In this Psalm God is invoked as a refuge from life’s storms and conflicts. God is like the stony rock I find while hiking underneath which I can run when the unexpected summer storm begins to pound away with its sheets of driving rain, flashing lightning, and quaking thunder. God is like a castle I can run to whose heavy walls can defend not just against lion and wolf that prowl but the ultimate predators – other humans and our selfish ways — which prey upon the hurting, taking advantage on the downtrodden. God is like the midwife, nursemaid, maternal figure who has held us close in trials from our mother’s womb.
This morning this image draws me in.
My life is fairly good, but I have my moments where I face stresses and trials that make me want to cry “Enough!” Where I want to sit down and weep, feeling overwhelmed and unable to face what lies before me. Where I do not know how to move forward, and the weight of it all seems unfair. I know that others face even darker moments in their life’s journeys.
In such times it can feel like the onslaught is all around me, like the wind and rains we see in hurricane season off the Carolina coast. And yet the Psalmist tells me I have shelter
Through my spiritual practices of prayer, meditation, spiritual reading, mindfulness, and journaling I open myself to an awareness that I am ever surrounded by such a refuge. In this refuge who is a living God I live, I move, I have my being. Drawn into such an awareness, if but for a moment, I can lay down the burdens on my pack. I feel rest in my shoulders, my back, my weary feet. Suddenly I realize how heavy the burden I’m carrying is. And I am reminding by a silent whisper in my soul I never have needed to carry it all on my own for God walks with me. Christ stands beside me. The Spirit flows within me. And this Triune One has knit me together with so many others whom I can call on, lean on, and find support.
The morning I write these words I find myself feeling lighter, if still weary, from such trials by this realization. I find myself breathing deeper and seeing clearer. I find myself no longer so rocked and pummeled.
For a moment, I rest. And in resting I set deeper my roots into the Sacred Oneness which unites all of life. Rooting in the One I know as Father, Son, and mothering Holy Spirit and whom is known by many other names in many lands & worlds of people I find my soul becoming settled, my heart becoming open, my way becoming steadied. And I feel finally ready again to embark on the journey before me.
To me this experience of being shaken, yet finding my roots again, is beautifully described in this song of worship:
May you open yourself, in the way that opens up the path in your journey, to this living refuge. May you find yourself rooted, opened up, transformed by the loving presence that enfolds you and all of life.
And I sure ain’t whistling Dixie this morning,
Your progressive redneck preacher,