The past few weeks have been difficult, surreal and frightening.
We are about to dig deep, deeper than we ever have before. This pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better. We are about to face shadows and reach depths we never imagined.
You can go deep in the depths of fear and darkness.
You can go deep in the depths of your center, your soul, and focus on the faith that anchors you.
Make no mistake, there will be shadows and vulnerability, but there can also be peace and grace if you allow them in.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
– Psalm 42:7
This Psalm has spoken to me for years, it is one of the few pages permanently marked in my Bible. And until today, I wasn’t exactly sure why. Now it is abundantly clear.
When I am stressed or facing difficulties, I dream I’m drowning. The circumstances are always different, but I wake gasping for breath. Sometimes great truths are revealed in such dreams, but often I am meant to work the meaning out for myself. It has always struck me as odd, that I would dream of drowning, I love the water – oceans, lakes, streams – they bring me a great sense of peace. I’ve come to realize that it’s the dualism of water’s life-giving power and its ability to powerfully sweep life away at work in my subconscious. The current situation has brought such duality into sharp focus and it indeed feels as if many of us are swept away in the fear and panic.
It is no surprise that I’ve had multiple dreams I’m drowning in the past week. The news of the virus spreading, and particularly the stories coming out of Italy, have been overwhelming. But this morning as I opened my Bible, the page marker for Psalm 42:7 literally fell in my lap and I reread the verse. “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.”
I get it now.
In this time of fear and darkness, we must dig deep. By digging deep, we undoubtedly face shadows and darkness, we are uncomfortably vulnerable. But King David knew, as he wrote this Psalm, that in the depths of despair we can find the depth of God’s grace. By stripping all the commotion, distraction and noise away, we can focus on the peace and love that anchors us in God, in faith, in the Universe.
The waves of fear are washing over us, but so is God’s love.
It is all encompassing, it engulfs you, it is impossible to escape.
And so, you face it.
You ask hard questions; you search for truth and wisdom.
You learn to listen.
You rediscover your faith, or perhaps, certain truths become clear.
I don’t know about you, but I have been in overdrive for a while; years have flown by, the to do list has grown increasingly, unceasingly long – life has been a fast-moving train despite my best efforts to slow down and savor small moments. This pandemic has forced me to reevaluate everything. Some items have completely dropped off the list, while others have soared to the top.
I am limiting my news intake, while still staying informed. I am reading more, studying scripture and other texts with more intention. I am asking hard questions and praying constantly.
King David goes on in the Psalm to say:
By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me –
a prayer to the God of my life.
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
– Psalm 42:8 & 11
I don’t know what lies ahead, but I do know that we will make it through this with resilience. We are about to go deep, but if we remember that in the depths of despair, we can find great love and grace, we will come out on the other side of this stronger and more connected to what really matters.