I sat in my mentor’s office, letting all of my thoughts about life flow freely out of my mind. He stood at the whiteboard making a bulleted list of the main points. After my stream went dry we sat there and took it all in for a minute. As the weight of all that was on the board sunk in, one little thought kept drifting in and out of my mind – What is life?
It would be easy for me to answer with Well it’s about glorifying God or It’s about becoming more like Jesus or any number of phrases I’ve been taught. And you know sometimes that works. Sometimes a blanket phrase is satisfying.
But other times I find myself alone with God, hoping he’ll give me a phrase to make sense of it all, and he doesn’t. He lets me hang in this awkward gap between heaven and earth, where all the subtleties and nuances of life lie in gray – What do I truly value? Do I need to be 100% efficient with my time? What do I need to do each day to make this life matter? And in those moments I have no answers.
I’m in that gap right now; I have a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. But I think that’s okay. Unlike answers, questions tend to lead to conversations and stories. And I think that’s where God wants me. He wants me to stop asking for answers and actually talk with him. He knows a simple answer won’t change this stubborn soul, but maybe a lifelong conversation will. Because people need time to change, right? We’re slow creatures and quick answers dry up like little puddles. We need years of quiet, flowing water to chip away at our stone hearts.
So what is life? Maybe it’s slowly becoming comfortable not knowing what it actually is. Maybe it’s leaning into the infinite and mysterious Stream each day, letting His cool water bring and take away what it may.
We’re still going to look for answers. We’ll taste a host of things in this world. We’re stubborn like that. But maybe after years of the cool Stream washing all of our answers away we’ll start to feel how refreshing the water itself is. Maybe we’ll finally let go of our need to know and control and graciously get swept away by that wild River.