Dear Loved Ones,
I went kayaking at a lake near my new church the other day. I’m part of a group on Facebook where people post where they are going and invite others to join them, so I met a woman at the lake and off we went. She had been to this place before, and showed me a cool bridge you can kayak under, and then said there was a canal off the lake that we could go through. We searched for it, coming upon two dead ends. And then I spotted a narrow opening and decided to try it. It was a long, skinny canal, trees overhanging and too narrow to paddle in. I through it must be the wrong place, but something compelled me to keep going. The beaches were brushing the side of the kayak, and you had to do a one sided paddle to move forward, ducking beneath the branches and scraping the bottom of the canal all the way through. But there was light ahead, a wider opening, where, if nothing else, I thought I would be able to turn around.
As I got to this wider part, my breath was taken away. It was a pristine little lake, covered in water lilies, some of which were flowering. Eagles were hanging out in the tress and beavers were swimming around, sometimes slapping their tails hard on the water making a loud, echoing bang. One beaver let me get super close to them before diving under the water, and the whole feeling was magical and Spirit filled. I hung out in this place as the sun set, reluctant to leave, but my kayaking companion was ready to go as the warmth of the day leaked from the air. We made our way back to the main lake, and back to land, but the peace and beauty of this secret lake has stayed with me.
And more than this, the narrow canal has stayed in my mind. It seemed almost like a birth canal, a tight passage to push through to get to a whole new world, and the world it opened onto was one worth the effort.
It made me think of these times we are in where things seem hard and tight, one where caution is needed to navigate. It feels, right now, as if we are making our arduous way through this canal… slapped by the branches of Covid, the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the deaths of more than 200,000 people in this country from a virus that could have been managed much better, by election campaigns that fuel fear and hate, by protests and racism and an ‘us vs them’ mentality. We are scraping along the bottom of human decency most days, and we think this might turn out to be a dead end.
Yet, somewhere ahead, we catch a glimpse or have a sense of, or hope there may just possibly be a widening, an opening, a place where more light is seeping through. And so we keep on, struggling through this time, figuring out where to put our paddle so we can move forward, trying to duck beneath the worst of the branches while other catch us off guard and at scratch us, slowly inching toward a place of peace and hope and light, one obstacle at a time.
The more I sat with this, the more reassured I felt, as I heard the whisper of truth…. “yes, this time is hard. But you are moving through it. And you are heading toward a place where there is more play and peace and light and loveliness. So keep going, keep going. Dodge what you can, know the scratches likely won’t run top deep, remember you won’t get stuck. So keep moving forward as best you can.”
I feel this is a blessing for all of humanity. Yes, this time is hard. But there is a place ahead that is worth fighting toward. Do what you can to reach it.
May it be so.
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