“…standing between the earth and sky, we are silenced by the sight…”
-Abraham Joshua Heschel, I Asked for Wonder
Hello my friends,
What a confluence in time we are within! It’s had me in a quiet place considering the many river-like convergences in our lives that at once bring a loss of self and a greater intimacy. I find as I get older not a lack of meaning or nothingness in these collisions but rather a something-ness, a knowable Eternal One and myself. I find my Creator teaching me how to know myself as a gateway for meeting the All-Knowing, which means my fellow humans and this gracious world we’ve been given to inhabit included.
The morning I began this particular note to you I woke to thunder here in our slice of wilds. However, I couldn’t help but think about the way there are parabolic peals of thunderous sound everywhere right now—and how that’s a good thing—a thing to be quiet within. We need thunder, we need unrest, we need change, confluence, and release from stagnation in our inner-rivers. The wonder of these sonic shockwaves though is how it comes in a ripeness of time, above and below.
Confluence and tipping points, they can all feel so random when we are in the midst of them—but they are not.
Last I wrote you I had begun writing on the theme of hope. There’s a word-connection of hope to rivers I’d like to share with you. In the Hebrew language, there is a link between the letters at the root of the words “hope” and “gathering of waters”. This is significant because words that are linked at the root are intended to be used similarly.
So, the letters used for “hope” (tikveh) are also used in the word for “ritual immersion” (mikveh). Actually, the first use of the word used for hope in Hebrew, tikveh, is mikveh and it means “gathering of the waters”*…and when this all began to wash over me all the thoughts I could think were like rivers running through my mind. Float with me a ways?
Mikveh is where christians originally got their idea of baptism—although an immersion was done much differently in Judaism (a topic for another time). For our purposes here: based on instructions given in the book of Leviticus (Vayikra) mikvehs were to take place in a natural collection of water, “living water”, flowing, such as springs…rivers!
This word connection is special. Consider the apostle Paul’s words in relation to this, his use of water-words, the way he spoke of the washing of the word, and the hope of the water of the word. As a first-century Jew, Paul’s mind—when speaking of washing waters—would have been populated with mikveh imagery, not baths, not baptismals…rather flowing, living waters.
The prophet Jeremiah said it like this, “O God, you’re the hope (mikveh) of Israel… fountain of living waters…” *
Through mikvah, being found and washed in gathered waters, followers of The Way were invited to realize tikvah, hope. Because of tikvah, hope, disciples bring themselves to the gathering of waters, the confluences, the rivers. This was and is always about nearness, presence, being gathered, and knowing the Gatherer, both within us and beyond us. What a message flowing above, below, and all around in our time of distance and division.
Pause and imagine the river with me for a moment? …its violence, its elegance.
Hope, that thing we talk about possibly losing—it doesn’t entirely work like that…Hope is the thing that is holding together…gathering…pulling together…we live and breath and have our entire being-ness in Hope’s rivers. If you and I are breathing right now, we may at times feel as though we have lost hope, but Hope has never stopped gathering us.
Maybe we’ve been caught in the confluence. Ouch! Maybe we’ve been dragged by the current. Peril! it’s. true. Yet here we are, today, alive, within thunderclaps and yet hidden in more of an impossible, miraculous, quiet than we can barely grasp!
I’m grateful to be here with you. Thank you for letting me be present to you through this screen. How does this happen?! I may never fully understand, but I’m so thankful.
I recently read something I wrote to you a long time ago:
“I always wanted to write to you.” This is true-true.
And that brings me to sharing part of the story of where I’ve been lately. Last month I released a surprise (to me) booklet. You all surrounded me with so much love and I actually sold out of our first printing?! Thank you so much!
I call it a surprise booklet because (as many of you know) I have been working towards a few (of which this was not one!) books being completed the last couple of years. And I still am! I am working harder than ever, every day—and getting so close.
There are days when writing a book feels like straining to shape a monstrous sphere of clay. It’s asking of me to exert energies I wasn’t sure I had until it was required of me to engage those muscles, to press into the hulking bulk, shaving and shaping mass into form. I love it, aaaand it has been appropriately challenging! I have found the truth in the words, “every yes to something is a no to another thing”. Thank you for your companionship even as that “no” has meant less writing here as of late.
In this current quiet I am finding treasures, breath, and laughter that I am eager to share with you.
You’ve heard me say it before, but more book news coming soon—Lord (and Raynna) willing. Would you pray for me in this? I have several deadlines coming soon. In the mean time, our second printing of Grow Gently has arrived and I feel as though I cannot say thank you enough. Thank you for receiving my words—my heart.
In addition to writing, our homeschool this year extended into the summer and very soon we will be celebrating our first high school graduate! There are no words for how amazing this is to me.
In addition to summer-homeschooling I have also taken a new step in my healing journey and have been training to become an instructor in my chosen kung-fu form, White Tiger Qigong. I am halfway through this training and will be able to test for my certification in September. I’m so eager to be able to share more about the gift this gentle discipline has been for me the last few years.
As if that wasn’t enough, I want to also share something very personal but big in our family’s life, because I consider you my friends. My husband was released from his work position (in a recent round of workforce reductions) that brought us to Washington State almost three years ago now. We are well, and in much peace actually, but nonetheless this is a BIG development and time of transition for our family.
So many have lost their jobs in this time. We too are feeling the changes very close to home. We don’t know yet what this will mean in the long-term. But, we have all that we need at the present, and trust that in the right time we will know our next steps. Our eyes are wide with wonder and waiting, yes, even with hope while we keep our hands at the work we have been given, and bring ourselves to the river of the Eternal One’s presence.
Each day here has always been and remains a gift. I want to and could write whole posts on each of the last several paragraphs! The faithfulness of the Lord astounds me, I want to sing it from my keyboard. Thank you for reading this much, for caring about me and my family, I hope to share more out of all of these things that I believe will be a blessing to you as well in the coming days.
For now, I just wanted to write an update and let you all know you are in my heart and mind often. Thanks for floating with me down the river and maybe even sitting in the meadow a bit wherever this finds you today. To be with you, even in our unique pilgrimages, is such an honor for me—thank you. thank you.
“To become aware of the ineffable is to part company with words…The tangent to the curve of human experience lies beyond the limits of language. The world of things we perceive is but a veil. Its flutter is music, its ornament science, but what it conceals is inscrutable. Its silence remains unbroken; no words can carry it away.” -Abraham Joshua Heschel, I Asked for Wonder
As I send this to you I am praying you know and feel the truth of gracious belonging encircling you wherever this finds you today. I am praying for you quiet peace in the midst of storm, for ease and safety over the river rocks. In the midst of thunder and the rushing together of more than it is possible to grasp or understand—may you know the quiet of home.
P.S. I always love to hear from you in the comments. Have you been finding quiet in the confluence? How or why not? Where are you?
I’m an author/photographer, homeschooling, doula-girl, learning and sharing the journey. I’m glad you are here.
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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.
My newest offering is available now:
Grow Gently: A Companion as You Learn to Express Your Soul is a small but concise booklet, at a total of 33 written pages, it offers an invitation as well as inspiration alongside practical tools wherever you find yourself growing in the wilds of learning to express our souls.
*from Jeremiah 17:13
“Hope” is a gathering and the first time we see it in Scripture in Genesis is in 1:9-10. Also of note, Gen.49:18 “I wait” = translated in Targum as, “I hope”.