When peace like a river attendeth my way...
Gary & I went kayaking Friday. We usually go once a week, but I have been out of town or sick the last couple of times, so I was really looking forward to this week's float. After my last long run, the sore throat and vague body aches that I had been feeling blossomed into a full blown viral infection that started in my throat, then traveled to various other body parts and left me weak, grouchy, and exhausted. I'm not sick very often, so when I am, I have a tendency to become more whiny than usual and wonder if I'll ever feel good again. Yes, I know that's a little melodramatic, but, as the daughter of a true "Drama Queen", believe me when I say that I could be a lot worse. Really.
Anyway, we left early Friday morning and headed south to the "Wild and Scenic River" in our area - Black Creek. It was a really nice day, and we've done other parts of this float before, so I knew it would be a great treat. The water level was low and there were a lot of trees down, so I knew going in that it would be a little more work than usual, but that was okay, too, as I was ready for a workout of some sort.
We launched easily and started the lazy float downriver. Artillery fire from Camp Shelby punctuated the start of our trip. I guess they didn't get the memo to wait until we were done with our float to start artillery practice. But, I didn't mind. It just sounded like freedom to me.
Soon, our usual white egret guide began leading us, flying from one post to another to alert us to any dangers we might face around the bend. It stayed with us until about the midway point, then relinquished its duties to a second pair of snowy white birds. We saw huge herons, lots of fish, and I think I heard a wild pig rooting around on the bank. No alligators or snakes this time, though. Thankful for that.
As we came to shallow sections and log jams, we manuevered through them, or got out and pulled. Not having Gary's upper body strength, I resorted to getting out more often than he did. I usually get out rather than power through log jams, as I have a mild fear that a snake will drop out of the tree limbs and into my boat. Don't laugh. It could happen.
As we floated, there was a deep abiding silence. Even the artillery fire subsided as we floated further away. I reflected on how life if very much like this river float. Long stretches where we glide along, buffeted by work, school, social functions, sports. Easy times when laughter is plentiful and sleep comes fast. Then there are those times when life gets shallow and caught in log jams, and we have to get out and pull. Much more effort is required, and it's so much easier when we're not alone and we have the right tools for the job. My kayak has a pull rope on it that gives me leverage as I pull it through rocks and sand. It is attached to the front, and just lies there waiting for me to grab it when I need it. My life has a pull rope, too. My faith in Jesus Christ. He's the One who assists me through those shallow, rocky spots in life. He's always with me, waiting for me to reach out and grab hold, providing solid leverage against an uncertain world. I truly don't know how those who don't have Him make it. Many don't, of course. Some turn to poor substitutes like drugs and alcohol. I'm so thankful that I'm not alone during the tough times. I'm thankful, too, that He has brought people to my life who help me through.
Our morning worship today included the song I listed as the title of this post. It is one of my favorites, an old, old song that has solid truth in every line. Then, our pastor led us in worship with a reminder that we need each other and should seek relationships with other believers who become our accountability partners, friends, and family. People who will reach back and pull you through when you're stuck in a log jam. People who will reflect Jesus to you.
I am feeling better, finally. I ran early this morning, before church, while Gary rode his bike, and it was a very good run. I'm still not 100%, but I'm getting there. I'm so very thankful that God has brought running to my life. I pray that I'll be the 90 year old age group winner of the 2051 NYC Marthon. Don't laugh. It could happen.
It is, truly, well with my soul.