Sometimes the thoughts come so fast, so I walk on and on like maybe if I bring my body up to speed I can catch all the thoughts, and then I stop. Depending on where I am at on the property, I am often surrounded by the sound of the rushing river. Sometimes I’m surrounded by memories. I can see nineteen-year-old-me needing help to walk around the block and how in time, with healing, that turned into running with my Siberian Husky, my friend.
I can see myself practicing Qi Gong (my chosen martial art training) in my bedroom & living room for two years with YouTube videos and how in time, with healing, it turned into barefoot riverside mornings, listening and practicing what I have learned by heart.
“It is a mistake to think that the practice of my art has become easy to me. I assure you, dear friend, no one has given so much care to the study of composition as I. There is scarcely a famous master in music whose works I have not frequently and diligently studied.”
― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
I walk through a forest path with the bright and fresh scent of Spring surrounding me, my arms brushing against dewed blackberry leaves coming to new life after dark winter. I find my place by the river and its falls fill my ears with its rushing but I can still hear the eagles occasional scream overhead, and the pair of ducks who always come ‘round to play. What is this life?
What is this ground beneath my feet? It is gift, now and before when I needed help standing upon it. The loss from then to now…I feel it is unspeakable. The tide has gone out many times, yet here I am standing by the river. Yes, the tide has also come in. The wind has blown in bringing new life and new storms. The circumstances have changed, Hope has remained. Life and its deepest realities have remained. I am so thankful!
“Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields…Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.”
― Mary Oliver
That is not a flimsy thing at all. This is something I can practice. I can practice knowing it, holding it, carrying it within me like I do this river when I walk away from it. On one hand, it has become a part of me, and on the other…coming here and learning the river has awakened me to knowing it was always a part of me, and me of it.
All the while, I can barely comprehend that this is where I come to turn my face toward the east every morning even after doing so for over two years. I still remember suburbia clearly, I remember the first morning I woke knowing I needed to go outside to the backyard without shoes and know that I would heal as I grounded myself into the earth and the real presence of my Creator.
At that time we had a small slice of public land behind our home, a “slice of wilds” we began to call it. I was so utterly thankful for it as it meant I wouldn’t have to drive us to some wilderness place a few times a week as had been our practice for years, because even then we knew we needed the land and the breath in the wind. This grace came right in time because I was now so sick I could not drive.
I remember all these things in a moment and for a moment it feels like it took a moment to have been transported here. Yet, I remember all the trail and trial of those in-between, liminal, days too. And suddenly, I am more eager than ever not to forget because my Creator was there as He is here too.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who revere him; he hears their cry and saves them.” (Psalm 145:18+19)
It may seem like the obvious thing but sometimes when I am by the river the fluidity of it suddenly strikes me. When it happens I wonder how has that not been my constant thought? But the thing is there are so many things to take in about the essence of water rushing past you or lapping at your feet. This week alone in considering the water I am often brought to the thought of tears. Memories, loss, cost, grief dropping from our eyes. What a tender expression when Adonai says He keeps our tears in a bottle.
We are not unseen, unknown, our memories, not forgotten. We are remembered. Yes, there is comfort in trial, but even that is not our hope. Comfort too will come and go, like the water, like the tide. Like the seeds that stowed away on my boots from yesterday’s walk through wet morning grass and dandelions…
Today, of all the days and of all the lessons that 2 years and 8 months by this river has brought, today I am astonished by fluidity and I know I am constituted of the same and I will let myself remember that today, with joy, believing in my own elegance… flimsy-maybe-of-a-thing though I may be… Yeshua (Jesus) told us we would be like the wind when we were being lead by Him, a flowing thing like water. Fluid.
Perhaps this is why hope is hard to grasp, its constitution so other than our own. On one hand, it has to become a part of us, and on the other…coming to it, learning Hope, could awaken in us a knowing that it has always been a part of us, and us of it. We are found and free to be undone, flowing like a river.
No, grief is not the opposer of hope, grief comes to teach us what remains.
Water carries story with such fluid motion, with elegance really. Expose water to morning sunlight and it’s better than Independence Day celebrations in their refulgence.
I looked down, I saw seeds that had stowed away on my boots from yesterday’s walk through Dewey grass and dandelion seeds…
“Press through, reach through, the anxiety. This deep inside you, is calling out to The Deeper Still.”
-Pray, Like a Woman in Labor
How does an idea birth from our lives, fully developed?
It births from the place we give it space to grow. We’re always letting something grow within us. What is dwelling within you? Where do you abide? Maybe it feels like there is no space for more, or something new, especially an audacious thing like hope. But doesn’t every new morning refute that idea? Doesn’t waking again today, in and of itself, invite us onward?
I often find the space I need within the real estate I previously allowed my overgrown pride to stake claim, my “ego” that needs tending the way blackberry bushes need tending, with sheers.
“To forgive ourselves of everything is the deepest kind of death to the ego.”
HOPE abides and a river flows. A river abides and hope flows. We learn in the Torah how the presence of the Ancient One would rise to move onto new places in the world. The children of Israel learned how to make home even as they moved, so can we.
And I found what I never found before
And I’m finally, I’m finally undone
–The Chorus of Kings, Visions of Choruses
“Fling wide the gates,
open the ancient doors,
and the great King will come in.”
Walking ever onward with you, into the healing the wilderness brings,
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This is a new series with the theme of hope. You can read the first in this series here: HOPE. However, I aim for each letter to stand on its own and bring encouragement wherever this finds you today.
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