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Quiet WatersPosted Friday, October 14, 2011, at 7:30 PM
By Rayla Stewart Hogue
Special to the Daily Statesman
They had been working at an exhausting pace. The deadline was upon them. They worked feverishly for twelve hours to complete the task. They ran out of supplies--purchase more supplies--worked without stopping until they were exhausted. They fell into chairs to nap for a few hours. At long last they finished--the culmination of months of work. Now they had a long drive to their homes, grieving the closure of the family home while accompanied by the sense of a job accomplished.
Conversation bounced from topic to topic as they drove along the rolling hills. Fall colors were painting the foliage around them shades of red, gold, orange, yellow, and green. The beauty began to soothe their restless minds. It was hard to let go of the fevered pitch of work and movement--to return to a restive state.
As they drove along, they came to a sign indicating a turn to a national park. They decided to take the time to drive through, walk for a bit, and hopefully calm their frenzied minds. Turning off the highway they found themselves enveloped in the quiet countryside. The narrow, curvy road slowed their pace. Yet, soon they found themselves parked and walking toward the red mill beside the spring.
Approaching the spring there was a noticeable change in the temperature--the air cooling around them. The sound of water running was soft, musical, and soothing their overstimulated minds--bodies--souls. As they approached the spring branch the three split to spend some quiet time alone.
One found an ancient tree with a perfect nook for curling into while watching the movement of water, the fall colors, and the birds and squirrels playing. Drawing upon the quiet and strength, she found herself calming. Eventually she wandered to the water, watching the interplay of light and shadow, flora and fauna.
Another one found himself drawn to the rush of the water tumbling through the wheel gate. The absolute silence of the spring pool emerged in a mighty rush into a spring branch flowing to the river several miles away. The contrast drew him, calming and soothing his fevered mind. Eventually the calm and quiet of the spring drew him to walk the trail around it as he drew peace from the quiet, still water.
The third one found a quiet place to sit beside the spring itself. Drawing within herself the incredible beauty of deep blue water, swaying water plants within the spring, and the reflection of the rock bluffs and fall-colored trees surrounding it. She also found peace and refreshment in the quietness and beauty of her surroundings.
A Psalm came to her mind:
You, LORD, are my shepherd. I will never be in need. You let me rest in fields of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life. You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won't be afraid. You are with me . . . (Psalm 23:1-4 Contemporary English Version).
As calm and strength returned the three joined one another, sharing their awe of the universe and creation. The rest of their trip passed with a renewed joy of accomplishment and pleasure in one another's company. Their lives had been refreshed. They could face whatever came their way with the strength and peace they had found beside quiet waters.
God, we often find ourselves so wrapped up in the drama of the moment or the situation that we don't take the time to listen to your still, calming voice. Help us find quiet waters where we may spend time and be refreshed. When we are afraid, whisper a reminder that you are with us and that is where we will find peace--dwelling with you. So be it. Amen.
İRayla Stewart Hogue
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Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). She seeks to recognize and embrace the unending hues of God's ethne and religion, and commits herself to living and expressing this inclusive diversity through Sacrament and the spoken, written, and sung Word of God.