Soaking in the Source of Life
By: Susan Deborah Schiller
There is a reservoir of beauty and truth hidden beneath the surface of outward life. It can be tapped into, like a tree taps into the underground springs.
I call it "soaking" because in those moments of solitude, silence, and seeking God in the darkness is like tapping into an underground reservoir of peace, joy, and love. I still my mind and let God take me anywhere he wants, even the scary places.
There is beauty and truth in the darkness, in the stillness, deep within our own souls. Tapping into the Source, by whatever name we give the Creator of the universe forms a tap root by which we can stand.
We may be swayed, yet we stand.
We may be assaulted, but we still stand.
In fact, the greater the adversity, the deeper our tap root will be. We smile, even grin, in the face of disaster.
David must have pondered such things, too, for he often wrote about his experiences with "wicked people". He channeled his questions and doubts into psalms. He formulated his core beliefs as he prayed, sang, and strummed his melodies.
"that person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers." — Psalm 1
The storms of life don't bend or break that type of person, because they have a tap root that cannot be moved. It's rooted in the deep underground river of life… the "Living Water" Jesus promised the woman at the well.
But for sinners, what a different story! They blow away like chaff before the wind. They are not safe on Judgment Day; they shall not stand among the godly. For the Lord watches over all the plans and paths of godly men, but the paths of the godless lead to doom. – Psalm 1
This past week I was out exploring in the mountains and I came upon a massive section of hillside that had completely eroded, a slide that took out half a mountain it seemed. But there was one tree left standing in that cave in in that caught my attention.
An old Ponderosa showed me that no matter how fierce the trials may be, that it's possible to succeed by simply standing, as long as you've got deep roots.
This tree had already survived two major forest fires. And now it's once again standing while the rest of the hillside sinks down the mountain.
Here you can see about 8-feet of hillside shoved into its trunk. Trees to the left and right crashed and fell. But this tree stood. These deep crevices, some a couple dozen feet deep, are spread out all over the mountainside, many of them full of blackened tree trunks lying in decay.
Not many trees survived the fire of 2012 in this part of Montana. This one survived the fire of '08 and the fire of '12, plus a severe drought, and now this massive erosion. I have hope for this one. It's going to thrive and live a long life! It will succeed. It's got deep roots; it's tapped into the Source of Life.
What does it mean to be tapped into the Source of Life, to get that strong, deep tap root?
Perhaps the deepest reservoir of life is discovered in the sea of suffering, as we dive into the abyss of despair. It's a paradox, to be sure, but I have found it to be the greatest truth. Pain is a gift. There is beauty in death.
Maybe our perception of beauty must begin with a more genuine experience of suffering. In contemplating the suffering of Christ, in particular, we see a beauty which took on our infirmities and overcame their darkness. It is a challenging beauty, but a powerful one—with power to transform our own suffering and lack of beauty. It is a beauty that shakes us to the core, which illuminates us, and ultimately is the beauty that will save the world. – CrisisMagazine.com
Perhaps those very challenges in your own life are chiseling your character until you are formed in His image, a masterpiece of authentic beauty!
Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond. If we acknowledge that beauty touches us intimately, that it wounds us, that it opens our eyes, then we rediscover the joy of seeing, of being able to grasp the profound meaning of our existence. – Pope Benedict XVI
Is there something beautiful God wants to bring forth through you?
Writing Prompt: What role does the pursuit of beauty and truth play in your life today? What rituals, practices, and exercises do you employ to allow beauty to soak into your life? Can you create art, sing or dance, or write a story about this pursuit?
You know me… I'm always doing these activations alongside you. I am currently experimenting with poetry. Those of you who are poets, please don't laugh! But there's something about the image I used to begin this poem, called "Thorns" that made me weep long before the words came. The sadness it evoked brought a deep, deep sense of beauty along with it.
I hope you enjoy my little poem, "Thorns," but I hope even more, that you will have the courage to create something beautiful today and to share it with others, when you're ready!
It's a daily practice. What little surprise did God throw into your path? Let's celebrate the beauty and allow the source of Life to soak into our roots. Let's be a tree planted by streams of water…
With all my love,
Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she is learning to navigate to freedom and fullness.
Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.
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