Welcome to this quiet spiritual place in a world of busyness and chaos. My name is Janet Hagberg and this is a place of respite, inspiration, beauty, deepening, healing and hope. My intent is for you to meet, in this space, a God of humor, challenge, calm and love. I see myself as an Anchoress, a non-anxious presence in the world. If you would like to know more about me, please go to my web site, www.janethagberg.com

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River Water Flowing http://www.janethagberg.com/music/Stream.mp3

This site, At River’s Edge has special significance to me because I have  lived near water, mostly rivers and streams, most of my life. While I prefer to recall my memories of living near water as beautiful and even calming, like this photo of a gently running creek, water is much more adventurous and even a bit dangerous.

So the deeper story of this site, At River’s Edge, is about the invitation from our spirits to engage in our inner life in new and adventurous ways. The idea of how we do that comes from a powerful story I learned from Margaret Silf, author of The Inner Compass. It starts with this idea: “Each breath is a stepping-stone to God.”

I let myself into a picture of myself standing on a stone in a river that is wide, clear and wild, full of unseen currents and unexpected rapids but calm shallows as well. I can feel at home in the river, standing on my stepping stone of truth. This is the river scene that you saw when you entered this site.

Behind me is my little home, a stone cottage that keeps me warm and safe and keeps the world at bay. It is my kingdom, a place to return to when the river runs too wild or too cold or when predators stalk the shoreline. It contains all that I hold dear.

There is something disconcerting about the view over the water. What seemed like a journey of adventure now seems more ominous because there is only one stepping stone here and I am standing on it. There is no way forward. There are stones behind me but no obvious journey ahead. So I stand here in the present moment and wait. For a moment I panic, but then my panic recedes and leaves me free to stand on my stone, breathing in the air, feeling the spray of water, listening to God’s heartbeat pulsing through creation. Waiting, just waiting for God.

Then when my heart is still, God is there beside me, silently placing the next stone in front of me and inviting me to take another step into the trackless waters. Another breath, another step forward, another stone. Just one more stone.

As time passes, I learn to recognize God’s ways, and to trust, as I stand in the middle of the fast-moving water. God will always bring one more stone– just one–and call me forward one more step. I welcome God’s arrival.

I come to expect God and to rely on this steadiness as I stand on my little island and feel a ripple of anticipation for the next stone. I turn to greet God but God is a little late today, still on the riverbank searching out the right stone. And only now I see how God is doing it. God is taking the stones away, one at a time, from my cottage on the riverbank. Already it is half demolished. God is dismantling my kingdom, bit by bit, to provide me with the way to discover a new kingdom.

This story is doubly significant for me now since I live near the Mississippi river’s edge, but I have also felt God gently dismantling my kingdom in favor of something better. Perhaps we can take this journey together, as you venture farther out into the swirling water as well.  May we watch together, as our cottages are being dismantled and we are called out farther into the swirling water on this adventure with God.

Gaze at this candle as a way to calm down and to get ready for this wonderful adventure.