September 4, 2011
The river runs through it. Through everything. In fact, life is a lot like a river. Despite the rocks and sticks and muddy waters, if you go with the flow, you’ll be better off.
To escape the broiling heat of Zion National Park, my husband enrolled me and the kids in a two-hour tubing excursion down the Virgin River. A day after a flash flood thundered through the canyons, we bravely listened to the on-site guide about the unguided tubing tour.
“This is not a lazy river,” she began. I envisioned a yawning tunnel of water, barely moving. Kind of like the James River near Richmond, VA.
“You will get bumped and caught on rocks. So beware.” She inserted a dramatic pause, then continued. “Whatever you do, never, ever let go of your inner tube.” With that, she showed us the way to the trail that lead to our certain demise.
I plopped in the river first, demonstrating the ‘turtle flop’ she had showed us on land. The kids aptly followed, then Husband. Within 60 seconds, we were ambling downstream, accompanied by the sound of rushing water.
At first I ambitiously fought the rocks that snagged and snarled me at every turn. I actively pushed my way hither and yon, fully expecting to move more quickly down the Virgin if I could only be strategic enough. I wanted to be in the middle of that river because that’s where it seemed to run the smoothest. At some point my strength left me, so I allowed the river to do its will.
And wouldn’t you know, I was faster?
It was in that moment, as my tube was hurled onto a rock without restraint that I realized how powerful slow can be. You needn’t course correct for the mere purpose of being in midstream. You can allow those gentle bumps and swirls to guide you through seemingly impossible tight spots.
“A river really is a lot like life,” I concluded as we finally reached our shoreline destination. “Go with the flow and know there will be twists and turns to guide you to the end.”
The beauty of a river, like life itself, is the sound the water makes as it meets resistance. What sound do you make when you meet an obstacle? Herumph or hurray?
Trust the flow, my friends. It will take you where you need to be.