StormBreak

The storm breaks over us and washes us downstream. We drift in and out of consciousness, held up by the debris around us, until we make our unsteady way to a new shore. Abraded by the harsh flow of the water and everything in it with us, we are sore and weary, wary of injury and unknown or unidentified cuts and bruises. 

The stars come out, granting just enough light to create layers in the shadows, and we stumble our way further onto uneven ground, up the roots of the bank, and hope for a level path or a break in the tree line. 

Our clothes dry slower than our skin, faster than our hair, weak parts in our clothing give way, and new patches become necessary. But where we will find the fabric for the patch runs to the edge of consciousness while we keep looking for a way into higher ground, in case the flood rises above the crest of this hill. 

Deep breaths now, feel the rush of blood through your heart, your ears, your fingertips. Feel the flow of the thickness that carries your life through your body, that keeps you breathing and moving. 

You are alive. You are alive. You are alive. 

Your heart beats the message of your being in your chest. 

Exist. Exist. Exist. 

Breathe. 

Flow with your blood now, feel the forceful tug of the patterns that have kept you up to this point. 

I don’t know what the future will bring. But I do know that my heart is beating. I know the water falls and washes. 

And I know that God spoke existence into the world over the face of the deep. 

Day cannot exist without the night, light was birthed out of darkness, and we are seeing over and over how we are called into our beautiful selves by the voice that called all of creation into being. 

I listen for the whisper of being in the darkness. The light shines, even the stars layer depth into the night sky. Like the moon reflecting the light of the sun, let us reflect the light of holiness into the world, so that nothing is left unturned, unexamined, unrevealed. 

Let us see it, all of it, how it is. And wash us. And let us flow. 

Prayer to Thrive

God we draw near to you today in faith and trust. Make your presence known to us as we receive your word through all our worship. As we gather, we pray for the people of this church, that as we learn to thrive emotionally, we will be open to granting and receiving the support we need to live wholly in you.

We give thanks for the ways that God blesses others through us as we are faithful givers to the mission that we support as a church. We pray for the people of the Charlotte area as we join together to collect food to fight hunger.  We pray for the people of this nation, especially the community of Flint, Michigan as they grapple with the injustice surrounding their water crisis.

We pray for the children of the world, for their safety and health in all circumstances, especially as their families leave homes torn by war.

As we draw close to you, heal us in body, mind, spirit, and relationship. Lead us to act as your people in all places and at all times.  Amen.

Digging a Well

When I was in Kenya, part of our group was helping to dig a well. Without a locally available intensive infrastructure, water comes from the ground. You hope that the water table is high enough to reach, but also deep enough that the water is relatively clean. Without the infrastructure, everything comes from the ground, and everything returns to it. Boiling water to drink becomes necessary.

To dig a well you pick a spot in the ground. And you begin to dig. The topsoil may be a little loose, but soon you need to pick at the hard-packed clay before you can shovel it out. Then, after you pass about waist deep, you need to be extra spry to get out of the hole you are digging. And throwing the dirt out of the hole is also difficult. A team becomes necessary, so you can fill a bucket with the soil so it can be lifted out, emptied, and returned. Once the hole passes your height, and especially double your height, you really want to make sure that someone will help you out when your turn is through.

It is incredibly difficult work. Oh, I forgot to mention, we did it all by hand. I had gloves to protect my hands, but most didn’t. And I wasn’t strong, but even the most built men in our group were far out-classed by the nationals. Long practice of hard labor makes it seem not as difficult.

The problem with digging a well this way is that you have to go until you hit water. You don’t really know when that will be. And then you hope that the water is good water. You hope that your survey of the surrounding area was good. You hope that someone has good instincts in your group.

The payoff, the water for bathing and cooking and laundry and drinking, it may be a long way off. The well may dry up if the rainy season fails. That long intensive work may end up with water that can only serve to irrigate the surrounding crops. That’s what happened with one of our groups. The deep well was not as refreshing as we had hoped.

If you are lucky, then the water will swell into the pit, and then a cover can be constructed so that a bucket can be lowered down and raised up, brimming with refreshing water that renews life. The well can serve the community, bringing water closer to home, so that water doesn’t require such a long walk as before.

There are deeper wells that can be dug. They do require machinery, and they are nearly guaranteed to produce water that is good to drink. But they are expensive. They can require more work and training to maintain the mechanism and equipment that draws the water to the surface.

A well, deep with refreshing water. It is a prize, a reward for hard labor. A well of deep water refreshes and cleanses the grit of the pit that was dug. The dust is washed away, and the water is good to drink.