Today, I walked barefoot on a slimy, rocky river bed.
It was a completely unexpected adventure, but a necessary one all the same.
So, I rolled up my pants, ditched my shoes and waded into the cold water alone, as my family stood watching, safe and dry on the shore.
A razor cut, fresh from the morning's shave, stung like a thousand needles.
And then, the rocks.
It didn't look so bad, but the sharp little suckers were hidden from sight under the sludge of sandy river bottom...but not hidden from the tender soles of my feet.
I felt every one.
I don't like the rocky places.
Being barefoot, sole exposed, on the smooth sandy places, now that's where it's at.(excuse the grammar)
But when the path gets rocky and painful to the exposed soul...ahhh becomes ouch, and every step reminds: this is not a smooth place.
And so steps are taken with intent and care, but still bearing the weight and the pain...always, the pain.
The necessity of the rocky places.
None of us long to embrace that necessity, but it calls us to all the same.
As I stepped gingerly across the rocks, an image I recently took came to my mind.
It was a geode.
At face value-ugly, forgettable, even worthy of disdain beneath the feet...but when time is taken to look at the rock, turn the rock, treasure can be found within.
Crystals-shimmering beauty-reflecting light with brilliant color, yet, all hidden to the sole too focused on the pain of it's rocky outter surface.
These hard places that bruise our souls are rocks of purpose placed beneath our feet.
If we will take time to see them as just that-treasure that enhances the path-we may come to discover the beauty of the rocky places.
So, when you find that its time to wade deep into the cold, unexpected waters of life, even if it is all alone...roll up those pants legs, ditch your shoes, and know...
...know that there is beauty and purpose ahead for your soul.
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
James 1:2-4 ESV
"You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God."
Isaiah 62:3 ESV