Life in Trickles

Life flowing in trickles. That would be mine. When inspiration to write about this bathed me, the vision of stalactites came to mind and adhered. I plumbed my brain as to why the thought of stalactites would attach itself to the essay forming in my mind. I gathered some interesting facts. But first, this: In Baguio City where I went to college (some two decades ago!), there are numerous mines and caves, that’s why one of the many course offerings of Saint Louis University is Mining Engineering. I also had roommates in the dorm whose fathers worked in the mines. There was a popular question that circulated among the Mining Engineering students: “What is the difference between a stalactite and a stalagmite?” I deduced the answer on my own by attributing stalagmite to a mite, an inhabitant of the earth. Therefore, stalactites are the ones found protruding from the roof of caves and mines, while stalagmites are the deposits that form at the bottom floor. And I was right :).

According to Encyclopaedia Brittanica:

Stalactites are elongated forms of various minerals deposited from solution by slowly dripping water. They hang like icicles from the ceiling or sides of a cavern.

The dominant mineral in such deposits is calcite (calcium carbonate), and the largest displays are formed in caves of limestone and dolomite. Other minerals that may be deposited include other carbonates, opal, chalcedony, limonite, and some sulfides.

Conditions that favour the deposition are: (1) a source rock above the cavern; (2) downward percolation of water supplied from rain; (3) tight but continuous passageways for this water, which determine a very slow drip; and (4) adequate air space in the void to allow either evaporation or the escape of carbon dioxide from the water, which thus loses some of its solvent ability.

Wow. As I read and reread that last part, it dawned on me how the Holy Spirit had led me into writing this with the vision of the stalactites. As the words above arranged themselves, forming a beautiful analogy to my life now, I realized that it was, indeed, the Holy Spirit who had been speaking into my heart and guiding me. That amazes me more than anything else. To know that the Lord would take time to shower us with inspiration to break through our daily monotony (and our doubts!), to participate in our humble undertakings and let us know and feel that He delights in us! —- that, to me, is a most awesome blessing, a huge encouragement, especially considering my bedridden state.

I trained my eyes on the paragraph Conditions that Favor the Deposition (you may go back up and read it again :) ) and this was the analogy I saw with my life right now: 1) There’s a source Rock above (the Lord Jesus Christ); 2) There’s a downward supply of water from heaven (the Living Water); 3) There’s a very slow drip because of tight but continuous passageways (the tests and refining); 4) There’s an adequate air supply (life).

Isn’t it amazing? I can see those “conditions” being met in my life and yes, I am like those stalactites. If your life flows in slow drip, too – that is, fulfilment of dreams and plans and actual accomplishments come in trickles – then, be inspired by these analogies just as I am! 

As mentioned above, stalactites are basically made up of calcium salts. You may remember the Lord’s words: You are the salt of the earth. I’d like to see it this way: As the stalactites are natural deposits of salts, so are we in the world. But there are other minerals that form stalactitic deposits such as opal and chalcedony. Chalcedony is the third foundation of the new city, the New Jerusalem as described in Revelation 21. The polished blue chalcedony is like the sky, ethereal and endless. And it is said of opal: All of Nature’s splendour seems to be reflected in the manifold opulence of fine Opalsfire and lightnings, all the colours of the rainbow and the soft shine of far seas.*

Years ago while I was reading through Isaiah in bed, with the same ailing and suffering self as I am today, the 54th chapter captured my heart. I felt like it was spoken to me personally, a love letter from God. I pressed the Bible to my chest as I savored the words. (I did not post the whole chapter here):

“For the mountains shall depart
And the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”
Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.

11 “O you afflicted one,
Tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems,
And lay your foundations with sapphires.
12 I will make your pinnacles of rubies,
Your gates of crystal,
And all your walls of precious stones. (Is. 54:10-12)

The Lord will build my house (my life) with colorful gems and precious stones! For indeed He has promised to make all things beautiful in His time! Like the beauty and grandeur of the stalactites made up of opal and chalcedony! This is a metaphor of God’s beautiful work in our lives.

The lives of other Christians are like streams of water, gushing and flowing forth in copious amounts, like a swarm of soldiers charging to battle. But I am seeing it now with new eyes: whether a life flows plentifully or in  trickles, God is able to use both for His kingdom and glory. In the Body of Christ, not only the physically strong and able are given honor, but look what the apostle Paul says:

On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty. (1 Cor. 12:22-23 ESV)

Prior to the verses above, Apostle Paul talks about the importance of each member of the body (he was speaking metaphorically of the Church, the Body of Christ). The feet, which can be considered as powerful members of the body since they enable it to go anywhere it pleases, cannot boast to the hand. So even if we can’t use our feet (permanent or temporary disability) to go and share the Gospel to every creature, God uses our other members, such as the hand, to carry out His purposes. In the Body of Christ, no one is really worthless.

My life, being bed-bound, may be hard. But the inspiration and beauty that God pours into it evoke praise and thanksgiving. This ability to face life’s painful tests and challenges with a positive outlook comes from God Himself and not from my own strivings. I call it God-breathed strength and inspiration. My life is held by these. Hallelujah!

When your life flows in trickles (when it seems like you’re not accomplishing anything of great meaning or magnitude but only little things that seem inconsequential), bathe it with gratitude. When you want to walk but can’t make a single step; when you want to sing praise but there’s just not enough strength; when your fondest dreams remain locked up in your heart — focus your eyes on the small miracles, the little gifts of inspiration scattered all around you. Then let your thanksgiving to God flow.

To compare my life with the splendid stalactites is uplifting, but my everyday is defined more appropriately by the following verse:

The full soul loatheth an honeycomb;
but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. (Prov. 27:7)

When I shared this verse with my husband, tears spurted from my eyes. These, too, nourish the hungry soul.

*Quoted from the International Colored Gemstone Association.

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Comments

  1. Naomi says:

    Your writings are very inspirational and encouraging. Yes, God uses us where we are. His grace is sufficient.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Everyday, I continue to be amazed how the Lord faithfully does that, Naomi – inspiring and encouraging us to inspire and encourage others, too. We can only see “His works” (esp. when they’re so subtle) when we intentionally look for them in our lives.

  2. Dawn says:

    A beautiful analogy and it resonates so well with our need to cling tightly to the true source of our building and forming through this life, even (and especially so), in the hard places. Isaiah 54 is one of my favorites. ( Well.. Mr. Isaiah is perhaps my favorite of the Messianic Prophets)

    Thanks for sharing a bit of grace and wisdom.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

    • RinaPeru says:

      Isn’t it wonderful how the Lord comes unexpectedly into our everyday lives and graces it with inspiration to encourage us to walk faithfully before Him however hard the journey becomes sometimes? Blessings, too!

  3. Hazel Moon says:

    It is amazing how God can bring a simple illustration and you can make it into an example of our life with Jesus. I shall remember how you could tell the difference between the stalactites and stalagmites. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Yes, dear Hazel. My heart bursts with praise and gratitude to God for using His beautiful creation to bring inspiration and encouragement to us – our refreshments for the journey.

  4. Vickie Barrett says:

    I always look forward to your writings Rina. :) They never fail to feed my hungry soul! God takes the pieces that form the tapestry of our life and makes it into something beautiful! Even our trials and hardships. He is an awesome God!!! Praise Jesus!!!

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you, Vickie. “God takes the pieces that form the tapestry of our life and makes it into something beautiful!” – this is so true! As long as we maintain an open heart and mind to the things He does, however subtle they are, we will be able to see the beautiful work He’s creating!

  5. ~ linda says:

    Absolutely beautiful and right-on analogy! Life can run by far too quickly when we are not even paying any attention and miss so much. This trickle of God’s lessons teaches me so much better. And I will recall this lesson you have taught me about God’s creation in the caves far beneath the earth’s surface.
    Your piano music is lovely too!
    I am thankful you are my neighbor at Holley’s. I have never visited you before and plan to be back.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    • RinaPeru says:

      Hi Linda. Thanks for visiting! It’s nice meeting you here. My heart swells with gratitude to the Lord for speaking to you through these words. Blessings to you!

  6. Carrie says:

    What an amazing, intricate analogy! I am awed! And I love how you figured out the difference between stalagmites and stalactites! By remembering “mites”, I will never forget which is which now!

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