Friday, July 31, 2009

Finding Hope

I walk slowly along the edge of the Chesapeake Bay when the tide and my energy level are at their lowest. The desire to spend a day seeking God led to the decision to fast lunch and spend a few hours in quiet reflection. Now at three in the afternoon, I'm tired, hungry and want a nap. My spirit wants to connect with my creator in some meaningful way, but I have trouble convincing the rest of myself to cooperate.

At high tide, you can't walk along this particular area of the bay, but now at low tide there are a few feet of waterlogged sand exposed. Starting with the first step, my sneakers sink too low in the spongy sand. The air has the unpleasant scent of a swamp - the decay of plants, insects and fish, along with pockets of stale water here and there. The gnats are being their normal annoying selves and as they flit from plant to plant, they continuously bump into me.

My walk is slow and careful, as I step over all the creepy, crawly insects on the ground. I pause a second after stepping over a dead praying mantis. I realize that though I had seen many praying mantises over the years, I have never seen a dead one. Guess they have to die also, I reason to myself.


The ugly, straggly branches of a greedy plant force me to walk out nearer to the water's edge as it inconsiderately covers my path in its reach for the water. As I do this, I step over a small puddle of water that apparently missed the receding flow of the tide. More loss, this time a crab lays there dead.
My mind sluggishly talks to God about this, why is there so much loss and sadness? It is so hard to have these obstacles, I tell him. Why do I have to keep walking over and around them? This kind of feels like my life recently, sadness due to loss and conditions that hound me every step of the way. With a muddled mind and hot, humid air surrounding me, I am ready to end this depressing walk.

But - a stubborn speck of resolve pushes me on. I want to get through this - ‘this’ being both this walk and the unwanted circumstances in my life. So half-heartedly, I continue while brushing tears from my eyes and watching more dirty sand collect on my previously white sneakers.

I round a slight bend and abruptly stop in both my physical and mental walk. There is a burst of beauty and color. Wild plants ramble through each other in a beautiful unkempt way - bulrushes, iris, hibiscus and trumpet vine. Butterflies gracefully hurry here and there, looking for the sweetest nectar. A dragonfly from an attractive family line pauses briefly on a leaf directly in front of me. The stark colors of his delicate wings shimmer in the afternoon sunlight that reflects off the still waters of the bay.

A spot of dry sand nearby allows me to sit down and soak in the beauty of it. This beauty and creativity feeds the sad places in me and fills me with hope. Seeing this vibrant, beautiful life, I recognize the truth that even when walking on difficult paths, there is beauty somewhere. These specks of clarity bring about a calm, peaceful state of mind. I find comfort and strength and know that by seeking the one who made it all, I will come to places where I find beauty and hope
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2 comments:

shelly k said...

Janet-
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts today. I feel as though I am in that same place-this path is difficult and sometimes I just want to give up! I don't want to keep walking-I want the hurt and detours to stop... And yet if I stop or turn back-I may miss the beauty at the end. Thanks for the encouragement to keep walking today! =)
shelly

Patricia said...

I can relate to your emotions in this introspective essay, Janet. Thanks for sharing. You continue to instill hope in my heart!

David says it best -
"I am still confident that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
-Ps. 27:13-14