My still waters aren’t that still.
I’m trying a meditation at the retreat. We are supposed to be led to the “still waters” of Psalm 23 by Jesus, but I’m not liking the still waters that I see in the picture I was given to focus on. They are too still. The water looks dead. There is nothing to look at. The color is autumn and not spring. I need the green of spring, the promise of it.
I change the meditation to somewhere I think I’m going to like. I change it to a mountain stream, or a brook. Something like that. Surrounded by trees, not an open lake. Maybe twenty feet across, but I’m not concentrating on the distance. I’m looking at the shore. I’m looking at the rocks and the shells buried in the mud. There are clam shells here, and a little evidence of humans. Soda cans. Coke bottle caps. A little, not much, but enough to remind me that other people have been here. The metal is interesting in a casual way.
The light catches in the pools of water, sparkling. A fish swims by, scales flashing. There are bubbles and swirls in the water and dappled light from the sun filtering through the leaves. I thought I would like it here but I’m a little ill at ease. There is a little too much of everything and I’m a little overwhelmed. Everything I see is beautiful and everything I see is special and I want to take it all home with me. There is a just too much and yet not enough at the same time.
We sit down, Jesus and I, by the side of the water. We sit down on a large dry rock, warm from the sun. There are bits of green moss clinging to the side that edges the water. It is plenty large enough. No worry about falling off, and there are plenty of flat places to put our things down without worrying about them falling over and spilling.
Jesus hands me a sandwich. The bread is homemade and brown and warm. It’s warm out like an afternoon that stretches out forever, an afternoon of naps, an afternoon of no appointments, of nothing to do. Nothing to do except just be.
There’s hummus on the bread and spinach leaves and there’s cucumbers that have been sliced. There’s no skin on them so there’s no bitterness. The sandwiches are wrapped in wax paper that has been folded carefully and mindfully. It is sealed with a tiny bit of masking tape. It is a delight to unwrap. I enjoy the sound and the feel of the paper. I bite into the sandwich and it is everything I need. I didn’t expect it, and I wouldn’t have thought of it on my own but it’s just what I need and he knows that. We sit together, eating our sandwiches.
We drink lemonade that he made. It is a little tart and a little sweet. Perhaps he used a lime or two in with the lemons. We drink out of glasses he brought along with him. The lemonade is cool but not cold. It is a simple lunch but it is enough and I am thankful. I’m thankful he thought to bring lunch, and thankful that it was handmade.
He keeps showing me these kindnesses, these bits of thoughtfulness. I’ve never known anyone to love me this much. They are usually so wrapped up in their own busyness and their own problems that they don’t have time to think of me. He is always as near or as far as I need. He’s never too much.
We’ve finished lunch and while it was soothing, the place where I am isn’t quite what I need. It was what I thought I wanted. It was where I thought I should be. I allow Jesus to take me somewhere else. I can’t imagine there is anywhere else, but he knows the way.
He leads me a little further along and I see a way out. I see there is an island in the distance, across a wide expanse of water.
It looks something like this –
There are steppingstones to it. They are sort of like this –
Or maybe this –
Or kind of this –
I don’t really want to work that hard. So we look to the left and there’s a small rowboat just big enough for two. It is wooden, grey, weathered.
It is facing out, ready to go.
It looks sturdy. We get in.
He rows out in the sunny day. It is bright, and there’s a little bit of a wind. He’s rowing and it’s hard work, and he’s doing it all. I smile into the sun and I enjoy how I can hear the sound of the gulls and the wind out here.
We are rowing alongside the steppingstones. There’s not a path like in Marazion. It isn’t solid –
But it also doesn’t disappear with the tide twice a day.
These stepping stones are always there, he says, even when the tide is high. Boats don’t come through this way this way because it is too shallow for them. I could wade in these waters and be safe.
We get to the other side and I enjoy the walk through the woods. It’s a small island with a lot of trees and shade. While I’m there I think it would be nice to rest here and we go looking for a place. There’s a cabin with a stone base but there’s also wood to it. It isn’t quite a stone cabin or a log cabin. It is a bit of both.
There’s a fireplace, and the cabin is just big enough for two. It is cozy and welcoming.
There’s food there. It’s already stocked, and there is even tea ready for us.
I want to stay here but I can’t. There are other responsibilities, so I’ll stay here as long as I am allowed.
(No pictures are original – all are from Image search on Google. Ideally, I’ll paint this, but I needed some reference points.)