Monday, June 20, 2011

Clean, Clear Water

There was a sort of hollowness in what I did today, not from a lack of substance in the activities themselves because they are like prayers to me. But there was something nagging in the sense of solitude that opened up inside me while doing them, some quiet, convincing voice that told me the two rows of lettuce, the whole loaf of banana bread, the rhubarb coffee cake, the orange chicken in the crock pot were all a waste: "You'll never eat all of that."  (Nora isn't big on vegetables.  Or fruit.  She likes Cheetos.  Believe me.  We're trying.)

And I have to ask:  Forgive me.  I'm not alone, and I know this.  I am surrounded by love from Nora and family, good friends who say the words my soul drinks at odd hours when the alone-night sits on the edge of the bed and taunts with a twisted finger:  You messed up.  That's why you're alone. 

This isn't what God tells me.  I recognize the voice of the liar.

I didn't want to write about this.  You've seen so much of how I live and, you know how I've been blessed.  I know how I've been blessed, too.

Abundantly.  Completely.  And if He asked me to go it alone, I would.  I would for Him.  My arms are getting stronger.  My heart sings a lot in this life, hums when the room is empty.

I remember my Grandma playing a game, a story game, that was supposed to tell you about how you viewed your life, how you wanted to live, what you thought would happen when you died, even what you thought your love life would be like.

I remember we were driving in Aunt Dottie's tan van and Grandma was in the passenger seat looking back over her shoulder at me.  "You're on a journey.  Where are you going and who or what is with you?"

"Um, I'm traveling across the country, but there aren't any cars or people or buildings.  Just mountains and desert, and I'm on a horse and that's all.  Just the horse and me.  And a canteen."

I'm twelve.  I research horses.  I draw horses.  I love horses.

"And what do you notice?"

"Mountains in the distance.  The path.  It's brown."

"And you come to a stream you have to cross, but there's a bear there.  What do you do?"

"I catch two huge salmon, and I throw one to him and I keep one for myself.  He lets me pass."

"You come to a body of water.  What does it look like?"

"Calm in places.  Rushing in others.  There's a stream that runs into a pool.  The pool is clean and clear."

"On your travels, you come upon a structure.  What is it and who is there?"

"It's an abandoned cabin.  No one is there, but I'm free to stay the night, so I do."

She listened carefully, nodding at times and at others, a sadness would pass over her eyes.

"So, what does it mean, Grandma?"

"You see yourself as being alone in life.  You enjoy being alone, walking alone and you take provisions.  You plan ahead.  You're observant when it comes to the larger things--the big picture, but you sometimes miss the little things because of the distance you're looking into.

When you face a problem, you do it alone, but you use your resources."

"Is that the bear part, Grandma?  I think it might mean that I just feed my problems."

She laughs.  "When I faced the bear, I was in the pick-up with Grandpa driving.  He just rolled the window down and shot the bear.  That's how I got across."

I have never forgotten this.  This is a story that's become real in my heart when I replay it.

"And love.  You see the smooth parts and the rough parts.  For you, love is a clean, clear thing.  Something that refreshes you and is constantly being fed, so it stays alive."

And this is where the sadness poured out.  "And when you die, you see heaven as somewhere without people.  Even so, it is a home where you can rest."

And now, years later, I can see the mansion He has prepared, how it is filled.  The cabin is simply where I am right now.  I still believe the water is clean and clear, and I am not afraid to drink it.


  1. You are seriously surrounded by the most astounding people, and an amazing way of treasuring things in your heart. I love that in you, I think a little bit because I don't understand how that part of people works, but I like seeing it work. In you and in this blog.

  2. I agree with what Teagan wrote.

    You may be by yourself in a lot of things, but you are never alone. From what you write about, I get the impression that you do reach out, you do have friends and family, people who care about you and about whom you care.

    I believe God uses the experiences in our lives, good and bad, to mold us into who he wants us to be. You, Lisa, are a beautiful daughter of Christ, and he is working in, through and for you all the time.

    You are loved.

  3. I'm glad you don't listen to those lying voices, dear friend, because they are so far from the truth.

    You ARE getting stronger every day, and your love is, too -- both the love you give and the love other people give you, too.

    And that sounds like some game!