I’ve been thinking about the corrosive force of water. In this space I’ve been invited to occupy the past two weeks there’s this amazing window. It backs up to some Alaskan wilderness—there’s a stream that cuts through the forest ten feet from the edge of the window seat. It has become my window. In the morning I hop out of bed and land here, greeting the sun that never sets, writing the words that have been churning in my soul, and sipping coffee. It’s been a happy place for me. I will be sad to leave it. It’s serene and peaceful and I want to package it up and take it home with me.
I’ve discovered that bodies of water call to me. Something about rivers, streams, and oceans soothes my turbulent soul. Even on the 21 mile kayaking trip that exhausted me beyond belief, I continued stroke after stroke because I could hear the water lapping at the edges of the boat around me. Once we were out of the water, however, I experienced a different reality that ended with Doug carrying me up the hill to our tent, helping me get dressed in dry clothes and leaving me curled up inside the sleeping bag where my body worked to generate heat.
I’ve been watching the water. I’ve been watching the way it cuts through the land. I’ve seen how it floods it’s banks, killing trees, forcing the land to recede when it needs more space. It will not be stopped or diverted. It is indomitable. Little by little, even this harmless creek that flows through my father-in-law’s backyard is carving through earth, forcing it’s way through. It’s not at all tamed or peaceful. It’s not safe. It’s a pretty picture—but it must never be mistaken for anything less than powerful.
I’m tired of living at the surface. I’m tired of one-dimensional stories. I’m tired of two-dimensional characters and tropes. I’m tired of conversation that talk about the weather or read like a “dear diary” entry.
I want to suck the marrow out of life. I want to see beyond the pretty picture to the rapids and tides that flood the banks. I want to see how we’ve taken the lot we’ve been given and moved beyond it. I want something thick that I can sink my teeth into, something that forces me to pause and wrestle with the truth I’ve always thought I’ve known. The life-giving source is so much more than a river, so much more than a body of water. It’s all the terror and destruction found in this world. And I want to see it and know it. I want to see and know people.
So often I have settled for one or two dimensions. People get scary when we get close. When people exceed the boxes and boundaries we’ve put them in, it forces us to change—but that’s so hard to do. Often it’s easier to walk away, lest the world as we know it get carved up and redistributed. Self-preservation. We stopped seeing each other as people so that we could send each other to hell.
I don’t want the world to stay the same anymore. I want to see the world turned upside down. I want water to cleanse and baptize me so that I can be made new. So that boundaries are forgotten. I want relationships to have dimension so stereotypes dissipate. I want relationship instead of ownership. Water has become my theme, my metaphor. It speaks to my heart. It soothes and calms me. It beckons me to abandon the superficial and to go deeper. Always deeper.