I chose to use the image of water running over stones. Having done this, I just had to explain why. You see, one of my favorite concepts of spirituality is from A River Runs through it. There are so many layers here. Please, think about how this son's most powerful sermon, came not from a pulpit, but from the banks of a river. Think about how this preacher so easily skips over the divide between the science that explains that the earth is billions of years old and his Bible that says otherwise, to find Grace. Think about how Norman presents this, how he melds the words of God and the words of his father and the words of the people he has known, loved and lost. Think of how those words flow, over and above and around the rocks. Let the idea of loving completely, but without full understanding run through you, let it cut through you like a river and make you never the same again. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it. This is Grace, this is Nirvana, this is Heaven... Loving completely, like water rolling over unmoving stones.
My father almost always chose a path along the Big Blackfoot, which we considered our family river. It was there he felt his soul restored and his imagination stirred.
Long ago rain fell on mud and became rock. Halt. A billion years ago. But even before that, beneath the rocks, are the words of God. Listen...
Norman (narrator): And if Paul and I listened very carefully all our lives...we might hear those words. Paul and I received as many hours of instruction in fly-fishing, as we did in all other spiritual matters. As a Presbyterian, my father believed that man, by nature, was a damn mess and that only by picking up God's rhythms were we able to regain power and beauty. To him, all good things, trout as well as eternal salvation, come by grace. And grace comes by art, and art does not come easy. I remember the last sermon l heard him give not long before his own death.
Each one of us here today will, at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question, "We are willing to help, Lord but what, if anything, is needed?" It is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don't know what part of ourselves to give, or more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us but we can still love them. We can love completely without complete understanding.
Norman (narrator): Now nearly all those I loved and did not understand in my youth are dead, but I still reach out to them. Of course, now I'm too old to be much of a fisherman. And now I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn't. But when I am alone in the half-light of the canyon all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters."
P.S. Please enjoy this image: my sons, my purpose, my inspiration, my Grace.