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Hot and comfortable; something new

September 17th, 2004 · 1 Comment

Hot and uncomfortable, I wrote earlier this year. The amount of conflict in our lives has increased through the past few months. Everywhere we go seems to be at war. Communities dissolving and dividing. I have wished for a way to escape or a wand to wave and fix it with magic. It seems that either option would be better than living in the midst of the tensions.

So I was eager to disappear for several days into central Oregon. Alone with my family, without communication, I hoped I would find coolness, comfort and peace.

One night I found myself in hot water. Ted had wanted to try the hot tub to help his sore muscles. I had never been in one. A swimsuit is not my favorite article of clothing. Also the microbiologist in me had once heard of the organisms that multiply and move in the heated water, and so I had never ventured into such a cesspool. But the tub water smelled strongly of chlorine and chemicals, and since Ted wanted to try it, I decided to come too.

The girls asleep in their room, we went outside in our suits. The early September sky was dark and the stars plentiful. On three sides, the tub was framed by a fence and also by a small grove of ponderosa pines. From where I sat, it seemed as if it were only Ted and me in the midst of the desert, only us and the heavens.

The water was warm. Hot but comfortable. Soon the steam from the tub fogged my glasses so I took them off. Without my lenses, most of life becomes a blur. All I could see in the sky was one bright star.

We were quiet in the hot tub, each of us sitting in silence in the warmth for a while, relaxing at the end of the day, enjoying the experience. I was hot. And I started thinking about the heat. A few days before we had left, I had begun to spill pieces of our story over the phone to a neighbor, mentioning the conflict and disasters in our lives. She comforted me with her words: that means…something new will come.

Something new. Here I had seen all the heat as a curse. But maybe it was a blessing. Maybe it was God’s way somehow of bringing new things into our lives.

Sitting there in the tub with Ted, I realized that hot could be comfortable. That I could find hope in the heat, knowing that something new was coming. I had tried the hot tub for the first time and I liked it a lot. I imagined that there were many other new experiences I could try, new things that could only come when these older ones had died or dissolved. I didn’t know what they were, but I knew as I sat there in my swimsuit with the water warm around me that I could wait. I stared up into the sky, up at the one blur of a bright star that I could see.

Suddenly, I felt I could trust God again. These exchanges of the soul happen in mysterious moments and I won’t claim to comprehend what had happened within me. But I felt I could trust God again to do new things in my life. To do good things in my life. If all I could see was one star in the sky, I would follow that star. I would wait for the hope.

After that night, now I know I can be hot and comfortable. 😉

Tags: journal

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 enoch choi // Sep 17, 2004 at 2:25 am

    oh, but the pseudomonas! aaack! that said, tania & i love hot tubbing and would love to save up for one next to our pool…

    never have had such a spa experience that you have though… we can only hope to be as open to God’s rekindling of hope in us…