Dear Loved Ones,
It was my birthday last week, and, before we got to the day, my friend asked me what I wanted to do. I didn’t really know, except I wanted to get take out from the new restaurant in town for dinner, so I said, “Let’s go on an adventure!” She had heard of a place where we could go tubing, so on my birthday we set off to rent our tubes. The shuttle bus took us upstream to the drop off point, and we walked down to the river. The sun was shining, the water was warm, and I was looking forward to a relaxing float down the river back to the beach.
Right where we got on, there were some rapids, and we navigated those well, but soon, after some more rapids, my water bottle got away from me. I jumped off my tube, holding onto it in the current, and tried to get to my water bottle, but I could not reach it as it swirled in an eddy up against the bank, caught in place by a bend in the river. I swam down river a ways, and my phone floated up, out of my pocket. I grabbed it and stuck it deep in my swim suit. The masks we had worn were gone from my pocket too, and I did not see them continue their adventure. As we caught a break from the rapids, my friend and I were laughing at what had happened, calling it a true adventure, not a calm, restful float down the river, joking about what we would tell the other in our monastery about what happened to the one who got truly lost!
As we approached a new set of rapids, and I tried to paddle into the center of the river, but the current pushed me into the bank, flipping me off the tube and down against a large tree trunk. The tube was caught on a branch, and when I tried to get back to it I kept being pushed back against the trunk, realizing that if I tried to rescue the tube I was likely to be thrown against the tree trunk and possibly be hurt. So I made the choice to abandon the tube.
So now, there I was, no water bottle, no masks, cell phone tucked in my swim suit, and no tube, floating down the river. I kept my feet first, in case of underwater rocks and trees, and we worked/swam/floated our way downstream for another 1 ½ hours to the landing beach.
After I got into the rhythm of this stage, the floating without the extra things, and after I realized that all was well with no tube, I began to relax and feel the presence of God. The river was beautiful, the company great, the day was gorgeous, the water warm enough. A sense of gratitude arose, a wellbeing that I don’t think I would have felt if I had still been juggling the water bottle, the tube, the stuff. In this natural, deep in the water state, fully immersed in the present, I could relax and be, floating in the Waters of Life, held by God’s currents, unencumbered.
I have reflected since then what extra things do I carry that feel cumbersome, both on a physical and emotional/spiritual level. What can I leave behind? What am I struggling to keep a hold of, even when everything is pulling it away? And, I have reflected on the danger of wishing for an adventure!
What is God trying to encourage you to let go of? What is pulling you forward?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.