Pressure Walk

The trails I walk have personalities. Unicoi Lake is my good friend and companion. Dukes Creek Falls is where I go in times of pressure…when I need to run away from life. It happens from time to time. Stress builds and I just need air. Perspective. Movement. Release. This trail was the first one I walked when I was recovering from cancer, when my body was still stressed. It was after my treatments and transfusion, but before my hair returned. (I wore a ball cap that day instead of my wig.) I remember it well because I did not know if, physically, I would ever be able to walk to a waterfall again. It was a glorious day as I very slowly descended the 1 mile trail into the valley. By the time, I reached the falls I was exhausted and had to lie down on one of the benches on the platform for a nap. The sound of the water lulled me. The warmth of the sun comforted me. The breeze brushed against my skin like a whisper.
After my nap, when I was preparing to make the climb back out I turned for a last look and I noticed something. It was a small rock. Not just any small rock, but the one that balances a boulder on its back, on which grows a tree, which reaches up into the sky. It’s not that I hadn’t seen it before, just never really took in the enormity of its mission. On that day, I related so much to that little rock. The physical stress of my body, the financial recovery from cancer, dealing with four children who were dealing with my illness…it was just a lot and that little rock spoke volumes to my soul. The boulder and tree were in their places because of the foundation of that stone. Like the cornerstone on which everything else rests, it finds its place beside the water. It is stronger that you would think. It holds tremendous pressure because it is solid. The water rushes by this rock, throwing itself with joyful abandon to the lowest place and all the while the rock stands its ground and holds up life. It is a beautiful picture of grace under pressure.
Since that time, I go back to the falls when I feel stress and uncertainty, like yesterday. It soothes me to see that little rock, still holding on, still standing strong…not giving up…not moving from its place. When all around me seems unsettled, God speaks to me through that little piece of granite. “Stand strong. Hold your ground. You may feel small, but you are not. You may feel insignificant, but much rests on your shoulders. Life draws from your firm foundation. I am your base. I am your life. Know that I set this rock here just as I set you where I want you. Rest in that fact.”

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