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  • Amber Grgich & Ben Ward

To Be Still.

This blog is a collaboration between Amber G., and Ben W. Sometimes it feels like, despite all the good & stable things going on in my life, I am unable to see the value or longevity of a situation and I find myself constantly searching for the next big thing. I blame it on my restless soul that yearns for harder, better, faster stronger experiences. I am an adventure junky in the sense that I need to be moving or doing something new every nine months to two years. Standing still or repeating the same thing day in and day out is exhausting, not something I have ever really done before. I’ve always thought that I was built for mobility- built to travel, able to sit, drive, and stay awake for hours on end. In the past I have changed goals, moved homes, and switched dreams about every 9 months since I have been eighteen years old. Ask my parents, trying to keep up with what my next endeavor was/is a little difficult to keep up with. Thus far, I have had a fair share of jobs/careers, made lots of connections, and experienced quite a bit of life. Up until now, it has been fun never knowing what the next year would look like. The longest I have been in one place as an adult has been 2 years. Switch to present day, I have a great job, I live in a beautiful place that challenges and nurtures me simultaneously, and despite of all of this, I am feeling stagnant. I feel stuck in my spiritual, physical, and emotional life. My restless soul isn’t easily settled. What’s a girl to do? I am feeling all these stuck, sluggish feelings so I turn to my friend and coworker to gain some perspective: Enter, Ben Ward: "I visit Yosemite Nat'l Park on a fairly regular basis, frequenting there multiple times a year in order to climb, swim in the river, breathe mountain air, and chase the memories of John Muir. Yosemite is an amazing refuge packed with emerald streams, soaring granite walls, and drama that is rarely matched anywhere else in the world. I've found myself in amazement sleeping under the canopy of pine needles and stars, enjoying the quiet of the high meadows, and the exhilaration of scaling a thousand-foot cliff. There is probably no end to the explorations and wonder that Yosemite has to offer. There is a humble place though, that I make sure and visit, without fail, every time I drive into Yosemite Valley—that being the indelible Fern Spring. Fern Spring is a natural spring flowing out of a forest laden hillside, just upslope from the Merced River. A local climber named Ron Kauk helped build a partial stone dam to pool the water which appears from the ground and flows under the highway to the river. Fern Spring water is cold and pure, and the twenty-four inch deep pool is clear as glass. Even though water is constantly flowing into, and out of the basin, the pool of water is perfectly still, without a single ripple or bend. The reaction upon seeing this spring is no doubt carnal and instinctive: to bend down and lower one's lips to the water's surface and drink deeply of the earth's bounty. I've drunk from Fern Spring countless times, and ritualistically fill my water bottles upon arrival and departure of Yosemite Valley for the past four years. Let's switch gears for a bit though. What's the value in writing about, or thinking about a place such as Fern Spring? After all, it's a fairly inconspicuous place—residing just off Hwy 120, surrounded by a split-rail fence with a NPS sign to tell you it's name. Most people undoubtedly drive by the eight-foot pool without a ripple or bend. After all, the walls of El Capitan and Half Dome await just a few miles down the road. Here's the reason. Fern Spring represents a beautiful paradox. While it is completely still, it invites interaction, it is constantly moving, it is pure & clean, it is both quiet and voluminous all at once. Though it is still, the water moving through the pool is always new, it is never stagnant. Here's the lesson: Being still doesn't mean that you are trapped in murky waters which fosters stench and poison. It doesn't mean that your life is void of purpose or that you can't learn from your ongoing circumstances and situations. Being still doesn't mean that you are stuck. INSTEAD, being still means that you are open to God's voice and direction flowing through you; being still means that you are listening to the people around you and offering them a place to rest. Being still is about recognizing life, and life abundantly, it is about resting in the love of Christ. The lesson of Fern Spring, is that even when we are still, we invite others to participate in what we have to offer, not because we move about to the next best thing, but because we are willing to receive the blessings of life, and have good things to offer." So after gleaning from the wisdom of my life friends, I have been able to rest in today- to not look to the things I’m not doing- and I am okay with where I am. Heck, I am more okay with it; I am downright stoked to wake up each day and dream of summer camp. My friends, it is a slippery slope questioning the things of the future- we don't control any of it, so all we can do is stand firm on truth- wherever that comes from stand firm on truth. You will get to where you need to be, just give it time and embrace where you are, look up every once in awhile, the view ain’t half bad.

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