I grew up near water.
Growing up near water, though, also means growing up near hurricanes. And flooding. And storms. They happen. They're part of it. It doesn't mean they're always fun (in adulthood, that is), but they do happen.
But as much energy and inner and outer turbulence as crashing waves can cause, there is truly nothing quite like still waters. The calmness, peacefulness, and general sound of softly lapping waves bring a feeling that nothing else can quite measure up to.
The more into life I delve, and the more birthdays I have, the more I realize that (much like the "fires" we talk about putting out so often in our work environments) we experience more of the turbulence and hurricanes and watery messes to get ourselves out of than we do the peaceful, easy feelings.
I mean, yes, I'm an anxious person by nature, but good grief. Everyone talks about hectic days, and wasn't it like 20 years ago that the song "Manic Monday" came out? So now, with email and smart phones and life at the speed of 4G light, I'm afraid Manic Mondays have become the norm for everyday...even our weekends.
That said, Psalm 23 has been comforting to this anxiety-ridden redhead lately. God promises to lead us beside still waters. And although the Psalms were written way back when, He doesn't even limit that promise to David's shepherd days (which I'm pretty sure aren't as calm as I envision them, with giants and such).
Lately, I just can't help but have my confidence be reassured that God, when inspiring David to pen the Psalms, did know that one day my own memories of "still waters" would go quite mad, thanks to Hurricane Katrina. And that water would become scary versus soothing for a while for me, and for my entire hometown and the entire Gulf Coast. And that one day, our quest for efficiency combined with our ignorance about safety and neglection to protect His creation might one day come back to bite us -- in this case, with a very nasty oil spill leading to, well, oil spill waters rather than the still waters we so long for.
So Psalm 23 has been very comforting to me, and has gently reminded me that no matter what my environment is, God can take me to a still, calm surrounding that only He can create. And that He can restore my soul, even in the presence of those who could care less about me, and who want to see me fail.
And really, that is the best kind of still water ever.