Seeing My Life as a Natural Disaster

I had this moving picture running through my mind the other night as I lazed within an early morning lucid lethargy. (It was, after all, somewhere in the neighborhood of three a.m.) However, I had the coherence to realize what I was picturing was something that most likely resembled how I envisioned my spiritual journey thus far and oddly resembling one of those “worst natural disasters” shows on the Discovery Channel . . .

I’m being rushed along by these swells of floodwaters: Rushing rapids and swirling eddies, the water a thick muddy brown with debris strewn everywhere, the water moving with surprising speed. It dawns on me that this is the rushing river of my life, cresting its flood stage, overrunning everything in its path on a headlong rush to the sea. I’m moving swiftly, bobbing along barely able to keep my head above the water as it ebbs and flows; pointlessly trying to swim upstream, sideways, this way and that; trying to reach any shore, any outcropping of land, root or tree.

Finally I see a form on a distant rise of dry land; a man, but unlike anything I’ve ever seen: A brilliant figure in a stunning white robe, glowing like lightning or the brightest midday sun and I understand this to be the depiction of God though I can’t see his face.

I swim frantically, my arms thrashing, waves crashing against my face and my body, forcing me back, pulling me relentlessly downstream. Yet somehow I make it to the edge of the shore, throwing my arms up to rest against the raised, dry ground, grabbing fiercely to the glowing white robe as if it were a lifeline, holding on with all my might against the thrashing current.

This would have been a fitting place to stop. After all, up to this point everything I’d envisioned was ripe with symbolism and deep with meaning. Yet it continued . . .

As I’m holding onto this ethereal garment I begin a concerted hand-over-hand climb using all my strength against the thrashing, beating waters. I slowly begin to pull myself away from the raging river when I notice the torrents of muddy water are splashing up onto the robe and the edges of the cloth begin to soil with the dirt and debris. I pause, wondering why? And could the mud and debris of my life’s raging river actually foul the robe of the Lord? And what would/could this possibly mean? Is the muck and dirt of my life soiling my vision or image of God? Or is the Lord willing to meet me at my river’s edge, willing to step into the filth of those waters, rescuing me as it were, from the uncontrollable torrent, mud and debris of my life?

Still I was not done . . .

As I continue to ponder this the robe begins to tear. Suddenly a large swath of fabric rips free in my hand and once again I’m carried along by the muddy rapids of my life’s floodwaters. I look at the still glowing piece of fabric in my hand and wonder if the garment of the Lord would really rip free in my grasp due to the violent pressures of the river, and what would the symbolism be here? Have I been wrenched free of the saving presence of God do to the forces and stress of my life? Or is it that even within the rushing flood of my life’s river, I carry a piece of the Lord with me?

. . . I’m not sure.

I don’t know as I’m supposed to figure it out at this point. What I do find interesting is that I don’t remember my dreams that often yet when I do, the ones I tend to recall most vividly are usually ripe with this kind of symbolism. When I’ve talked to my wife about them, she usually, almost nonchalantly, points out the most obvious implications, usually having to do with some questioning I’ve done with, or to, God; or an issue or problem I’ve been flustered over for some time.

It’s God’s language, and God’s timing; I don’t claim to understand any of it. I simply accept it, marvel in it, and take it that He still considers me one of His and still worthy of having a conversation with: Knowing full well that I won’t understand a lick of it.

Of course He’ll just smile and say, “That’s why I had you marry Cheryl.”

I’ll just shrug modestly and go, “. . . yeah.”

I think I’ll go talk to her now . . .

2 thoughts on “Seeing My Life as a Natural Disaster”

    1. Thank you, Jean. I was really hard pressed to capture the “feel” of it all. It’s probably the most descriptive I’ve gotten. I was worried I was going to get too “literary”, but that’s kinda the point to writing isn’t it?

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