The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.
As you may or may not know, every year I pick a theme to reflect upon. This year’s theme- Be like water: Fluid, reflective and always tending towards stillness- seemed like a very poetic thing to pick for the year. I envisioned the calm waters of a river that Thomas Kincaid would paint in one of his masterpieces.
This vision of peace was challenged a few months ago while I was sitting in church. While I was rapt in the message of the sermon, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was real subtle. I wasn’t quite sure that I saw what I saw. And then I saw it again. I looked over my left shoulder and made eye contact with my neighbor. Then we both simultaneously looked up. The roof was leaking.
Water is not just reflective; water is revealing. Had it not been for the rain we would not have known that there were vulnerabilities in the structure of the roof. That is kinda how life is. We all go through different seasons where the elements of that time period exposes something that had been silently festering in the dark alcoves of our lives.
Once, I left a banana in one of my purses that I rarely use. For the longest time I could not figure out why I had this horrible infestations of gnats in my room. And then I found the most disgusting banana in my life. I get it. Life is a little bit more serious than bananas and gnats. It could be the person in your life that offended you. When they suddenly return back into your life you realize that you have been harboring unforgiveness and lingering hurt. Maybe you have been getting away with something that has now come back to bite you. Rainy seasons in life expose deficiencies in our lives
The good news is that the rain reveals something that you can fix. Nobody is perfect so we all need maintenance every now and then. So a little bit of rain in your life can help you see the snafus that can be repaired.
But then again… sometimes floods can reveal very complex problems that are not easily fixed. I finally got around to watching Spike Lee’s “When the Levees Broke”. First of all, that is the most profound documentary of the entire century. The documentary took an in-depth look at how our nation failed some of the most vulnerable citizens before and long after Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans.
Water is fluid and powerful.
Water is always tending towards stillness. Water can also force you towards stillness. When I was in DC over the summer I observed some of the craziest things. It would be a beautiful perfect day one minute, rain like it is a category 3 storm for 30 minutes, and then it would go back to being a perfect day again. It took me a while to learn that the rain wouldn’t last for long. A very common practice was for people to just take shelter under the nearest makeshift canopy or Starbucks and just wait. And wait. Sometimes for 10 minutes. Sometimes much longer.
Water can force you towards stillness. How many times have you forgone plans because the rain started to drop from the sky? How many times have you turned the T.V. down just a little bit just so you can let the cathartic rhythm of the rain hitting the window pane? How often have you lingered just a little bit longer with someone just because it was raining outside? How many times have you stopped just to stare at the expansiveness in awe of the ocean?
‘Water is tending’ means that water is always working with some intention (towards stillness).Water is always works in some of the most understated ways. I believe of the physical and emotional healing power of water. I once burned my hand and found immediate relief in the running water of a faucet. It provides life and growth to every organism on this Earth. Water is key element in many ancestral and indigenous rites of passage. A deluge of water is often the first sign that a baby is ready to leave the mother’s womb. Water baptizes the soul from one state to another more enlightened spiritual state. Water cleanses. Water rejuvenates.
I still like the quote Be like water: Fluid, reflective and always tending towards stillness. But, I don’t see the quote in the same way. (Even Socrates once said that you cannot step in the same river twice). Water is so much more than being fluid, reflective and tending towards stillness. Being like water is embracing the fullness of life and all of that it encompasses. It’s embracing the power of a flood and the peace of the river.
As always, I love hearing from you. How are you doing? What has changed in your life? What is consistent in your life? Do you have any good recipes? Do you have any good music recommendations?