Advent: a time to calm the turbulent waters

Lake Norman at Catawba, NC

It was a week of leaks: A leaky underground pipe flooded my yard, a leaky roof damaged the bathroom wall, and a leaky ice maker dumped water instead of ice. I was feeling a little overwhelmed. I want my fix-it days to be a thing of the past. All of these unpleasant tasks mingled with the complexity of making plans for the holidays.  

Needless to say, I wasn’t in the most receptive mood when I went down to the dock to pray that morning. The dense fog didn’t help. With each heavy footfall upon the ramp leading to the dock, the floats underneath launched a new set of waves on the water. The dock is on a cove, so the waves bounced off the opposite shore and returned with gusto, crashing into the original waves and creating chaos on the surface. The usual serene reflections were gone. I could see nothing but agitation on the surface and impenetrable fog beyond – an unambiguous metaphor for my present state of mind.

As I began to pray the psalms in the breviary my agitation began to lessen. The psalmists are good at sounding a powerful lament that resonates with my frustration, yet always returning to praise God for his faithfulness.  The psalmists spoke to my current situation and my spirit quelled. The angry inner voices became silent. 

As my spirit began to settle, so did the water’s surface. The fog began to lift.  Much to my amazement, the reflection on the smooth surface of the water revealed the unmistakable image of the cross (see picture).  Wow.

There are a few lessons here. Just as my agitation spread, so did my calm. I have the power to influence my world both ways. In addition, when I was agitated I couldn’t see clearly. When I finally settled down and surveyed the landscape, the ‘present sufferings’ paled in comparison to the ‘glory yet to be revealed’. (Rom 8:18) 

Advent is a time to quiet that inner turbulence, smooth the chaotic waters of the world around you, and acquire vision to see the glories yet to be revealed. It is a time to heed the words of the Lord speaking to you: “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps 46)

Blessings on your Advent!