At the beginning of the year, I also started to read a new book to aid me in my daily reflections: I have chosen “Landmarks” by Margaret Silf. In one section, she describes how the love and strength of God is like the water in a canal holding up a barge made of iron. The water is gentle and barely moving, yet it holds the barge and allows it to move along. I have been on a longboat a couple of times and it is a wonderful and relaxing experience. The exception to this is when you are going through a lock. The Kennet and Avon canal has one of the deepest locks in the country and when the water level is dropping you down to the bottom of the lock, it can start to feel very enclosed and limiting.
Silf uses the description of being in a lock for those times when we feel we might be stuck. We lose perspective of the rest of the landscape and may just start to focus on the dark, tall walls surrounding us. The boat slowly descends, or ascends, held all the while by the water. Eventually though, the water level settles, the lock gates open and we are treated to a brand new perspective, a whole open landscape for us to continue to travel through and explore. If we had not gone through the lock, we would not have access to this new experience.
So just now, rather than running round, dreaming up plans of my own, I am content to sit in the lock, held up and surrounded by God’s love and strength. Together, we will discern which way that loving water is carrying us and when we are ready, then we begin the work of opening the lock gate and seeing all that God has in store for us. Meanwhile, I will continue to say our Dreams and Visions prayer each day: will you join me?