Lower still

A week ago today I was hiking to the top of the beautiful Hanging Lake in Colorado. A week from today I’ll be arriving at my new home in France.

This week is the in-between, and beauty holds on both sides.

All the way up to the spot where the lake hangs and the waters blaze emerald, I passed the water rushing downward. Up and up we climbed to see the source. The destination was to find the birthplace of this water: a truly breathtaking sight…


Above the lake, the water bursts through a rocky hole and spews white wonder out into the world, crashing down with mighty weight. The air becomes mist and the observers become mystified. I sit and watch the water rage, follow it upward over the top of the mountain, watch the clouds drift past the tree tops. I watch it trickle down the rocky walls, spill over formations of mossy stone. I watch it on its way down, on its way lower.


This lake rests fragile upon delicate edges and so do I, so does the world. When boundaries are fine and our hearts are a delicate ecosystem, what happens when people and circumstances pound down on us with surprisingly strong force? If we stop it all up, harden our walls, build up our edges, will we be able to carry the load? Without releasing, the weight of the constant rising water becomes too powerful for even the most robust. It will break. We will break. Our attempts to shut off, keep out, grow thicker…they don’t work. In the end, they break us.


What makes this lake so stunning is that the water is always passing through: it doesn’t have to sit stagnant like the others. Life constantly moves through it, and the flowing in and flowing over may make it seem like it dances on a fine line, but it’s less breakable than we think. It is exposed and bare and that makes it beautiful. It stays clear because it runs clear. Water pours in, fills, and then oozes out. But not just water – debris, dirt, dead tree leaves, trash – it all finds its way in sometimes. But because it lets go, it all can find its way back out.


We weren’t meant to hold onto anything, truly. Good, bad, beautiful, ugly…we must receive it, and release it. Even the good things, even the beautiful things. If we hold on for too long, even the most wonderful things can become rotten. So don’t dam up the good or the bad: pour the good back out and let go of the trash.

Life comes with surrender. Freedom comes when we let go of what we got, and what we didn’t.

And here’s the other thing about water: it always wants to go lower. We can learn a lesson from this. Lay bare, be exposed, crack those walls and let them break…and head lower, sprint lower. Seep deeper and deeper and what you’ll find there is unlike anything you could ever imagine. Don’t waste any time. Always be seeking out a deeper place of worship. Always be bending knees and folding yourself further down, because it is in that place that we become lifted up again. That we become the rising mist, the forming dew, the humble love to behold.

So if you, like me, have been dammed up for a long time, let’s let that last blow crack open our stony walls and open up our glorious release. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of holding back, for the freedom set before me already tastes so much sweeter than all the weight behind these walls.




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