We had many of them over the last four months of our sabbatical. Sitting. Hiking. Reading. Relaxing. Recharging. Resting. Beside a stream or river. The song was melodious, glorious and soothing.
Three places stand out. The McKenzie River in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. The Little Pigeon River in Tennessee. And the snow-fed summer streams of Logan Pass in Glacier National Park in Montana. Recharging stations. Life-giving. Healing. Awe-inspiring.
During three days of solitude at St. Benedict’s Catholic Retreat Center on the glacier-fed McKenzie, my wife Linda, said it best: “Without the rocks in the river, there would be no song.” Rocks create the melody. Rivers and streams without boulders are silent. They have no song to sing. Rocks create the tune. It becomes a rock concert. A boulder symphony.
Think about your life. You experience the greatest level of gratitude in the moments right after you realize how tragic a different outcome might have been. You revel in God’s amazing grace the most when your eyes are opened to how wretched your motives or actions really are. You feel the greatest exhilaration when you’ve just climbed over a huge obstacle that has been standing in your way. The joy of that first cry of a newborn comes only after a difficult and painful labor. Without the rocks, there would be no concert. No symphony. No melody.
I’m like you. I rarely enjoy the obstacles that I encounter during the journey. At the moment, I usually consider them to be more noise than music. It is often after-the-fact that I realize the lovely melody that has been created in my life because of a difficulty, an obstacle, a hardship, a tragedy, or a challenge.
Here’s a great reminder for me from the Bible, “When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you” (James 1:2-5 NLT).
Obstacles in the riverbed of my life are an opportunity for joyful music. Any day and every day, I will choose music over noise. How about you?
QUESTION: What “rocks” in your life right now have the potential for creating a beautiful song? I’d love to have you share in the comment section below.
For more photos of the beauty captured during our sabbatical, go to www.GingerichPhotoArt.com