Three days of rain this week jammed the creek beds. Tumbling over rocks and around fallen branches, water scoured our hillside, singing like resonant white noise. Today the sun has returned, the creeks have subsided, the earth is refreshed and we are gifted a metaphor.

Like boulders in a rushing stream, obstacles in our path interrupt the course of our lives, forcing us to choose our way. If we suspend our judgment and open ourselves to explore them, these impediments can help us reframe our situation and discover new possibilities. We may find a lane through our impasse, a new direction we had not considered or a harmonious resolution.

Responding to last week’s post, which encouraged us to seek the hidden jewel in adversity, a colleague from years ago contacted me. Mission driven, deeply dedicated and very competent, she has been dealt some significant burdens. We conversed. Talking through her dilemmas enabled her to gain clarity about options she was considering. For me the opportunity to rekindle a friendship and hold space for her to regain her bearings was gratifying.

Is there something blocking the flow of your life right now? A dynamic in an important relationship? A crossroad at work? A perplexing situation that you don’t know how to resolve? A pithy poem by Wendell Berry may help you embrace the possibilities on the other side of the obstruction.

It may be that when we no longer know what to do,

We have come to our real work;

And that when we no longer know which way to go,

We have begun our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.