What's in your stream?
In June, I’ll be walking 13 miles in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society, so I’ve been doing some training walks in recent weeks. My latest walk was along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal. It was very peaceful, and a very pleasant way to walk 10+ miles.
As I walked, I watched the ripples of raindrops, and the wind making little waves on the surface of the canal. It made me think that life is a bit like a stream of water.
For most of us, most of the time life flows along quite steadily. It might rain a bit, or be a little windy, but that doesn’t have much effect on the general flow. It might briefly affect the surface, but once the rain stops and the wind dies down, the stream flows along as before, unaffected and unchanged.
Sometimes, however, the weather becomes rather more stormy. If the storm is particularly fierce, it might stir up the silt, the mud and the stones on the stream bed. The storm will pass, but it might take a bit longer for the stream to settle again. It might have stirred up things that have lain dormant for a number of years, but now they’ve been disturbed they need to be dealt with in order for the stream to flow smoothly again.
At other times, stones or branches might fall or be dropped into our stream, which might have the same effect of stirring things up. And other things will be dropped into our stream at times too. Perhaps it feels as though other people have dumped their rubbish in our stream, or maybe we get involved in things that muddy our own waters.
When this happens, we need to take time to clean out our stream so we can flow properly again. Perhaps this won’t take long – maybe the rubbish is quickly chucked out of the water before it has a chance to pollute, or to embed itself. At other times, though, it might take a bit longer. It might have had a more significant effect on us, and we need to do some serious work to clean things out.
What we can be sure of, though, is that help is always available to clean out our stream and to get things back on track. Jesus is always there, and will always help us deal with the tough stuff. And sometimes we need to ask others that we know and trust too, to give us a hand. That’s okay – and very necessary. Human beings were created to be in community, to love and support one another.
So next time you feel as though your stream has been disturbed, whether by the storms of life or by uninvited rubbish, recognise it, acknowledge it and do everything you need to in order to clear it out before it gets a chance to settle. Because if it does settle, it will only be stirred up again in the future.