I took a walk down to the edge of the lake this afternoon. Considering our house is only a matter of feet from said lake, that doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment. But it was the first time I have been out in the fresh air for any length of time since coming down with covid two weeks ago.
We recently moved, and I’ve got to tell you, I’m still struggling to see this as my home. The house is great. It couldn’t suit our family better. But it’s the place, the surroundings, the environment, the atmosphere that still feels so foreign. The wildlife has done its best to welcome me, sporting its beauty up and down the road and through our back and front yards — pheasants, deer, otters, innumerable squirrels, ducks, eagles, songbirds galore, and even a porcupine. But it’s not just the wildlife that gives this place a sense of wildness. Everything about it is rough and rugged. And I’m still having trouble embracing it. I miss the rolling green hills of my gentle island. I miss the rich red soil of its potato fields and the fine white sand of its dunes. I miss the sunshine and the vibrant colours. Nova Scotia is a little drab and wet and foggy and rocky. Its colour pallet is right on trend with those grey tones that have been all the rage in home decorating in recent years.
Today was one of the rare sunny days. I sat in the sunshine on some of the boulders and waited while a few moments of my day unfolded. Our lake is fairly shallow so the least amount of wind stirs it up. The waves haphazardly splashed the rocks at the shoreline, every so often sending a spray as far up as where I sat. True to form, a little squirrel scampered by, pausing by my foot for just a moment to greet me nervously out of the corner of his eye. A pair of Canada geese flew by, in perfect synchrony, wing to wing, their long necks pointing the way to wherever they were hurrying.
Skinny spruces shivered above me in the breeze. The branches, with their light fingertips of new growth, really did look like hands clapping excitedly. It’s not just the trees “of the field” that do that, I guess. Apparently this joy can overtake trees by a lake too. Maybe they were catching a bit of the sky’s proclamation of the glory of God. Yes, how it would change our perception of God if there were no expanse stretched high above to lift our heads in wonder. And what about these rocks? Aren’t they supposed to be “crying out”? I suppose in a way, they are. They stand there so obtrusively. They’re not getting out of anybody’s way! They plant themselves solid and seem to say, “Look at me! Aren’t I something? I’ll still be here long after you’re not.” Their audacity is almost admirable. Even monstrous glaciers could do no more than scratch their surface.
I miss my gentle island, but maybe all of this, right here, is what I really need right now. Nova Scotia, I need your ruggedness, your fortitude, your grit and guts, your determination, and your boldness. I need you to show me how to withstand the wind of a raging storm and still shiver in unabashed praise. I need you to teach me how to stand immovable, for all to see, despite my glacial scars, and not shy away from my calling in this season. Nova Scotia, I may not want you right now, but you are what I need!
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.I Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)