After incredible rains this past spring, we experienced record flooding of the river that runs through our property. Back in the woods, where I frequently walk, I was taking my usual route, but I couldn’t finish it, because the river had flooded over the path. I could walk to a certain point and then I had to stop. I could see the other side of the riverbank that usually surrounded a muddy ravine, but I couldn’t reach it. Not by walking, anyway.
What could I do? I turned around and went back the way I had come. Back at the house, I started thinking. Life is kind of like that. You walk along, doing the things you’ve always done. Stuff makes you happy; other stuff makes you sad; still other stuff frustrates you, but for the most part you are comfortable with things and there is no reason to change. You see it as good. Then something outside of your control changes. Maybe you lose a job. Maybe you get sick. Maybe someone dies. Maybe, you just hit a point where there is too much going on and you feel overwhelmed by it all. Your path is flooded. What do you do?
As you stand on one side of the water, you can see the bank on the other side. Questions begin swirling in your mind. Do you want to reach the other bank? Do you need to reach it? Did you leave stuff there that you need to retrieve before you take a different direction? How important is it to you to get across?
Based on the answers you come up with, you begin to make choices:
And that’s how your life begins to move on. You may come to the same flood again and again, but each time the circumstances you are in may make you decide to do something different. One time, the flood might seem like the beginning of years of struggle and heartache. Another time the flood is just a backdrop for larger events in your life that go on in spite of it. Each time the flood comes, the choices you make create the way you experience it.
The waters will recede. In the meantime, I’ve found a new way of getting around the water. It takes more time and it’s more work, but making it to the other side of the riverbank is important to me. It will be interesting to see what I have learned when I reach the other side.
A few weeks ago, my son was playing in the woods and saw a doe swimming through the flooded ravine. Obviously she had decided it was important to get to the other side. He had never seen a deer swim before. It’s amazing what you can do when you need to.