We are just back from vacation. We spent last week at Lake Wallenpaupack in the Poconos. It was a wonderful time with family, and dogs, and Julia even brought the 2 cats. The cats came because Hank needs a special kidney diet and Monty is a kitten and needs kitten food - so breakfast and dinner require close supervision and she thought that might be a lot to ask of our farm sitters. She was probably right.
One of the great things about being away is coming home. I miss everyone, but I am glad to be back in my own bed, in my own kitchen, and actually back to my own responsibilities.
Vacation on the water is the best. I love being on the water. When I was a little girl we lived just outside of Boston. The beach was a short drive away, and I remember my Mom just deciding some days we'd take a picnic to the beach. We also swam at a pond, instead of a pool. There were 2 docks, a raft and a swimming area roped off. I remember the left dock was nice and sandy, but there was muck near the right dock and I got the heebie-jeebies every time I swam that way. Not often, I'll tell you.
When I was in nursing school my parents had friends who had a sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay. Long story short, they bought the boat, and I LOVED sailing on the Chesapeake. Dad told me if I ever wanted to take the boat out on my own I'd have to take a course - and since I lived in Alexandria, VA at the time the Coast Guard had just such a course. I don't think he really thought I'd do it, but I passed and actually did take that boat out a few times.
(Fun fact: the first time Dad took me and my sisters out for our first sailing weekend, we were on a charter boat called Fiddler's Green. It was very similar to the one their friends had, the one they ultimately bought. While we were at the lake last week I spotted a sailboat - Fiddler's Green! It was like seeing an old friend!)
My Aunt Nancy and Uncle Bill had a house on a lake in Alabama. I used to love going there, too. Mostly for the water skiing and swimming, but my cousins' cute friends added to the attraction, I admit.
When our kids were small we began to enjoy vacationing at the Outer Banks in NC. Julia was almost two when Mom and Dad began renting a house at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia (the sailboat had been sold years before). Before too many years passed they bought a house of their own there. We spent vacations on the dock, reading, napping, swimming - and of course waterskiing and tubing. The kids loved tubing. I volunteered to tube with the toddlers because I thought that would be safer for me, the big coward that I am (maybe not so badass after all - but pretty badass that I can admit that).
Anyway, you get the idea. I love water. And I was reminded of this last week as I was swimming. It was getting to be late afternoon, and the lake wasn't too busy but there were some ripples in the water, and the sun hit it just so and it sparkled.
Sparkling water is something that always brings me joy. I had a dream when I was pregnant with Jeff. In the dream I was standing on a bridge over a rocky creek. Jay was a little ways away playing in the water, and the sun was sparkling on the water just like on the lake last week. I woke up - that was all there was to the dream. I was still working at the hospital at the time, so I asked one of the psychiatric clinicians if she could interpret the dream for me. She asked how I felt when I woke up - I felt happy and peaceful and I wanted to go back into the dream (do you ever have those?). She told me it was my psyche telling me that everything was fine with the baby.
Who knows if that interpretation is correct, but everything was fine with the baby, and I think that was when sun sparkling on water came to signify, for me, that God is present.
We live in a time when everything is in such turmoil. As I am writing the skies are overcast, and I understand from the paper that it is the result of the fires on the west coat. A hurricane is over the gulf coast and is apparently moving quite slowly, which doesn't bode well for flooding. I saw in the paper this morning that there was another police shooting of a Latino man - this time in Lancaster, PA, which has led to more riots. Stories of corruption, conspiracy theories and lies are making this campaign even uglier than usual. And, of course, there is the virus.
I've been reading the book of Jeremiah. God is speaking to God's people through the prophet, because God has had it with them. God is going to wipe them out and leave their corpses rotting on the streets - not a pretty picture. I can't help but see our own society reflected on those pages. We have rejected God, we have defiled God's creation. We don't care for and love each other as we are commanded.
And yet the sun still sparkles on the water. God still loves us. God is with us, whether we see God in the rippling water, the clouds, the smiles of our children, the movement of the leaves - wherever and whatever is meaningful to us.
My word for today is JUSTICE. I'm not sure how I can do justice, but the first step is to repent. I am repenting by reading. I've just finished Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America by Jeff Chu. I've started How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. I've also started Who Will Be a Witness: Igniting Activism for God's Justice, Love, and Deliverance by Drew G.I.Hart.
I don't know how to fix things but I know they are broken. The longer we turn our heads, the harder it is going to be.
But God is still with us. The sun does still sparkle on the water, at least for now.
(This picture was taken in Alaska when we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary).