Not long ago we took our son and our Littles for a ride down to the river near our house. It’s running low and quietly this time of year but in the spring it can be a rushing torrent reminding us how powerful it can be.
Last year we experienced record flooding and our little river overflowed its banks, carving away the soil at its edges. Places we had been able to go were now trails that ended in sharp drop-offs with the river flowing far below.
Sometime this summer a huge piece of the hillside above it slid nearly blocking the flow. The river bottlenecked to a narrow, gushing passage before widening again.
Twice in two years that river, at least the part that runs through our valley, has changed course dramatically. Major events occurred that slowed its pace or changed its path, but neither altered its destination. It still moves downstream joining other rivers and eventually the water that flows past our home – the water where our Littles are learning to skip stones and the logistics of big rock = big splash – empties into the Arctic Ocean.
When I stood beside the river looking at the landslide, I knew there was a lesson in it for me and I knew it would be big. It took a chance meeting with a stranger, conversations with two dear friends, and a quote shared on Facebook to bring me to a place of understanding.
SEEK AND YOU SHALL FIND
For as long as I can remember, I have been a person who sought spiritual truth. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware of having a sense of something greater than myself, something beyond what my eyes could see. As a little girl, I went to Sunday School and I followed that path for another 30 years.
Then something began to change. I don’t really know what to call it. Discontent? Uncertainty? Restlessness? All I know is something changed and my beliefs grew bigger than the box I had been carrying them in.
The past several years have been a time of awakening and growth for me. The first few of those years were a slow, pulling away, shedding layers of ‘spiritual clothing’ that no longer fit. The more I let go the more open and lighter I felt until I began to search for truth again.
I met a woman recently who assumed from my knowledge that I was a church-goer. I corrected her and she challenged me (not unkindly) with a personal question I didn’t have a solid answer for. At least it wasn’t a conversation that I was comfortable having with a stranger in a public place. But it made me think.
Shortly after, I was visiting with a friend and our conversation turned to spiritual things. She said she had recently confessed to her pastor that she wasn’t sure she even considered herself to be a Christian anymore. Shocked, I said, “Me neither!” And there was this incredible sense of relief that I knew someone else who felt very much like I did.
Just a few days later, I was sharing these experiences with another friend. Her eyes lit up and she said, “Cathy! You need to write about this!” I said, “I know, but I’m afraid. I’m afraid of losing friends over this.”
LIVE YOUR TRUTH
And then I saw this quote on Facebook:
I didn’t love the entire quote but part of it kept repeating in my mind…”Live your truth right out in the open. No hiding or apologizing for who you are.”
I talk a lot about choosing to walk your own path and the fact that we ought to do so freely and confidently. I am aware that my own insecurities and fears sometimes keep me from being honest about who I am and what I believe. Sometimes I have a hard time not projecting my own values and judgements on someone choosing to walk a very different path from mine. I’m not perfect.
The long and short of it is that I can’t really define what I believe, at least not right now. I am learning and searching and trying to find understanding. I’m not throwing away the foundation of my faith, but I’m not certain all the answers are there either.
I have dear friends who practice their faith in so many different ways – Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans, some whose faith is in science, and some who identify as simply spiritual. I respect their right to choose their path and the expression of their faith.
Tolkien wrote, “Not all those who wander are lost.” I will be the first to say that my path is wandering, but I certainly don’t feel lost. Some may disagree.
What I know beyond doubt is that I feel like the river that flows past my home – winding, adapting, influenced by unexpected changes, but still unceasingly flowing toward my destination. The river doesn’t make excuses for changing it’s course. It doesn’t stop its forward motion to offer explanations to onlookers. It just keeps going. And so shall I.
With love and light to you all!