I began 2022 writing about mountains, specifically being caught off guard by the sudden appearance of mountains in my path that I didn’t see coming. I wrote about God’s faithfulness and expertise in moving mountains. What I didn’t know was that would not be the end of the 2022 mountains.
Some are my mountains. Some are yours which impact my heart.
Some of the mountains, volcanic ones, are erupting in many communities nationwide through school board elections which have generated lies, weird endorsements and troubling dividing dynamics.
Our Supreme Court is leaking, and people are once again marching the streets. Covid is still real and looming. People close to me have it now, despite the waning number of cases. Whole denominations are splitting over who to love. The Judd sisters lost their mom, Naomi, this week to mental health issues after singing one of my favorite songs, Love Can Build a Bridge, at the Country Music Awards. It left some of us wondering if maybe love can’t build a bridge over some mountains.
Prices are rising. The stock market is on a wild ride. The devastating war in Ukraine won’t stop. Our precious planet is melting. And mostly all we do is point angry fingers blaming each other.
In our private lives there are new diagnoses to tend to, relationships that are tipping toward breaking, estrangements, disappointments, drama and a never-ending feeling of this is all too much. Oh, and the grief…so much lost, too much to process, layer on layer, wave on wave.
Just this week someone close to me said to me, how much more can we take?
I’m usually not speechless but that question silenced me.
I almost didn’t write all this down because it is too depressing, too overwhelming. I finally did write it because sometimes it helps to see it all in one place and know we are not alone. None of us have escaped this list. We carry it together. It overlaps and sloshes into each of our lives and hearts. I’m sure I even left some things out.
When your head hits your pillow at night, when you wake up in the morning, what are you thinking about? I bet it is some version of this messy stuff, these mountains we’ve encountered.
This morning, with all this on my mind, I picked up my journal and a book, interestingly titled The Mountain is You by Brianna Wiest. It isn’t even a religious book. I’ve learned God loves using ALL manner of things to reach us.
Wiest wrote about Deep Down. Deep Down is the inner peace connected to our deep internal knowing that everything is okay. She describes it as associated with spiritual practices for centuries. She quotes Albert Camus, In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
She reminds us it is possible to live your whole life from the deep calm, peace-filled place. The Deep Down isn’t shaken by fears or media buzz or bad things or even good things. It is the pool of tranquility God places in our hearts and fills with the Holy Spirit, the comforter. I feel my deep down physically from my heart down into my stomach.
The Deep Down has also been described like a large lake. Our thoughts, actions and events outside of us are like stones tossed in the water creating ripples. We don’t need to control the ripples or try to make them stop. We just need to be still enough to watch the ripples calm on their own.
She writes, Inner peace is not something you have to create, it is something you just return to. (The Mountain is You, page 212.)
The mountains are real. The ripples are real. Sometimes the ripples feel more like a tsunami. The question, how much more can we all take? is a valid one. The answer is hidden in the deep down.
God, we know you can move mountains so we dare to believe you can bring us back, again and again to the Deep Down where your peaceful spirit lives. Amen
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor and Mosa to Keller, Pace and River. To read more blogs, to see her speaking events or to sign up for Cindy’s Inner Circle monthly email, go to http://www.drcindyryanblog.com.