I found myself adrift on a river; a river made muddy by choices I’d made. For years too many to count, I had rowed mightily toward nowhere, often encountering rocks and desolate shores; shores left barren by others like me who had used the best of what they’d found, then tossed the remnants of their own lives into the swollen muddy stream—giving up.
As my senses—what was left of them—began to awake, I realized my oars were missing. The brass eyes that had held them to the boat were gone as well, the place where they had been smooth—though unpainted—as if they’d not been there at all.
I crawled up out of the bottom of the boat, feeling worn and sore as if I’d been roughly tossed by many storms, and sat on the seat. Gazing around me, I saw a clump of trees directly ahead, and a fist of panic gripped my insides as I realized the boat was moving too fast and would soon crash into the shore.
Frantically I searched the boat for something to use as a paddle, but found my vessel empty. Leaning over the side, I paddled furiously with my hands, but to no avail. The boat seemed to move not only of its own accord but with determined ferocity, racing toward the trees and sure destruction. And then… suddenly… it began to slow and turn.
Drifting, feeling the rushing water calming beneath the boat, I stared in wonder at another river running alongside the one I floated upon. The water in the parallel stream was blue and clear unlike anything I’d ever seen. A longing to be on the sparkling highway of pure blue silk filled me with something I’d not felt in all my days traveling upon the lifeless river I’d chosen to ride. Hope.
I knew in an instant not only could I go to the blue river, but I could have been upon it from the beginning. In the recesses of my memory I found it, and recalled turning away from it, not knowing, not seeing, how wonderful life upon it could be.
Slowly, the boat slid toward the blue river, pushed by a breeze—a gentle hand at my back—not pushing but guiding, as a mother would ease her child toward the bus on that first day of school.
As the boat slid onto the calm blue water, in my mind there appeared the face of my mother—smiling, yet with tears streaming down her face—and I saw that her eyes were the same sparkling blue as the water upon which I now floated. I knew then I had begun a new journey, and I knew, too, there was much to learn about this river called love.
I wondered how, without oars, I was to navigate this wondrous river, but then I saw that when I turned my eyes one way or the other, the boat went in the direction of my gaze. I smiled—more a joyful grin than a smile—knowing I’d been given my first bit of knowledge. Knowing, too, it was the simplest yet most important lesson I would ever learn; look toward the place you want to be. No oars required.
Copyright © 2013 C Mashburn