There is a quiet place, a secret place, that is yours for restoration. There is a realness in the stillness. Go there, when you can; when you need to. It's safe. For me, it is the Other Side of the Trees.
I’ve been in a forest. A metaphorical, thick, forest; trees so tall. A forest where some of you have been. Moonlight struggles to get through the overlapping, entangled, limbs and boughs. The sun does not always waste it’s time on a wounded, weathered, soul, in an unforgiving wood. Perception can be mutinous.
“Why have I spent time in that forest?”
“Because it’s where I am supposed to be.”
Mutinous perception. More accurately, a lie. It’s not where I belong. Hmmm … I must remember that. “Where am I supposed to be?” Maybe we know where we are supposed to be. Or, not. Maybe it is more about vision; honorable longings; redemptive passion. To follow, and walk out, the vision. To release that which is good, the passion that speaks of who we are.
Nights, sometimes endless …Inside, a burning fever, a fever of fearing the future, but longing for more … a fever summoning me from the slumber I cherish. I feel like there is something wrong. This is not where I am supposed to be. This is not the way life is supposed to be, a paradox, accentuated by that quote: “The hardest place to be, is right where you’re at.”
It takes an effort to go into the place, metaphorically a small storage shed, where some thoughts might need to be tweaked or discarded; where emotions need to be checked; where self-pity needs to be conquered, left on the battlefield for the wild animals to feast on … And a question that resurrects me from my restless soul: “What do I know to be true?” I know that I am a good man, that I do have what it takes. I know that I do have hope, passion … That they are not gone. They just to be tapped and released. There is a process. And it is part of my calling to be faithful to the process, and there is some mystery in the process. That’s okay. And a restless soul is not always a bad thing.
“Ground water” came to our basement, over the last couple of weeks from the rain. Clear Creek County Sheriff’s office called with recording, warning about flood waters. They had two locations, for sandbags. Blessings come with challenges, often … eh? Example, our wet-vac. Used it every day, sometimes three times within a day. Clear Creek’s normal flow is 200 cubic feet per second. On Saturday, the ninth, it was up to 700 cubic feet per second.
Driving up the mountain, heading for the house, I felt compelled to pull over and get a picture of Clear Creek getting out of hand. That picnic table is usually up on some dry ground.
Many stories, out there, would top mine about Nature’s power … clobbering us humans. A couple of nights after our discovery that ground water was coming up through the basement floor, we were all doing our thing. My wife and I werewatching a movie and … CLICK … the power went out. No lights, no electrical juice, no power to run the wet-vac. So, launching up one of those quick-prayers seemed like the only logical thing to do, for the power to be back in the morning.
And, wow … the power was back on. Then I turned on the old wet-vac, and continued my battle against the rising waters. Couple of days after that the Honda Pilot we just bought was starting up and turning off and starting up and turning off without any assistance. We never figured it out.
About the same time, I received a voice mail that I am sure was a scam: …a recording saying that ” … if you don’t take care of this matter … then it will be reported to the authorities.” Now, what “the matter” was, that needed to be resolved, was never communicated. Pretty wild.
When the waters come, a choice is made about what we are going to do: sand bags? wet-vac? sump pump? dig a trench?. If the waters rise, then I will rise. … I will rise to the challenge. When melancholy comes, I have the opportunity to push back. Sometimes I accept the melancholy as an old friend. And, the melancholy does not define me.
In a short interchange with a friend, many years ago, I spoke a sentence out of my spontaneity, which is not uncommon:
“Here we are, my friend, in the midst of reality.”
“(Pause) I was there, once, but I was just passing through.”
We do pass through the Land of Story and Journey. Both, story and journey, are to be respected … in the telling, and in the hearing. We do not stay, long, in the Land of Story and Journey. A paradox is found in that our stories are not finished, and always ongoing. Our journeys started long ago. Journey’s end is down the road; we definitely are not there, yet, though we may be close. There is a gift, when we hear about the journeys of others; when we hear the stories of others; depending on what the story is, depending on what the journey is about. Great things happen in the Land of Story and Journey. And tragedies happen there, as well. Courage comes with the telling of our stories; courage comes with us on our journeys. I am a thankful man, to be able to pass through the Land of Story and Journey with other story tellers and other sojourners.