Enjoying the River of Life

This weekend we went canoeing/kayaking down the mighty Penns Creek with my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece. As we enjoyed an absolutely perfect day afloat, I could not help but think about this popular metaphor: life is like a river. So, of course, I must share my interpretation of the metaphor and the lessons I’ve learned from thinking about it.

Life is like a river…

Life is like a river…
It never stops
We just flow into
Something bigger eventually
We may be transformed along the way
But the essence of our being remains
We are meant to flow and float along peacefully
But sometimes even our best intentions get in the way

Life is like a river…
We all want to stay dry
We definitely don’t want to be immersed
Others splash us
Sometimes we do it ourselves accidentally
We may have creative ways to keep from getting wet
But no matter how hard we try
We will all get wet!

Life is like a river…
There are many choices to be made
Sometimes we make good choices
And the ride is smooth
Sometimes we make risky choices
And the ride is treacherous
Sometimes we make bad choices
And have to carry the boat

Life is like a river…
We can’t always see where we are going
Until it is too late
Sometimes we can rely on our knowledge
To choose the best channel
Sometimes our past helps us
Make this choice
Most of the time the best we can do
Is float along hope-fully

Life is like a river…
There are times we will work hard
To stop moving toward the dam
We will paddle upstream
We will grasp at rocks along the bank
Grab a tree limb
This may buy us time,
But eventually we go over the dam
Or we have to get out of the boat!

Life is like a river…
There is so much beauty all around us
Sometimes we sit back and relax
And savor this peace
Sometimes we get distracted by
An annoying bug.
Sometimes we are so busy paddling
We miss the bald eagle soaring above

Life is like a river…
When you can choose
Pick your boat mates carefully
You might need a good laugh
You might need someone to hand you a tissue
You might need someone to give you a push
You might need someone to give you a hug

Life is like a river…
When the water is calm
We can immerse ourselves
In the beauty and peace that surrounds us
We can hold peace for someone who can’t
We can bring those who are in troubled waters
To mind
And in doing so bring peace to them

Life is like a river…
Try not to be too busy to stop
And help someone along the way
The favor may be returned to you one day
Smile and wave to those you meet along the journey
Share your joy and peace
We don’t lose what we share
We get it back tenfold

Life is like a river…
There are many parties and celebrations
Along the bank
When you pick the right ones
To stop at
You will enjoy good food, good fellowship
Laughter and music
This reminds you of the joy and peace
God wants you to have

Life is like a river…
If we get too focused on our destination
We do not experience the journey
If we dwell on how far we have to go
We get tired and irritable
But even in the murkiest water,
There is treasure to be found
A steady current
Keeps us moving forward
And if we appreciate each moment
Incredible peace settles in our soul


“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” Revelations 22:1


“Love is the river of life in the world.” –Henry Ward Beecher

“We occasionally rested in the shade of a maple or a willow, and drew forth a melon for our refreshment, while we contemplated at our leisure the lapse of the river and of human life; and as that current, with its floating twigs and leaves, so did all things pass in review before us, while far away in cities and marts on this very stream, the old routine was proceeding still. There is, indeed, a tide in the affairs of men, as the poet says, and yet as things flow they circulate, and the ebb always balances the flow. All streams are but tributary to the ocean, which itself does not stream, and the shores are unchanged, but in longer periods than man can measure. Go where we will, we discover infinite change in particulars only, not in generals.” –Henry David Thoreau


Heavenly Father, thank you for the beauty of the creek and the beauty of life. Thank you for giving me so many lessons to help me appreciate this journey. Thank you for keeping me afloat when the water was rough. Thank you for surrounding me with the love I need to keep afloat. Thank you for giving me calm water full of peace and joy. Thank you for peaceful melodies that blend with the sound of water rushing over rocks allowing my mind to drift far away from this world and into your loving arms. Amen.


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