Monday, July 11, 2011

Sandpaper and Waterfalls

My hands feel like sandpaper right now, so much so that I'm afraid to touch my bedspread or nice clothes because my hands are so rough I might snag the fabric.  I suppose that makes sense because I spent the whole morning Friday sanding our bathroom cabinets, finally getting around to a project that Emmett and I had planned long ago. I blasted an old worship mix I made for Emmett's iPod and shut myself in our tiny bathroom for about 3 hours, not stopping until may arms were about to fall off.

I've had to be intentional about reintroducing music into my life.  Emmett was always my music filter, bringing me new music and encouraging me to broaden my tastes.  After he got sick, listening to music gave Emmett so much pain that he gradually gave it up.  I've been listening to many of our old mixes as I can and searching for new music as well.  It was a blessing just to sit and work and let so many of the songs we loved flow over me.

So I sang, prayed, talked to myself, wrote blogs in my head that I've already forgotten.  I talked to Emmett a little bit, tried to channel some of his attention to detail, and got thoroughly grimy from the dust.  It was a nice morning.  It's still strange to have nice mornings.

I felt like the Lord was working on my soul as I worked on those cabinets.  I was reminded of a song that later played in the mix by Emmett's college roommate, Jeff, that I believe they recorded in our first apartment together.  I don't even know if the song was ever recorded again, but it is about the place Emmett and Jeff used to camp in college, Jones Gap, in Traveler's Rest, SC.  Emmett took me camping there for our first anniversary, and from the first time I heard the song, I've loved it.   Now it seems to express where I am perfectly, so here are the words:

Way up off highway 11
You can follow this old road a couple miles
You find yourself at the gates of heaven
Step outside and feel the earth smile

Gentle brook song and poplar grove.
A ringneck snake and a cool breeze.
And the way the hemlocks grow 
Will make you weak in the knees 

And God's a river falls,
From the mountains through my heart,
Polishing jagged rocks into smooth stones,
wearing away, giving me new life.

So follow this water up through the hills.
Sometimes walking is all you need.
Leave the destination to his will.
Let each step bring a little peace.

And God's a river falls,
From the mountains through my heart,
Polishing jagged rocks into smooth stones,
wearing away, giving me new life.

So feel the rhythm beneath your feet.
A simple thrill is creation's call.
If you follow where it leads,
I'll met you there where the river falls. 

And God's a river falls,
From the mountains through my heart,
Polishing jagged rocks into smooth stones,
wearing away, giving me new life.

My soul feels very much like my hands right now.  This process of polishing, of intentionally and patiently and relentlessly wearing away at my soul, has left me feeling so rough and unkempt that I feel unfit even to form words right now, afraid I might snag someone else's spirit unintentionally.  Consequently, I seem to be speaking through other people's songs, instead of saying anything really new.

And yet, I'm encouraged to know that there really is a communion deeper than words in the body of believers, that somehow, despite our quirks and differences, our various trials produce the same depth of grace.  Whatever our struggle, the Lord presents us each with the opportunity to dwell ever more richly in his grace, to have our false selves gradually worn away, and to find the sweet new life that comes when we meet him where the river falls.  May we have eyes to see, not only how God is wearing each of us down, but may we also see how he is creating each one of us anew in his image.  And in his grace may we carry each other to that river.  Amen.

5 comments:

  1. You have a beautiful heart. Thank you.

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  2. reminds of that bit in that little book you love, where the water joyfully flings itself down the falls. i can't read that book without thinking of you, and i'm okay with that!

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  3. I really don't know anything about anything in your life right now, so take this suggestion with a cup of salt. :-)

    The title of this entry reminded me of another song, "Sand & Water" by Beth Neilson Chapman. There's a whole album with the same name. It's filled with good writing.

    http://www.amazon.com/Sand-Water-Beth-Nielsen-Chapman/dp/B000002NDY

    Now don't let the "too close to home" aspect of this album scare you off. I honestly didn't know the backstory to the album before I looked it up on Amazon. It's just that your blog-entry title was so similar... maybe it's a God thing... I'm a humble guy, though... Maybe it's *not*

    Just a thought. Best blessings.

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