The thing about tides is they come in and they go out, rise and fall, flood and ebb.  According to Marine Bio, “the ocean’s surface rises and falls predictably due to changes in gravitational forces originating from the Moon and the Sun. These changes in ocean surface level are known as tides and are evidence of the influence celestial bodies have on our planet.” (http://marinebio.org/oceans/currents-tides.asp) Another thing about tides is that they bring change…in beach surface, in fishing, and in the treasures we find.  It’s fascinating to hit the beach after high tide and search for treasures.  I found sea glass on my last trip, first time ever.  And who can resist the sound of the tide rushing in, that  mesmerizing rumble-roar-crash-whoosh that speaks to us in so many ways?    Most of us talk about the tides but we rarely to never talk about the complete stoppage of the water movement that has to happen so that reversal of tide can take place.  It’s also referred to as slack since the time of stoppage can vary which is why the ebb and flow each day are slightly off in timing.  What would happen if the tide didn’t reverse, if it just stopped?  According to Marine Bio, it would become a geopotential surface, or a surface along which a parcel of air could move without undergoing any changes in its potential energy.  Void of movement, stuck in place, going nowhere.  I can’t imagine the ocean without tides, the beauty we would miss, the mysteries that wouldn’t be revealed, the goodness that wouldn’t come, all because it stopped, got stuck in one place, just slacked. People can do that sometimes, get into a place emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and just get stuck there.  All motion, backward or forward, stops.  There may be ways to get some help, to begin momentum, but until we choose to go toward it, we stay at stoppage. Sometimes we hold ourselves there out of fear.  The thought of what’s ahead, of the unknown, unfamiliar and even unwanted because we can’t imagine it could be good or better, holds us in place.  Sometimes we hold ourselves there out of denial.   We can’t acknowledge reality and any movement would force us to confirm or conforn to what we don’t want to know, don’t want to face, don’t want to accept. Sometimes we hold ourselves there out of guilt and shame.  It’s so much easier to hold onto hurt and anger and bitterness and divert the blame for feelings and circumstances rather than own our own choices and actions, our part in being where we are.  Sometimes we hold ourselves there out of unforgiveness.  How much easier it is to hold onto a grudge than let it go.  As long as we can hold onto it, we don’t have to deal with the what’s next in the relationship.     But when we stay in that stoppage, when we dig in our heels and refuse to budge, deliberately make the choice to stew there, we miss the opportunity for something good, for something we didn’t know or experience or imagine to be revealed, for change.  And not wanting things to change can be another reason we stay in stoppage.  But change is part of life whether we want it or not, and when we approach it right, change can be beautiful, and joyful, and fulfilling, and more wonderful than we ever imagined.  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, ASV) Our lives are so like that tide, rising, falling, ebbing, flooding, highs, lows.  It’s sometimes impossible for us to see the good in the bad, to see a reason for overwhelming, terrible feelings, to see hope in a hopeless situation, to see purpose in tragedy, to see light in the tunnel, or dream when we are oppressed.  Those hard things can put us in our own geopotential surface.  It’s when we decide to move, flutter, wave the white flag, reach out, grasp, grab, or in some way act to stir the current around our stagnation in that place that we can begin to turn the tide of where we are, our condition, our thoughts, our attitudes, our circumstances, our perspectives.   It has to start with our own choice, however.  We have to think and then do and then keep at it, even when it’s like going through the motions and the feelings don’t follow right away, but at least we are going through the motions because doing so is the start of turning the tide.  And if we keep up that motion, if we persevere, if we make a little ripple at first that little ripple will expand, become a wave that grows and brings up from the bottom all the old feelings, all the old yuckiness, all that is holding us in that bad place, and starts the roll of the tide.   Rumble-roar-crash-whoosh!  The sound of the tide changing…the start of something changing in us.   “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39 NIV

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