For those of you who have not been to Montreat, it is a little mountain town in a valley just outside of Asheville. Montreat is known for its trails, creeks, and most of all Lake Susan, which is really just a man-made pond in the middle of the Montreat Conference Center.

In the summer months, Montreat is bustling with almost 1,000 young people coming to the center each week to learn more about loving God and God’s people.

Last week, I had the pleasure of leading a group of 15 middle schoolers during Montreat Youth Conference. This group was a conglomerate of middle schoolers from Presbyterian churches across the country who came to laugh and learn with each other by the end of the week. Before the conference began, I found myself with a few hours to spend any way I pleased. Knowing this respite would be rare in the coming days, I capitalized on them as an opportunity for isolation.

I knew that this moment of silence and lack of itinerary was a gift from God before the equally joy-filled and busy week ahead.

I decided to take my hammock behind the bridge on Lake Susan, to the creek that few people frequent. As I sat there, I watched the water. I watched how it continually streamed into the larger lake, even though the lake was relatively calm.

I watched as the water ran over various stacks of rocks and sticks, from previous creek-dwellers building up dams. I watched as even when children threw rocks into the water, the water kept rushing along. Nothing could disturb it for very long.

I thought about how most of my life has felt like being a rock amid a rushing creek. Things constantly passing by me, an ever-changing environment that I kept finding myself in.

As I transition from life in college to life in ministry, that continues to be true. Graduations, funerals, good-bye parties, wedding invitations, pregnancy announcements; the evidence of my friends’ and families’ maturation is clear.

And yet, I still feel like a rock, desperately trying to stop the water from rushing by me. It seems that no matter how hard I try though, life goes on. To my delight or dismay, I’m not sure.

Sitting by the creek that day, I began to admire the water. I admire how the water goes over rock after rock, no matter how many people try to hold it back. I admire how the water feels the effect of things being thrown into it, but quickly recovers. I admire how the water can go from a rushing creek to a calm lake in a matter of seconds. I admire how the water rushes on, unafraid of where it’s going. May we be like the water.