And at last the dust of my life is settling just enough for the writing to return.
What shall I say for this season?
I have never moved before. I’ve read and heard many stories of people who grew up in families that moved around the United States or even the world, but those were always strange to me. I grew up rather rooted in a small space, my sweet hometown that is just big enough for me to feel like I’m from a genuine city, but never so big that the people there lost the charm that makes them Oklahoman. It is strange now, on the outskirts of a major city, to find the people so much changed from my own folk. I think some of them are put off that I can’t help but smile at strangers and that it isn’t unusual for me to stop and talk for a while during a business transaction at a store. As many people as discredit my sweet city for being not-enough-this or too-much-that, I will say that my hometown is a light on the map.
Now, all of the sudden, I’m rubbing elbows with what’s entirely different geographically and demographically. And a lot of them don’t use turning signals when they drive.
But He’s here.
Jesus is here as much as He is home. Jesus is here and He is home. He’s here and He’s still breathing layers of dust off of my life. Either He’s taking the process rather slowly or there are far more layers to shed than I ever imagined. The process also has to be Him, because I’ve watched people move and make immense changes to their lives and not every process of change brings them to greater life or fuller vibrancy. I only know that the quiet undertow beneath this steady rhythm of working, praying, sleeping, speaking feels something like the Blue Hole.
The Blue Hole of Santa Rosa is an 80-foot deep, 80-feet wide hole in New Mexico. I didn’t think much of it when I first saw it. Everything around it is dust like the rest of the region (what I saw of it while we were driving on our way to Arizona, that is), but the hole itself is incredibly blue and to me, unthinkably deep.
The surface is so perfectly placid. A rocky ledge rises up to one side of it and people like to jump off into the waters. I was invited to jump in by the friends that were there with me, but I have to admit that when I looked in and realized that the blueness just became darker and darker and darker blue until it was nothing but deep blackness, I couldn’t bring myself to get in. Something about swimming in waters so pure but so deep that I could not discern the bottom was unnerving to me, so I sat on the edge and read the sign instead.
The Blue Hole is one of several like it in the region, but the mystery is that they are all interconnected by an underground river whose current runs down at the bottom of this deep, artesian well. I wondered that the water on the surface could be so absolutely perfect, so motionless, and yet almost 80 feet down there was a strong, rushing current that could even pull the scuba divers that trained there into its stream.
I believe there are times when the Lord wants to do something so deep in His people that from the outside looking in, the untrained eye would never notice. I believe there are fountains of living water springing up into eternal life that are so deep they subterranean and that often real treasure is hidden in earthen vessels; dusty pots. I believe that for some reason, the Lord really enjoys hiding riches in fields and giving Himself to His people in quiet rooms, where secret decisions are made that will never become a podcast or an Instagram post or a sermon. He builds quiet, artesian wells and hides His rushing rivers in them.
That’s how life feels for me – like deep and mighty currents are running and sometimes even I can’t perceive them. In the meantime back up on the surface I’m still scrambling around trying to understand a city that uses trash bag tags instead of a monthly-payment trash service and a neighborhood that loves pizza and chicken wings so much they’ve got three wing and pizza places next door to each other, but I’ve got to say, it is well with my soul.