Roll your eyes. Analogy time. I'm a young girl, in my canoe on the river of life. I find an excellent partner to paddle along with me, and though we skirmish a bit deciding who will steer, we settle into a rhythm before long. Of course we hit the rapids, and they look very frightening indeed right before we run a narrow, rocky, steep section. Class five sometimes. A couple of capsizing episodes, but we get back in and paddle like mad. We make the calm, glassy, deep part and lie back, resting our arms and catching our breath. The sun beats down and we get a little crispy, so we don't mind the cliffs that block the sun even if they mean more rapids. We have helmets by now, with our acquired respect for rocks that jut up in the most inopportune spots.
One day I look around the canoe for a particular thing, only to find so much stuff. We have filled our little boat with so much stuff. It's a wonder we can float at all. It's a wonder we can find the things we really need, like paddles. But lightening our load can be tricky. Stuff that seems burdensome to me might my partner's important something. And vice versa. But we do shed some stuff, and gain a little room to maneuver.
For a short while (maybe years, yes?) I thought I needed to give steering advice to every canoe within shouting distance. They needed the benefit of my expertise, right? And I clearly had it figured out. Clearly. What to do in a rainstorm, a pirate attack, a dark night in the tricky part. But, blessedly, I learned a couple of things. Late, maybe, but still...
People like to run the river their own way. Not everyone huddles under overlying branches in the lightening storm. Some people get out and swim for fun! And sure enough, they are able to get back in. Oh, there are some constants that apply to everyone. We are all moving, all carried by the years, by the advancing currents that lead us to old age and beyond, if we are so blessed. We can tie our little boat to moments by our sheer will to remember. But we will continue our journey no matter how much we want to look back to the way it used to be. And if we look back too much, we might miss that beautiful sunset over the Oak Tree ahead. Or the first star barely visible in that soft blue velvet sky. It can be tempting to want a map that shows every feature that lies ahead. But I also have learned that looking down at a map, or a cell phone, or a book, or a computer keeps me from soaking in the scenery around me.
Happy paddling everyone. See you at the seashore.