For the fist time in years, I took some time for me… it was one of the most difficult and mentally grueling tasks I have accomplished in a while. Being in the middle of a very stressful personal situation, trying to maintain a business and have some time for self care is an impossible task. So the latter usually takes a back seat to my busyness, my personal battles and my anxieties and panics throughout the day. As every personality test and every therapist tells me, my sense of self is non-existent and my self care techniques are comparable to a T-Rex making a bed (picture it, it’s a good laugh).
Lucky for me, I have a dad who understands the necessity for time for ones self and also sees the damage I have sustained over the past several years. It was hard taking a day off work. It was difficult trying to close my mind to the noise of my days. It was so incredibly hard to sit and do nothing! The overwhelming sense of guilt hovered over me like a dark cloud. I wasn’t being productive and it bothered me.
Ever since I was about eight years old, my dad would take me camping for a few days every summer, until I was about sixteen. This was back woods roughing it. Canoeing, portaging, eating meat from a can, hanging food in trees away from bears, building fires, pulling shards of glass from my foot, hatchet accidents, and enjoying every single moment because I got to spend it with my dad. It also taught me a new appreciation for God’s great design and His creation. Now I completely understand that there are several people that will read this that may not have the best relationship with their fathers. I consider myself extremely blessed to have had a dad as influential and positive in my life. So I don’t wish to conjure up any negative emotions related to this topic, and I apologize if this is the case for you. However, this post is not about having a relationship with your earthly father. It is simply about my recognition that there is a higher power or a God in control of life’s darkest situations, and for me, this became even more present to me during my recent time away. I should also note that I understand some of you may not share the same belief, and that is ok, these are my thoughts, my words, my views. They are meant to hopefully share some light into your dark situations or give you some hope for a brighter tomorrow… that we all struggle, even those of us that do believe.
I love the water. It brings back so many comforting memories of years spent with my dad. Sitting on the dock, in a Muskoka chair lightly kissed by the dew of the morning, coffee in hand and a good book in the other (‘You Rise Glorious‘ by Mike Foster) was, in fact, glorious. My dad spoke up and asked “what is it about being on the water that is good for the soul?” It took me a minute, but I closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths of the crisp, refreshing morning air, as a soft breeze caressed my two-day unshaven baby face scruff, then opening my chilled eyes, I gazed upon the clearest, calmest reflection of evergreens, mixed with coloured maples and pines, with the bluest of skies and white clouds. When my eyes adjusted to the scenery and the beauty before me…my answer was simple… “calm”
When the water is calm the reflection is clean and clear. I can see the beauty of God’s creation… twice. All the colours, all the details, all the beauty that is nature; His nature. Yet as we sat in silence for a little while, sipping a gorgeous cup of black, beautiful, french-pressed nectar of the god’s, the wind began to change and slowly pick up some speed, and storm clouds began to stir in the sky, rain was in the forecast and was moving in fast, the water began to change from a calm and clear reflection, to a rough, distorted view of the image that was being cast into the water. The trees and sky didn’t change, only the reflection in the now disturbed water . Okay, so being the son of a preacher man, sitting next to the preacher man himself, I couldn’t help let my words sway toward the spiritual. That we as the water, our lives are true reflections of God’s image and grace. When life seems to be still, we tend to feel Him closer, that comfort and peace of a loving God who created the beauty of nature itself. Or for some, that peace that they feel from whatever source that brings them comfort and joy. But when the waves and winds start, the water becomes rough, we begin to doubt, the image we once saw as clear and vivid, becomes a distorted picture, hard to fully see its beauty. It’s now messy, dark, disturbed and unclear. Much like the difficult situations that will inevitably plague our existence. Whatever it might be, these times will distort our views of God and his grace, making it hard to comprehend or make us turn and walk away from the reflection. Anger, doubt, frustration and blame become the language of our misery.
However, even though the water was rough, the reflection distorted, the wind cold, violent and unpredictable, there was still an image in the water. God doesn’t simply disappear, no matter the turmoil we are in, He is still there, we just might find it hard to see. It may not look like what we desire or what we have imagined or come to expect, but it is still there.
So what is my point in all of this imagery? There is still hope in our struggles, whether you have faith in a higher power or not, there is hope that eventually the waters will be calm again, and whatever makes you feel at peace, fills you with hope, love and courage to continue another day, will become visible in all its grand detail again. Storms don’t last forever, there will eventually be peace in the water.
I hope you can find your calm again friends. I know how difficult it can be, as my water is rough right now and most days I find it near impossible to feel hope or to feel like there is a God that cares for me. I’ve been starring at a blurred and distorted image of what I had come to believe would always be calm and serene. Beyond frustrated, full of guilt, shame and doubt, but I do know one day the waters will calm, because the winds will settle and His reflection will be there to greet a new day.
You are not alone in your struggles, there is hope, there are those who will listen, those who care. If you do feel alone, please know you can text 7058682616 anytime.