As I thought about my grandmother (see yesterday’s post), I thought of one her favourite church songs. It has popped up over the last few years when I have least expected it. I heard it in a memory. I heard it as background music. I heard it sung by a small group of people while I was immersed in the baths at Lourdes. I read it in a book. I have even found myself humming the tune, singing the words, even though it has been years since I have sat down and recalled the lyrics.
As a child, I heard it sung more times than I can count in church. It was one of my favourite hymns too. It was one of those songs that moved me in ways that I couldn’t explain. The message was beautiful but I didn’t really “get it” until much later. But listening to it again, first in memory of my grandmother and second because I wanted to listen to it for the “first time,” I found another message.
This felt like another unexpected part of my preparation for homeschooling – another inquiry into my purpose as I focus on inner work before the meat of my planning.
I thought about the mountain image again.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
― John Muir, The Mountains of California
Make me a channel of your peace.
I always thought that mountains are only formed as earth’s tectonic plates collide into one another – a dynamic change to the landscape. Collision and eruption – these words imply an almost violent and cataclysmic event.
But I have recently learned that mountains can form through erosion: rivers slowly carve channels into high plateaus to form mountains between river valleys. This type of formation implies a gradual change. It sounds quite peaceful.
The origin of the word erosion comes from the Latin word erosionem, “to gnaw away.” The image of a sculptor comes to mind. Beginning with a big piece of rock, she chips away slowly, revealing the true artwork, the original creation, that was always there just waiting to be discovered.
Make me a channel of your peace.
Can I become a touchstone for peace after years of wearing away the hard exterior, the roughness of life? It is only now that I can bring the beautiful – joy, peace, love, forgiveness, comfort, understanding, gratitude, generosity, hope – to my life and to each encounter because I have chipped away the protective armour. Through having faith, I have no need to remain closed or feel like I don’t have enough to give.
I have hated myself and loved myself. I have been in darkness and in light. I have known heartbreaking sadness and ecstatic joy. I have injured and have been deeply hurt. I forgive so that I may be forgiven. I have lived with fear and doubt and now know a faith that is stronger for having lived in fear and doubt.
“The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.”
― John Muir
It has been my choice to see the world as an uplifting love song and prayer or a cacophony of noise. But I have learned that even in dissonance, I can find harmony. It is this tension of all the elements that has eroded my exterior. It is accepting it all. And it is through experiencing it all that I can choose to sing this song over and over again.
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.
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