Every summer my family and I vacation in a tiny cabin on the lake. We have 4 days in disconnect to civilization, while vitally connected to the world around us, to the children at our feet. We hook worms and wait patiently by the still water for a bite. We spend so much time in the water that our skin wrinkles and puckers. We 4-wheel into the woods and find felled beech tree bark and other kid-treasures that are plunked into pockets by dirty fingers. We take those treasures home and add them to the ever-growing altar.
In those lake moments, we all come so fully alive that the thought of anything stressful simply slips through the gaps, like tiny pebbles in a big net. Although there are so many bodies inconveniently crammed into this cabin, nobody minds the subtle stuffiness or the long waits for their turn in the bathroom. What changes from those moments in the cramped cabin to the lives we lead in our home? The home where the space between us is significant enough that we can disappear from each other altogether?
It's easier to slip away from each other when there's a choice though, isn’t it? When there's corners to hide in, we tend to retreat instead of confronting reconciliation. It's easier to let the little things fester and build when you're thrust back into lists and schedules. In the intimacy of the cabin, there's nowhere to run. If the walls of the cabin begin to close in, you go out into the wide and wonderful world and breathe, finding your way back to peace so quickly. When you look into the ever-moving motion of water, you see the reflection of who you really are. Water is fluid and gentle and revealing and forgiving. At home, in the industrial mirror of man, it's too easy to see the buildup of dirt that your own hand creates.
I feel more whole by the water. I love my children best when I'm by the water. The anxiety that weighs me down is at bay, and it's so easy to be. I am my best self when I'm sitting in the hammock by the nighttime fire watching my children over-roast their marshmallows. Catching crayfish with my boys as they squeal with delight, discovering a hidden path, finding wild turkey feathers, and drinking water straight from the ground of a natural spring, grounds us all in the realities that we were made for simplicity.
We find healing in the water, not by some magical driving force, but the realization that the water gently carries us to: that we were made for connection, not just to this beautiful earth, but to each other.