Tuesday, 14 August 2007

... upon reflection ...

While dwelling on thoughts of reflection and shadow, my awareness of the stream beside which I had been standing was swept away by an image from long ago.
I was standing, once more, on a footbridge in Glen Feshie. The memory came, not so much out of the blue as from the clarity of the shadows: out of the darkness that covered the deeper recesses of my memory, my understanding and my will. The feeling flooded back for a moment as the image filled my mind: the thrill that had burned that memory into place.

How had something so strong apparently slipped away for so long? Why had it been brought back so suddenly, and with such force?
The river - not a large one - was particularly narrow at that point, where it flowed between two large rock outcrops, and I found myself looking once more to the bottom of the deep pool over which the bridge had been built. There, again, was the Salmon I had watched with excitement and awe all those years before. The fish could be clearly seen as the pool lay in the shadow of the rocks, while, at the same time, the bright light of the morning flooded the pool from upstream. The shaft of light cutting under the rock that overhung the pool, contrasted with the deep shadow in such a way that the river was, at that one point, totally illuminated.
The fish held station with a gentle waving of its tail: almost still, waiting, going nowhere, and doing nothing.
Was it simply waiting?... for what? Or was it resting? Or hiding?
That last question particularly struck me. Why had that thought come?

I felt strongly that the memory had been lodged and retained for a reason; that the experience, as well as having being memorable in itself, had been meant to speak to me in deeper ways many years later. I was suddenly receptive to the idea that it had now returned for that very reason: - that the time was now right.
Could that be why some things are remembered so clearly, while other seemingly more important or significant things are not? Are these seemingly random memories only conspicuous through the forgetting of so much else, or could they be a great deal more? If the former, they can be of little or no consequence, other than in relation to our own personal interests and subtleties of character, but, could it be that they are meaningful moments during which we have failed to recognize that God is trying to attract our attention? - That he is speaking to us? And could these moments be used years later when we have begun to see and hear more clearly? If we are still unaware of God's presence in our lives, could it be that a similar situation may trigger the remembrance of a previous encounter, and will at least get us thinking, and wondering, and searching for Him?
My own feelings at the time, clearly led me to believe that the memory had flooded me at that moment for a reason. And what did I do? I began to think; and as a result, I was left with my own reasoning and tenuous interpretation instead of what might have been.
If only, dear God, I could still my mind and move only with the breath of your Spirit!

When the images first returned, I thought there was only one fish, and I at once felt that fish to be me: me hiding away, out of the mainstream of life and hidden from other people. Not moving, so as not to attract attention, and if possible, so as to remain unseen.

I found all sorts of feelings and thoughts, some previously unrecognized, that seemed to be part of me, blending with the fish at the bottom of the stream.
I became aware again of the awe and wonder which I had felt when looking down into that pool; the excitement contained in the knowledge that I was seeing something that, in all probability, would not have been seen at all had I not seen it. And a stunning awareness of the potential contained in that quiet and almost still shape at the bottom of the pool.

The awakened awareness of potential instantly drew me deeper into the reality of that long gone moment. The outer confusions of the memory were shaded for me, and I saw through to the truth that lay beneath. It was illuminated from within, and I saw, realized and remembered, there was not just the one: there were two Salmon poised side by side.
I recall that when actually there, my feelings intensified at that moment. The potential suddenly seemed so much greater. Potential for explosive power: for accelerating through the water and leaping skywards into waterfalls up which many of their kind are compelled to swim. Potential for long sustained effort: for the swim through the North Atlantic, and the journey up river to the distant waters of their birth.
They did not have to be doing anything strenuous or spectacular to be powerful: the power was there even when they were not using it, and somehow the fact that there were two of them made it all seem normal, natural, healthy; - as planned by their creator.
If there had been only the one, I may have wondered if it was unwell in some way; exhausted perhaps: or dying even. But there were two of them, and that had assured my youthful heart that all was well.
I could not know what they would do once I had moved on, but whatever they would do would be done naturally, skilfully and wonderfully. Their potential would find expression in power.

My conviction that this was happening for a reason, later found me struggling to recognize the significance.

What was all this saying to me?
I can do nothing alone? The journey is difficult if done alone? God is always with me, to guide me and give me encouragement?

I am hiding my own abilities: my gifts? Hiding and not using the power of God within me? Perhaps I was not hiding anything; perhaps I was only now being given something which I would later come to recognise. But maybe, (and this is what I now believe), this was part of an awakening: a rousing of gifts and of a power lying dormant within, placed there and held as a secret, even from myself, until the time was right. A prompting, and a builder of self-confidence. Something was surely going to be asked of me.
As with any such moment, our faith and our confidence can and will waver. I sank back into the shadows at times, asking myself whether there could really be any significance at all in any of this. Is the whole series of events, feelings and memories just another pattern produced by a fertile imagination? A spiritual placebo that covers the cracks, and fills an empty space that longs to be filled?
With the years steadily layering over the re-lived memory as well as the original experience, my answer today is most assuredly no!

“The natural person has no room for the gifts of God’s Spirit; to him they are folly; he cannot recognize them, because their value can be assessed only in the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

About Me

Who I am should be, and should remain, of little consequence to you. Who you are is what matters; who you are meant to be is what should matter most to you. In coming closer to my own true self, I have gradually been filled with the near inexpressible: I have simply become "brim full", and my words to you are drawn from those uttered within myself, as part of an undeniable overflowing that brings a smile to my every dusk, and to my every new dawn.
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