Reflecting on Certainty….

Kayak on Slush by Sarah GulickCold winter days offer time to contemplate what perplexes me the most. Over the years I have struggled against a desire for certainty, a desire to fix whatever is wrong. Sometimes that includes fixing other people, which rarely works well for them or for me. Before long, I find even my best laid plans falling apart. So I was drawn to this photo of a kayak on the edge of Lake Anne in Reston, VA by my friend Sarah. The crack is off to one side, a crack that could be easily missed depending on which way you are looking. You could slip into the boat thinking the ice would hold, only to find fractures all around you. Of course, it’s a boat, and boats float on water much better than ice. Yet like our desire for certainty, that fact gets lost in the shuffle. We may fear tipping over and falling into the cold lake, or worse yet, getting caught under the ice. How many awful outcomes do we imagine that keep us on the shore? How often do we delay a decision because we don’t know enough? Perhaps we fear getting it wrong, so we avoid the decision all together. Our need for certainty imprisons us, restricts our choices, prohibits us from taking risks. We lock down the answer to feel safe, only to find life passing us by. We did in fact make a decision when we failed to decide – we simply remained frozen in time and space. In her book ‘Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith’, Anne Lamott says “The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty”. Faith is a place of mystery, a place where we let go of our fear of uncertainty. Faith takes courage, because courage is not the absence of fear; courage is deciding something is more important than what you fear. Faith calls us to grow, to venture into the unknown, to hope for what we cannot yet see. Faith holds open a space for more than human effort, trusting God to fill in the cracks of our lives and the lives of those we love in ways we cannot begin to imagine. Make time today to venture into the unknown, trying something new and different to feed your heart and soothe your soul. Let go of the need for certainty; embrace your faith in the midst of doubt. Ask others to pray for you and with you, as you pray for them. And always remember to look beyond the surface, thankful for the cracks in this life that lead us to beyond the ice to deep living waters. Text by Connie Chintall Connie Chintall ©2015, Photo entitled ‘Kayak on Slush’ by Sarah Gulick ©2014, to see more of her work, go to




Reflecting on Blind Corners….

Blind Corner by Liv SchoffstallI live in Warrenton, VA, the first town to be designated as a ‘Main Street USA’ town. Even after living here for almost twenty years, there are views of Old Town that elude me. So I was drawn to this intriguing photo by my young friend Liv, of the space between the shops on Main Street. I’m always surprised at how few folks know about Old Town, how they simply shop the chain stores and eat at the chain restaurants on the business highway. I love the little shops on Main Street that carry unusual and interesting items and the restaurant that uses local produce and meat. You park behind the shops, just once, then walk from one stop to the next to run your errands. I often meet folks I know on the street, or when I stop for coffee. As you can imagine, most days I end up far from my car, and either need to take the long way around or find a less obvious route to where I parked. I must admit I have walked past this place again and again and did not begin to imagine there was a way through. From the street, you’ll never see the path that snakes between the shops, and ends up in the lovely parking lot beyond. It seems to me that the walk of faith is a lot like this blind corner. There are times when we must walk into tight places to find a better way forward. We must take that first step, even if we are unsure there is a way out. Perhaps the first time we take a false turn or back up. Perhaps we are not ready to enter that tight squeeze, to stretch or grow beyond where we are right now. Yet the good news is that while second chances are rare in this life, God offers us an infinite number of second chances. Make time today to trust our All Powerful Lord to see beyond what our limited mortal view can offer. Let go of the burdens of this life, of problems that seem to have no solutions, of situations that seem hopeless, of paths that seem to go nowhere. Let God breathe new life into the dreary corners of your life, and show you the Way ahead. And always remembers, even when we chose the longer way around, we still end up where God is taking us, one way or the other. Text by Connie Chintall ©2013, Photo entitled ‘Blind Corner’ by Liv Schoffstall ©2013, All Rights Reserved.

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