Monday, October 3, 2016

Navigating Life

The Mystery within...
Like a river, life flows on. 

Many years ago I had the honor of having my breadth taken away on a warm, humid afternoon when I jumped from a johnboat into an ice-cold crystal clear river in Missouri.  Returning to the water’s surface I gasped, panicky, until I could finally inhale again—the water was that cold.  And then I dove back under the cold clearness and watched a giant turtle swimming under a submerged tree and was awestruck by other beauty in the river’s icy clarity.  Another river immersion experience came later when I talked my visiting brother (who doesn’t like water) to canoe with me on a stretch of the Milwaukee River near my home.  We hit a nearly submerged tree and dumped in surprisingly deep, warm, murky water.  I panicked hoping I hadn’t drowned him.  But we retrieved our paddles, pushed the canoe to the bank, up righted it, and then proceeded to search down river for belongings we had that floated.  After he returned to Colorado he sent me a note that closed with, “Dumping in the Milwaukee River—priceless.”  And then there was the raft trip I took my two youngest children on when we visited in Colorado (my brother did not join us).  When we hit the meanest stretch of wild, splashing cold water, big rocks on either side of us, holding on for our life, and screaming, I promised God if you let us live I will never do anything so foolish again.  When our feet touched dry land I apologized profusely to my children and told them I didn’t think it was going be that scary.  To which my young daughter uncharacteriscally responded,  “It’s okay.  It will help me to not be so afraid.”

If life is like a river, I’ve been on another eventful stretch with my son’s month long hospitalization, most of it in intensive care, after two major surgeries, the second one a life threatening emergency.  He’s home now recuperating.  Gratefully, life is returning to a smoother flow.  Priceless gifts, however, did come with this journey.  Trauma brought clarity.  It highlighted what is truly important in life.  It let us know that we really do love one another, and helped us not be so afraid of where the river may take us next.

What if we could go-with-the-flow of life more often--knowing priceless gifts do come wherever the river takes us next?

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