Big Water, Big Moments, Big Thoughts, and Big Questions
The Great Lakes draw us to them for big moments, and draw out of us big thoughts and big questions. At least that’s true for me, and it seemed true for the college graduate in this picture. Celebrating along the Bay of Green Bay at this big moment in her life made sense, and I can understand why.
There’s something about the Lakes and all that water that makes me go deep in thought, far in wondering, and high in celebration. I see it all the time, someone sitting along the water, just staring out across the horizon; families celebrating birthdays at the beach; two people walking along the shore, deep in conversation.
Right now, I feel that pull as much as ever. After living in northeast Wisconsin for the last 19 years, I’ll be moving next week to southern Michigan. In some ways, it’s a homecoming for me, as I’ll be moving closer to family and to places that I remember from living in Michigan years ago. But it’s with mixed emotions that I move on from friends and places along the Badger state’s Lake Michigan coast that I’ve come to love these last couple of decades.
Such is life and such is change. We all experience change in large or small ways. The passage of time alone sees to that. But transitions, like big water, can cause us to stop for a moment and think about where we are and where we’re headed.
Crises can do much the same. These past 16 months with Covid-19, the racial reckoning that’s taken place since the murder of George Floyd a year ago, the elections this past fall, and on and on... these moments, these forks in the road, demand us to take time and reflect on where we are going as individuals, as a society, and as a world. Maybe even take a different path.
Big water is just the place for these big moments, questions, and thoughts. Where do you go to reflect on where life is taking you and where the world is headed? That, for me, is at the heart of spirituality... trying, struggling at times, to comprehend just a bit more about God or Ultimate Reality, where I and the people and creation around me fit into that larger picture, and how I can make the world just a little better.
The shores of the Great Lakes have been where I’ve practiced that kind of spirituality, only now it will be a different shore, with a different view of that big water. But water, like life and reality, runs its course together, so while the view may be different, it’s all still part of the same flow.