What’s within you is greater than what you see.
Around the end of May we had some friends, Terry and Heidi, visiting from Washington State. Terry is a photographer and lover of the great outdoors just like Steve. Terry said he wanted to see the ‘real Alabama’ so we decided to take him down to Bibb county. If you familiar with this part of the state then you know that several ‘real’ and some not so glamorous examples of Alabama can be observed there. However, the beautiful and often overlooked Cahaba River courses through these parts. So we were on a mission to show these northerners a hidden jewel.
We arrived around 11 am with the intention of taking a canoe tour. After calling the rental place, the boys decided that it would not be the best idea to take pregnant girl into waters that contain some rapids. I was a little bummed, o.k. A LOT. I love a good adventure, especially one that is uncharted. I felt like I was ruining the experience. So we drove down a narrow dirt road next to river and stopped at the first spot where the trees on the bank bent their limbs to allow a glimpse at the beauty of the Cahaba.
Steve and Terry unloaded their camera bags and began to assemble their cameras. Heidi and I strolled over to the bank to find a better view. The boys began snapping photos and talking technical camera lingo and I quickly became bored. Deciding that I didn’t need a chaperone, I began searching for a path that would allow me to easily wade in the water. Taking a picture was not enough for me; I wanted to feel the river. The first view was beautiful, but I was curious about what could be seen around the bend. Further down the dirt road I found another access to the waters and discovered a sizeable patch of Cahaba Lilies. These flowers are very rare and only bloom from mid- May until the end of June. Their roots are fascinating; they sprout up between the river rocks and soak up the sun. “The Cahaba Lily requires swift current and direct sunlight to flourish.” They are a magnificent sight.
I was enjoying the day, really soaking up the beauty of it all, but I was still searching, not sure for what, just searching. So a wondering I went, no longer able to hear the voices of my crew. I found a shoal and a jetty of rocks where I sat and took in the view, my toes in the cool water and the sun dancing on my shoulders. I was mesmerized by the landscape that God created for me to enjoy. I stared at the details, the rise and fall of the hills, the perfection of the rock smoothed by the current; I was attempting to memorize it for later retrieval. And as I sat I realized that there was not a thought in my head, heart or soul. It was a beautiful moment and I did not was to clutter it. Then God’s spirit whispered to mine saying “… And this is not even created in my image, but you are.” I felt unrestrained, salty tears running down my cheeks. I felt beautiful, wanted… charged. God’s spirit began to gently convict my soul because most days I live just to get to the end. I do well enough; I am kind, cordial and often helpful to others. But I don’t cast that image of beauty, of purpose on others. I don’t ever want to get so caught up with living that I forget to experience.