Still waters, raging waters

We’ve had a five-day break in the rain here. More arrives tonight, and there’s rain in the forecast every day for the next week. Is it okay for me to confess I’m weary of rain and mud and the park closures due to high waters?

I’ve taken advantage of the sunshine and spring-like weather to get out with my camera. At a nearby dam, I’ve been struck by how different the water is from one side to the other.

The “lake” remembers it’s a river in its soul, and though it flows briskly, it does not rage the way the waters do on the other side of the dam.


The “lake” side of the dam


The reverse, where the water knows it’s a river

Oddly enough, I find calm in both versions of the water—in the still and in the raging. Beside the calm water, I feel an amplification in myself, as if the water seeps into my soul and stills it.


A gull at the edge of the calm water

The rushing white (brown?) water is the exact opposite. It’s as though the raging water takes with it some of the emotions I’ve been feeling lately, and a serenity fills the space in me that felt very unsettled.


The brown and white of the raging water

I’m anxiously preparing for a conference coming up and knew I needed some time by the water today. I’ve come to realize it’s something I need most days, this walk beside water. Whether it’s a small creek, a pond, a lake, or a river, I’ve spent the better part of my life near a source of water. And whether a creek trickles along merrily or a river rages by, the water refreshes my soul and my mind.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this relationship with water, and I want to leave you with a bit of prayer I heard today (thanks to Father Charlie for sharing it at our Bible study):

O Merciful God … come now to the help of our weakness, and as you once calmed the waves of the sea, so now put an end to the rage in our hearts. Dorotheos of Gaza (6th century monk)

You can see why this prayer would resonate with me today as I ponder still water and raging water and the power of both to calm my inner spirit.

By now, you’ve likely heard of the troubles at Oroville dam a few counties north of Sacramento. Will you please join me in praying for the safety of the residents who can return to their homes after an emergency evacuation Sunday evening? And also for the workers who are scrambling to make repairs in advance of the approaching storms? And, finally, for the damaged main spillway to hold up to the necessary water releases?

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