Sometimes We Need Sticks and Stones

carter caves creek pic one

As my nephew walked along the creek’s edge in search of crawdads or any other creature he could possibly scoop up in his net, I watched from a few feet below.

My own boys – now all grown up – seemed to appear in the form of his innocent little figure.

Stumbling along.

Soaking up nature.

The sight nearly took my breath away.

I’d been to this very place so many times before with my own sons and their friends –

nets in hand, hopping over rocks.

Where did the years go?

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I thought to myself,

“Who needs to skip rocks when life is tossing your heart right across the top of the water?”

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And then I saw it.

It wasn’t made by human hands or even God’s.

The dam was made of sticks and stones and  leaves and mud.

 Beavers had clearly spent hours building this wall

so they could have a place to hold the water……..

carter caves creek pic three

I’d never seen an actual beaver dam so close up,

and I was fascinated.

For the first time in my life I found myself asking,

“Why in the world do beavers do this?”

 They’re already in the water after all.

Why do they need to stop it from moving and store it up?

I did a little reading when I got home, and here’s what I learned:

Beavers love to build their home in quiet water.

I stopped when I read these words, and my heart seemed to be tossed again………………….

right across the top of my rushing-water life.

I suddenly realized that hearts, just like rocks, don’t skip very well when the current is moving too quickly.

And the rushing water of my own world seemed to crash all around me.

The truth is:

I’ve had a summer like no other.

Tears have fallen almost every day for the past six weeks.

I’m calling this my “summer of tears,” and in many ways,

I’ve been trying to build a dam of my own.

I’ve needed a home with quiet water,

because the current of my life has been so far out of my own control.

I’ve struggled daily to build a wall,

and then I’ve tried to hide.

I’ve found it’s safer here behind my wall.

But I’ve found it’s lonely too………………

tucked behind my sticks and stones.

A few friends have dared to step inside my pool of tears; and I’m forever thankful.

Sadness makes for painful company.

Depression doesn’t draw a crowd.

But I’ve learned there’s one thing a dam can never do………………………..

carter caves creek pic two

It can never stop the movement of time.

A dam really only stops the one who builds it.

And, oh, how I have been stopped by mine.

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carter caves creek pic four

I thought of the phrase in Psalm 23 this morning,

“He leads me beside quiet water.”

There’s the difference.

It doesn’t say “He calls me to sit in quiet water”………………..

No.

He longs to take my hand and keep me moving.

I have to tear down these twigs and branches and dried clumps of mud.

It’s time to move again.

I can’t fight time or change or new seasons.

There’s miles of creek ahead, and even though I cannot see the twists and turns that are coming, I know this:

He is still leading me.

Today, I’m waking up and believing for the first time in a long time that that is all I need to know.

My heart skips again and this time I know…………………

it’s okay.

I feel a smile forming on my face as the wall seems to be slowly coming down.

My water is beginning to move again.

It’s a different kind of current.

A quieter one.

And I think that’s what this summer behind my wall has been teaching me.

Water can be quiet and still keep moving…………

and that’s okay.

There’s no current too fast or too slow for Him to handle.

He is always there.

Leading me.

And leading you.

If you need a season of sticks and stones,

then build away.

But when it’s time and with the help of friends,

take those sticks down.

And take His hand.

Feel the gentle trickle of moving water.

It really does feel so good.

Thank you, Lord.

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