Every day in our life's journey holds its own special treasures, if we have eyes to see...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Choosing Relationship

Choose Relationship. 

That was the phrase I woke up with this morning, and with it a picture and a perspective to ponder...

We need truths. We do. They anchor us in life, like the North Star, like Mt. Shasta above the surrounding mountains, like the sun ever rising in its strength. But truth is tricksy, for while it is immovable-- a pivot, the axis on which life revolves--it is comprehended by beings who at best will only grasp a portion of its entirety--the individual portion we see and understand.

Truth is also a bit like a rock on which the waves crash. They rush upon it, kiss it, embrace it--but ultimately break and run off, and the rock is left alone. Relationships with people are like the ocean that swirls; connected, cohesive, filling everything. It teems with life, it sustains life and is a thing of beauty and wonder. While I agree that a rock can be beautiful too, it has no life in it nor can it sustain life within its makeup. Yet a rock encompassed by, washed with, and adorned by the acean illustrates the lovely interplay between truth and relationships.

I'm also pondering the difference between believing truth and being right, and the sad fact that if we choose being right (defending truth as we see it) over relationship with someone who may not be seeing truth from our perspective, it will erode our connection. And if we consistently choose our definition of right over our our relational connection with another person, we will destroy the bridge that links them to us.

Being right is not the same thing as embracing truth, and needing to be right results in choosing truth as we see it over a person we may love but with whom we disagree. When we do this, the truth becomes a shell, a structure devoid of the life that it might have held and even if our "right" thing is an important truth, we lose any chance of it healing, helping, or enriching people when we defend our truth as if it is more valuable than they are.

And one last analogy: Truth is a banqueting table loaded with food. Needing to be right--defending our truth at the cost of relationship--is like placing the table within sight, but barring all entrance to partaking. Ah, but if we can share that truth in a way that values the other person and preserves the relationship, we put silverware in their hand and make room for them to dine!

I'm not advocating that we abandon truth or partner with error in order to get along, but rather that relationship with people remains priority so that our presentation of the truth is done with connection in mind. The alternative--interacting with our perceptions of truth--fine-tuning them, rehearsing them, finding comfort in them by reiterating them to ourselves and to anyone we haven't already alienated by elevating being right over relationship is a very sad and lonely way to live.

Choosing relationship is a thing of beauty and a joy forever :-) 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Finding Gold

Like a day out of a dream-scape, the sky-hued creek flows through the green hollow.

Winter-bare trees hug hills of velvet , looking down upon a scene that might have been taken from the goldrush days more than a century and a half before. We, gold seekers for the afternoon, bend over our pans of streambed gravel.

In a patient process that alternates agitation with a gentle slipping of the layer that has risen to the top, bit by bit we reduce the contents of our pans, careful not to wash so vigorously that the gold we court with such care slips out with the sand.


Bit by bit we reduce the contents until there, hugging the pan in the midst of the final clean grains of sand, a piece of gold smiles up at us. Apart from the thrill of history and the magic of walking where gold seekers of 1849 also walked, I am struck with the process of panning itself and the strong parallels between the search for physical gold and the finding of treasure in realms other than the world we see with our eyes.

More washing
Almost always, gold is hidden away from plain sight,
and certainly we see none as we survey this particular Northern California creek. But that's to be expected. Below the ripples where the water slows, we scoop up a mixture of dirt, sand, and gravel, and to the accompaniment of birdsong, we wash the mud from the sand and gravel, agitating, stratifying, rinsing until the water runs clear.


When looking at all the gravel and mud, it may be hard to believe any treasure exists. It's tempting to give up half-way or almost at the end, when nothing has yet come to light. And not every pan shows "color". We may wash through three or four shovels of stream bed for every litle piece of gold. Still, the truth remains: real gold lies hidden there.

In much the same way, whether treasure obscures itself in the hearts and souls of the people around us; lies quiet in the every-day-ness of our own lives; or waits in the realm of the Spirit for us to find that which the God of creation  has hidden for us, the analogy holds true. Value and worth is there, but rarely does it lie on the surface--easily seen, easily found. No, we must search for it, eyes ever watchful for the gleam, and sometimes, there is much mud, sand, and gravel to sift through before something of  value shines out.

It was a good afternoon, full of friends and laughter and fresh air, more precious than the small bits of gold we found. Indeed, mere gold cannot compare to the wonders awaiting discovery within ourselves, our fellow man, our kind Creator.


Even one glimpse into these eternal realms surpasses mere earthly wealth, for to know each other, to know ourselves, and to know God in His infinite beauty--these are quests grand enough to last a lifetime, worthy of countless days spent thus pursuing.

And to each goldseeker belongs the knowledge that of all things they could do in this life, what they have chosen and the treasure they find will remain long after the riches of this earth have perished.