Floodplains and Dis-ease

Sara Groves is a Christian songwriter who I can get behind. I often find her lyrics to be incredibly vulnerable (and creative), which allows an easy connection for me to be able to say, “woah, me too.”

Her most recent album is entitled “Floodplain” and the song, “Floodplain” is one of those tunes that I have come to over and over to learn, to identify with, to be changed.

She sings that “Some hearts are built on a floodplain. Keeping one eye on the sky for rain. You work for the ground that gets washed away when you live closer. Closer to the life in the ebb and flow, closer to the edge of ‘I don’t know,’ closer to ‘that’s the way it goes.’ Some hearts are built on a floodplain.”

Now I know I’m writing this in the wake of many friends who are suffering from flooding in Louisiana and many who are currently, as I write, buckled down for the storm approaching the eastern coast of the states. And I hold you all closely now. My writing of floods here is metaphorical, though I myself have lived through 1000 year flooding in Nashville, and I recall its devastation as I remember canoeing through my former high-school and cleaning mold for months.

The older I get, the more I realize that so many of us do not live on high ground, but on floodplains.  None of us have all of this together, none of us have life figured out; sometimes, we are way closer to “what brings us to our knees” than not, and way closer to “Lord, please send a boat” than not. (Sara Groves, “Floodplain”)

And I’ve realized that life happens on that floodplain. Life happens in the uncertainty, in the anxiety, in the doubt. Our best selves often flow forth from the floodplain because we do not have the ease of high ground to remain safe upon. Life on the floodplain requires a rawness and reflection that cannot happen the same way when there is no struggle.

Some folks are steadier than others, but whether you’re steady or not does not change the geography upon which you stand. You can be steady on a floodplain. You can show up and be fully present on a floodplain. You can be so alive, so raw, so vulnerable, so able to be changed on a floodplain.

And life changes…it does not remain certain; it is ever-evolving. Why else do we live in seasons? They are reminders that life is always change.

Dis-ease, unease– it is not always an enemy. Sometimes it can be a friend. Sometimes it is much more a friend than certainty. Sometimes it can open us up to new life, new possibilities, new mystery.