I read this illustration a while back about Icebergs. It is not what you see, but what you don’t see that will sink the ship.
I always try and pursue a full day of SPACE, quiet, and solitude during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It has been a sacred time for me over the years. It has proven to be a rich time with moments of real clarity for the coming year. During this time, I often ask God for words or a phrase that He wants me to focus on for the coming year.
After a few hours of wrestling, slowing down, and being reminded that in order to hear…I first need to listen…really listen…eventually, the words started to come and the themes for my year began to emerge.
So much began to come to mind as I started to journal on those themes.
Then something unexpected happened. I was at one of my favorite spots about an hour from where I live. During a short hike, I began to wonder if there was anything that was blocking me from a deeper connection with God as I head into 2017. Soon, my hiking path came out behind a high school. It was a rival high where my youngest son had played many games and had many track meets throughout his high school years. It was a basketball gym where he’d had a couple of record-setting performances–a place where college coaches began to take notice, and the exciting world of recruitment began to happen. In the midst of this rush of memories, came this surge of emotion. Pain. Even anger. I could literally feel my body tighten up.
During Dylan’s junior year, his dream of division one basketball was becoming a reality. But then, life happened. Literally the day after his dream school began to recruit him, he fell with his first major injury. What followed were three, mostly unsuccessful, sports hernia surgeries, some crushing disappointment, and a four-year journey with physical pain that has not left him to this day.
As I stood behind this high school, all this emotion, disappointment and frustration emerged again, and all the questions came back. Why did God so clearly gift Dylan with the talents and life dream, yet seemingly block him from what he was so passionate about? Why did Dylan not get to enjoy his ultimate dream, even for one day, before struggle and disappointment came knocking? Why does he continue to struggle with pain? Why do I still feel so much disappointment and even anger over this?
You see, until this day of SPACE and solitude, I didn’t know how much I was still wrestling with the story Dylan has lived. The passions, the joy, the amazing memories, but also the anger and struggle. The memories of all those surgeries and doctors visits, and the deep disappointment with God came right to the surface. I can feel them in my chest as I write this. It seems clear that what was just under the surface is having impact on me, physically and otherwise, in a big way.
What followed that hike was some much needed honestly with God. We will see where it all leads in my own journey.
With a certain heaviness I continued my day of solitude and SPACE. When I get quiet and try my best to listen, I never know what is going to come to the surface…