When we lose someone we love, questions seem to surface, Why did this have to happen to such a good person? Can I envision living my life differently with this new empty place? Do I really know God’s purpose for my life? Does what I do really matter?
I watched the rays of the sun reflect off the surface of the lake. As I sat at the edge of the water, I felt a deep sense of sadness and loss. I had just left the funeral of my close friend, Annie, and I wanted some time to be alone with my own thoughts. She loved nature, and I was taking the opportunity to reflect on how grateful I was to have known her.
Without focusing on anything in particular, I picked up a small pebble and threw it into the lake. I immediately noticed how the ripples formed a perfect circle and moved outward. I repeated the process several times. Each time I threw a rock (regardless of size), I was amazed at how large the circles of waves became and how long they lasted before they disappeared. It also occurred to me that when the ripples formed, they stayed in proportion to each other. As the waves moved in a steady rhythm on their journey outward, one ripple didn’t become misshapen or disconnected from the others.
My thoughts returned to Annie. Her life impacted so many people more than I will ever know. Just like the ripples of the waves spreading out, so does Annie’s beautiful example of love and faith. Her influence will always be felt by those who knew her and loved her.
Those moments sitting by the lake also reminded me of God’s providential care. Our lives are impacted by many things, good and bad. But just like the waves of circles in the water, God holds us steady and somehow keeps us connected with one another according to His will. While I may not always recognize and feel this, or understand fully, I believe it. Even in my sadness and grief, I know that I am included in an unending rhythm of God’s love and care. I am grateful that there is a merciful God who holds each human heart close to Himself, His Son, and His Spirit, all laboring to create harmony with what is and what is yet to be. In a mysterious, yet beautiful way, watching those waves helped me affirm my worth and purpose in this life and feel secure about Annie’s in the next.
I have lost a special friend. But by the grace of God, I am more at peace knowing that Annie and I remain connected in a beautiful circle that will be forever.
Stones in the River (by Carrie Newcomer)