Whether you worship the “Universe” or the One who breathed it into existence – or even if you don’t worship anything at all – it seems we all have stages of life where a certain soul-message is continuously weaved through every single situation we experience. Things that happen to us, things we observe and hear – all of life – often seems to find the same rhythm, resulting in a repetitive theme. And after a while we cannot ignore the common thread of recognizable notes humming, pulsing and chanting louder and louder until enlightenment breaks into epiphany…
A multitude of life lessons screamed at me last week as plans unraveled, surprise events appeared on my calendar and unexpected gains and tragic losses became ocean swells growing larger and coming closer, crashing over and over onto the shores of my consciousness. It was little waves like revving the car and the children up for a trip to the library only to find it closed. But it was also huge heart-sweeping waves like the sudden loss of three precious lives: my childhood babysitter to fast-moving cancer, my junior-high camp director to cardiac arrest during knee surgery, and my sister’s father-in-law to a horrific hit-and-run accident.
The undulating message of these events and situations kept washing the same “message in a bottle” onto my shore: Life cannot be planned and bent to our will. We say we will go here and there tomorrow, but we may or may not. The car will come out of nowhere. The cancer will fester into every cell. Hearts will arrest, and the library hours will change. Phone calls will be missed, and the stomach flu will spoil everything, and the pool will get holes, and the summer will be all rain.
Rocks will fall from mountainsides, all jagged and jumbled, and that is how I felt this past week: tumbled down and left in a heap. But if nothing will go according to plan, where do I spend my energy, my love, my time, my heart, my soul … or is that even a choice? Because I was trying to choose how to spend myself last week, yet nothing went according to MY plans … Then I remembered how that the sum of life is to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with my Lord (Micah 6:8).
All I can really plan is to love my family, my friends, my community and my God through every wave that crashes upon my life. We are like those jagged rocks when we first fall, but then wave after wave of experience and epiphany tumble us into smoothness. We cannot choose the waves, but we can choose to trust the Ocean and the maker of that ocean who rolls us and sands us and sheers pieces of our vain selves off to make lighter and smoother … What message is washing up on the shore of your universe?
“Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees … ” Isaiah 44:23