Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Peace Like a River

I must start by saying it never ceases to amaze me how a song will "take you back." I am currently sitting in a coffee shop and "Desperado" came streaming over the speakers just as I began to think through this posting. It instantly broke through my thought process and took me back to another place and time. I always find it interesting to see how circumstances and thoughts have evolved since that "other place and time." Whew! Ok, back to my original thoughts...

I was blessed to have the opportunity to spend this past weekend celebrating my mom. It was a delightful time together, with the highlight being an 8-mile hike deep into the Smoky Mountains. And before any of you go thinking I drug my mom on this hike, you'd better think again! When presented with several (shorter) alternatives, she unwaveringly opted for this one, which claims to take you along a "narrow footpath" on a "moderately strenuous" climb through "virgin forest" to the spectacular 90-foot cascades. Let me reiterate: 8-miles on a narrow moderately strenuous path...and she made it every step of the way! It was indeed moderately strenuous, but also true to its description, we were rewarded with a glorious view of the waterfall while enjoying our much-deserved lunch before heading back down the mountain. It was my first time hiking since returning from NZ, so needless to say, every fiber of my being was singing as we set out on the path.

One thing I loved about this hike was that we were never very far away from water. A few times we weaved through rocks to cross creeks or balanced on bridges over the rushing water. Hearing the sound of it rushing and babbling while we climbed further and further up was splendid. It was the perfect backdrop to introspectively put one foot in front of the other. As I conversed with God, I was reminded of something I learned several weeks ago in my small group: peace is like a rushing river, not a stagnant pond. The weight of that thought hit me as I passed through the lush green forestry. Sure there is serenity in a pond, with its quiet waters providing a smooth top as one looks across it. But there's no change there. And life has certainly taught us all that the only thing that doesn't change is change itself. So change we must. And through it all, God is offering peace like a river. It'll twist and turn. It will wildly rush through banks, it'll gradually trickle over rocks. But all the while, it is peace. Yup. That is the kind of peace God offers. And it's sure as heck the kind of peace I want. I'll take the constant river peace over the unrealistic pond peace.

As I hiked this past Sunday, I found myself not wanting to be far from the water at any particular time. Its sounds were rejuvenating, filling, a constant reminder of the peace found in the Holy Spirit, present within all times...through all changes.