Am I the only one with the old ketchup commercial jingle going through her head right now? Remember the old Heinz commercials? Yep, dating myself!
Did you know that stalagmites and stalactites grow only one inch every 100 years?? I am finding visiting caverns in Alabama has been a great way to remind myself of how faithful and patient God is.
How are you at waiting?
Really. How are you at waiting? I don’t mean as much in a slow line at the grocery store, or at a traffic light. (Although I will say in Alabama, people are MUCH more patient at lights….that said, many fewer people here feel the compulsion to check email at stoplights than in NOVA. What a concept!) And while we are at it, the lines down here are much more SLOW, but people are more friendly and chill and chatty. So that’s good!
Anyway, I digress. This last almost two months I have been on a bit of a forced silence and solitude retreat. I guess God thought I needed it. I probably did. I mean I was doing pretty well in Virginia with the job and being married and taking care of the house. I was finding time to go out and take pictures. Ozzy (my erstwhile wire haired dachshund companion) and I would walk, and read, and check social media. I did lunch and coffee and ministry meetings. I had a good rhythm of friends and ministry and sabbath.
These last months I have been waiting on, with great joy and anticipation, my upcoming ordination and installation.
I have been anticipating my new congregation and new friends and ministry partners. I can hardly wait! I am being reminded that patience is a fruit of the Spirit and a gift from God. It is not hugely in my own personality. I really don’t wait well!!
On the twelve hour drive to Alabama from northern Virginia, I listened to several podcasts. Most were based on a personality profile that is useful in doing spiritual work called the Enneagram. (It helps you discern your signature sin and compulsions and let God transform them.) There was one that really struck me about my personality type. It stressed the need for me to be ALONE to discern my desires and better hear God.
So, I have had about seven weeks to do so. And it has been clear to me that God’s transformation is more often slow and steady, almost invisible, and rarely instantaneous. I have needed this time to really see where I am and take stock of where God has me now…to get used to my new environs without the pressure of work and ministry.
This weekend we went to the Cathedral Cavern as I hadn’t taken my “good” camera last time in the caverns at Ruby Falls and I wanted to take some better pictures. (The results here are OK, obviously need more practice in caverns!) We saw many stalagmites and stalactites and other formations. This cavern has an approximate 3 acre stalagmite forest! It was beyond incredible! One of the “rooms” was about 200 feet tall!
One of my favorite places was the frozen waterfall. Or that was what the more seasoned guide called it. The teen guide called it elephant backsides.
When I look at these massive formations (including stalaGmites from the Ground and stalaCtites from the Ceiling) it shows me how faithful God is and how patient. When I whine (either out loud or silently!) that my transformation, (or someone else’s transformation!) is going slowly, I need to remember that for God time is not measured the same as ours. Transformation may take longer than we think it should, but it will take less time than for a stalagmite to grow an inch!
This particular column is 45 feet high! Trust me when I say that scale doesn’t translate in my photos…you can get a sense if you see the railings on the left.
These formations were formed one drip at a time. It has helped me think about what is dripping into my life. What is leaving little deposits? If I look at my circumstances not at face value, but as an opportunity for God to drip into my life, shaping me, growing me, building me up for what God has in store for me. That is pretty amazing. I may not see transformation and growth, but God has the big picture. I can trust God with that.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (2 Peter 2:8, NIV)
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Did you see my Hurry up and Wait post about waiting for the Eclipse last summer?