“I’ve been there and am going back. Make of it what you will.”I walk up a long hill and I know—even before I get to the top I know what the river will be like because I can already hear it singing. And there it is at last, running clear and bright and irresistible in the warm white of that day. Without thinking I am drawn to it; I know at once it is the place I’ve always been going. When I get to the river’s edge I take the robe, full of dirt and torn with many sorrows, and sink it into the river—sink it with both hands pushing down until it touches all the way to the stones at the bottom.
—Leif Enger, Peace Like a River
For a moment it is just a crumpled pile of rags, then all at once the current catches and the robe is unfurled beside me. There is one place near the collar that I hold while the rest is pulled in time to the rhythm of the waters. And there at the bottom of the river just above the rocks, there in beauty of the light and crystal water I see my sorrows dance like the morning sun. The robe waves and trembles caught in the river’s pull, and I want to laugh to see how it is so quickly washed white, how it is so completely mended. It is pure and shining in the light and even after all that happened, even after so many things broke apart, there it is all the same but better—one and whole and soaked through with the glory of God.
I pull it out heavy and wet, and as I do a gust of wind billows the robe full and light and floats it gently through the air. I put it on and look around me at the others who have come. Now we know. Now we can say at last that we survived the great ordeal. And there is nothing left but to sing, to dance, to laugh, to delight in the new-making tears and the river of the blood of the Lamb.