The Impeded Stream

It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
-Wendell Berry

I read this last week, and the last line stayed with me, followed me around like a stray cat. An uncharacteristically encouraging--and borderline preachy--stray cat. I would shut the door, tune in to my peace-sabotaging, frustrated, ungrateful monologue. And that damn cat would start meowing right at the doorstep. The impeded stream is the one that sings. The impeded stream is the one that sings.

I do want to sing. I do. I want to do my real work. I want to begin my real journey.
But the baffled, impeded part? I wish I could skip it. I'm not a complete idiot, though. I do recognize these hurdles, these rocks, as the same ones I'm trying not to label as interruptions, the same ones I'm trying to gratefully embrace as real life.

It's just difficult, you know? To take life and all its jagged rocks in stride, to roll right over, like water. To sing, not only past the jagged rocks, but because of them.

I memorized I Thessalonians 5: 18 when I was seven. "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God." If I had to paraphrase in my 36 year old vernacular, I'd say "Sing in spite of the rocks. Sing because of them. God's will is that you never stop singing."

It makes no sense to give thanks in every circumstance. Then again, it makes perfect sense. Because, well, it's like that stray cat kept saying. The impeded stream is the one that sings.

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