A lesson from a waterfall, one drop at a time
A Christian Science perspective: After the writer moved into a senior community, she found meaning and connection after a period of feeling aimless and without purpose.
I recall some years ago being awed by the powerful flow of water cascading over the rocks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Captivated by the force of this waterfall, I stood watching for a considerable period of time. Right before my eyes, it became clear that what had initially appeared to be a sheet of water was actually millions of tiny droplets, each one separate from the other and capable of reflecting the rainbow as random droplets do on one’s windowpane.
I was reminded of this experience when a year ago I moved to a senior community in another state. I connected with my immediate neighbors, who were most kind and welcoming. But as the days wore on, I felt aimless and without purpose.
The move was the result of prayer, however, and I knew I had to counter the vacuum I seemed to be in. To do so would require my taking a stand on my own behalf. I could begin by viewing myself as one of those individual droplets, not isolated but part of a harmonious whole.
From this perspective, I could see the many unfamiliar faces around town as fellow travelers on a shared journey. We were like those little drops of water – moving in complete accord as one grand whole, each fulfilling his or her particular niche.
I thought of this “grand whole” as the one God and His spiritually conceived creation. That is where His sons and daughters originate and remain intact, each necessary and with a purpose to fulfill.
I am a unique idea of the one infinite God, so my place in that relationship was already firmly established. I was at one with my Creator and what He had created me to be. Nothing could upset or diminish that relationship. What was being required of me was to be active in proving this connection – in this instance, to go forth and sow the seeds of friendship, inspiration, and caring.
Encouraged by what my prayers were revealing, I became alert to opportunities to join with my “fellow travelers” in ways that would be mutually beneficial.
I had belonged to a current events discussion group where I used to live, and the friendships made there were very special to me. When I learned there was a similar group in my new location, I began attending meetings. What I had to say as a newcomer resonated with others in the group, and I warmed to their responses.
Next, I discovered a community center that was receptive to sponsoring a writing class I’d previously taught. The director willingly added my four-session class to the center’s roster of offerings.
Then I received a listing of adult education courses from the high school across the street from where I lived. I immediately enrolled in a six-week course, joining others with a similar interest.
One step had led to another, and soon I was feeling the full embrace of my new community.
I was one of those individual droplets, not isolated but part of a harmonious whole. This quotation from Mary Baker Eddy’s “Pulpit and Press” (p. 4) stresses the significance of each of God’s sons and daughters, including you and me:
What if the little rain should say,
‘So small a drop as I
Can ne’er refresh a drooping earth,
I’ll tarry in the sky.’
She goes on to say, “Is not a man metaphysically and mathematically number one, a unit, and therefore whole number, governed and protected by his divine Principle, God?”
I was seeing the significance of “one” in a new light. No self-importance here. Just a calm certainty that I was cared for and watched over. In the words of Hymn No. 278 in the “Christian Science Hymnal”: “Cared for, watched over, beloved and protected,/ Walk thou with courage each step of the way.” Recalling my meditative moments by the waterfall helped me feel the joy of being at one with all of God’s creation – whether near or far, familiar or unfamiliar – one in heritage, one in unity.