In the midst of the eighteen year storm of my childhood, there were brief reprieves. Some of these came when my father would break away from his incredibly busy work schedule and take us fishing. Mostly alone in the mountains following some meandering brook in the hopes of finding a larger-than-life fish in a small stream was safe, and it caused the tumult at home to fade, at least for a while.
It was during these times that I learned to love the relative safety of aloneness, along with the mystery and beauty of clear cool water. The melody of a babbling stream as it forms from the base of a snow bank, cuts through meadows, pushes up flowers, is breathtaking – particularly when it links to a fish-filled lake where few cast shadows at that time of year.
Running water was and still is mesmerizing and life-giving to me. When Jesus says “I am the water of life” I have some intuitive sense of what he means.
So, when I knew that we were moving to Birmingham I prayed. It was a childish prayer. I asked Mary if she would intercede on our behalf that we could find a home with a stream. I knew we couldn’t afford a house on that kind of property, but I prayed anyway. As it turns out, we weren’t able to find a home in our price range with a stream (not even close). I forgot the prayer as the busyness of moving overwhelmed every thought and ounce of energy.
We moved in to our new home, then the storm came. This was a rain storm mind you – Alabama style. That means lots of water in a short period of time. Our backyard was flooded. The rain eventually stopped and I expected everything to dry up, but the water kept coming.
Once it slowed a bit I squished around in the grass to try to find the source. I suspected it was runoff from our neighbors’ yards as they all live above us on a hill. To my surprise I discovered that the lawn was squishing in a more and more narrow pattern up the mild slope. Then it seemed to come to a single point. Now on my hands and knees, I pushed a finger into the grass. Water. A cool clear spring bubbled above the surface of the lawn and began to flow freely. I suspected it would stop eventually.
A year has passed and it is still flowing. But now the spring is at the bottom of a newly hand-excavated pond. Once the water is under control, I plan to build a grotto in honor of Mary and in appreciation for her gift of employment in Birmingham, for water, and for saying “yes” to the Water of Life.
How has Mary, in her life, and her intercession, blessed you?
Art: Lusenberg-Virgin, Josef Moroder Lusenberg (1846-1939), undated, Wolfgang Moroder, March 2012, CCA-SA, Wikimedia Commons.