Decaying Beavers & Rainbows

I was hiking along the riverfront when it caught my eye. At first I wasn’t sure what it was and so I moved closer. I feared it would have that rank smell of death that gets into your nostrils and is so hard to get out, so I was cautious. I knew what it was when I saw its tail.


If you have followed any of my blogs or know me personally, you know that I’ve been on a journey toward “creating something new” since I experienced a Holy Spirit moment. I’ve let go of preconceptions, of possessions, and of identity to follow a call to Oregon. 

On this twisting river of a path, I have felt certainty and contentment simultaneously with doubts and desire to take action. Nonetheless, I’ve continued to hike toward the “new thing” trusting the Spirit’s luring. Though waves of doubt wash over me, I keep flowing. Though I long for a glimpse of the outcome, I’m rarely privy to the details of that I seek.

In this time in which I question my interpretation of the Holy Spirit moment which brought me here, I continue upon the path with an earnest certainty. Surprisingly to me, I find myself in a town of 430 people. And I grieve the loss of daily living in my adopted big city hometown.

And I experience angst and doubt simultaneously with serenity. In this time, 

  • I am steadily–though not spontaneously–growing fond of the 430 people here as well as the eight-thousand in the nearby town.
  • I am quickly growing to love the gift of having Creation at my doorstep.
  • I still don’t know how to describe for others, what it is I do. I perceive the call to co-create “something new, something that doesn’t look like church” but cannot describe that which the Spirit has not yet revealed.

So feeling uncertainty, I call out to the One. I whine to God,

GOD! I want to know,
   how to talk to others about my journey.

I want to know,
   and be in control of the path.
I want to pick the plants along the path,
   and engineer the turns and straight-a-ways.

GOD! I want to know the destination,
   precisely, exactly, and in detail.

And, God? If you can’t do that little thing?

Would you at least,
   give me a sign that you’ve got my back,
      that I’ve not misread the “Holy Spirit moments”,
          and that it is indeed you and your beckoning that I’m following?

In the name of the One who trusted you in the midst of his doubts,
   when he was ridiculed, beat, tortured, and
      killed on a cross by human fears. Amen.


At the beginning of this week, in which Christians began a time of penitentially journeying toward resurrections, I saw the bloated body of a beaver washed ashore. I was drawn to look at it closely, to see what had become of a mammal known for changing the flow of rivers. I was drawn to look at the bloated carcass that once full of life, vigorously controlled rushing waters.

I had that kind of morbid curiosity that accident gawkers possess. I moved closer to see. The eyes of this large water-controlling mammal seemed so small and insignificant. There was no strength left in this creature. There was no life left in this mortal creature that sought control of its environment.

Time flowed through the first week of my reflective, penitential journey toward Easter, and I forgot about the beaver.

I did not forget to whine, “I wanna know!” to the Divine. I was able to keep up my complaints to God all week without fail. 

On the last day of the week, I observed five rainbows. I tweeted about this remarkable series of colorful arcs:

I saw 5 rainbows [over] the course of today: two this morning &
three this afternoon. I think I must live in a magical land.

In this magical time in which I find myself, Creation answered me with the quintessential Judeo-Christian sign of covenant: a rainbow. Though I accept and understand the science behind rainbows, I believe the Divine works through each of us, through all of Creation, to lure us and communicate with us if we open our hearts. If we listen and respond in love, God’s will moves us a little closer to the ultimate.

Though I didn’t perceive it at the beginning of the week, my yearning for controlling the rushing waters, to landscape the path, leads only to a bloated carcass on the riverfront. 

Despite my petulant behavior worthy of disdain, the Divine answered my whine-ful pleadings, five times in one-day. I was reminded that the rainbows, are a sign of the covenant that God made with humanity, with all of creation. I was reminded that when God used a “Holy Spirit moment” to lure me to Oregon, that it was covenantal. I’ve journeyed here accompanied by the divinity that flows within, through, and between all that is. 

When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. Genesis 9:16 NRSV

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