, because we need each other.
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