Updated: Nov 29, 2022
I am, admittedly, someone who likes to join a party. I mean, if something extraordinary or unusual is happening, I want to be there. Within reason, of course. When I learned about Tower Rock and that people were trekking across the Mississippi River bed to climb on it, I knew I wanted to get there. Tower Rock is a rock formation in the Mississippi River alongside Tower Rock Nature Area near Wittenberg, Missouri. Usually, only the very top of the rock is visible above the water line. In times of drought, the rock is revealed. One can climb down the river bank and onto the island carefully.
On Monday, a stunningly beautiful fall day, Kent and I drove to Tower Rock. We were grateful to have avoided the huge crowds that showed up on Saturday and Sunday. Once the experience received national news coverage, it seemed everyone wanted to be there. I found comfort in knowing I was no longer alone in my FOMO (fear of missing out).
It was a memorable experience. The river measurement near Chester, Illinois, was at its lowest point in some time—nearly zero. The gauge needs to drop to one and a half feet to walk to Tower Rock. We made the trek without touching even a drop of water.
As I walked to and around the "tower," I pondered that my feet were touching ground that should have been far beneath the rushing currents of the Mighty Mississippi. Not only could I walk on this land, but I could also plainly see what is usually kept hidden. The water usually hides a swarm of formations, rivets, and cracks. An awareness tempered the delight in this experience. It was only possible due to widespread drought in our country. It made me wonder what it means when things usually hidden are suddenly out in the open.
For some time, I've been working to understand better the emotional, spiritual, and psychological climate in which we live. At this point, I have far more questions than answers. Still, I firmly believe we live in times that push many of us to keep some emotional formations, rivets, and cracks hidden away. We are hoping to steer clear and avoid crashing into these hidden hazards. We are working on mapping out the riverbed where we live so we can protect ourselves and those around us. We spend a lot of energy providing safe navigation so that we don't hit whatever is lying beneath the surface.
I hope, dear friends, that as we move through our days, we do so with a particular awareness. Within each person we meet, something may be pushed beneath the surface. In Ecclesiastes, we read, "There is a season and a time for every matter under heaven." Perhaps there are also times to let things rest beneath the currents and bring things into the light. I hope we can become more experienced at trusting one another—allowing what someone wants to keep tucked away to do so. And be ready to face whatever may one day come to the surface. Let's practice being gentle and more accepting of one another. We can't always see what is underneath. And when we can do so, we will want to be ready to accept what we see, to heal what is ready to be healed, and to cover the hurt with life-giving water that can soothe and restore.