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NAVIGATING THE CURRENTS

In the last seven to ten days, I’ve received concerning news about a handful of people that I love dearly. I’d like to tell you that I’ve put it in God’s hands, but the giant knot in my left shoulder from stress is calling me out. Instead of handing it over, I’m holding onto it in my mind, in my shoulder and in my unrest. I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. As much as we know that God is in control, we try our best to help him.

I think it’s a basic part of our nature. We want to control things. We want to know exactly what’s going on at all times and why. And, we want to determine the outcome. But, life just isn’t like that. As convenient as it would be for everything in life to be tempered the way we want it, it would deplete life’s mystery and all the lessons that go along with navigating that mystery.

Yesterday, while waiting at Whole Foods for a chair massage to work on that knot in my left shoulder, I looked through all the herbs and homeopathic remedies, flowers, juices, fruits and soaps. And, my final stopping point before climbing into that massage chair was a table full of books. If people were reading or buying them, you wouldn’t know it. They were all covered in a very thin layer of dust. But, I’m in Whole Foods, so, who knows, that dust might have been some sacred addition with healing powers brought in by a local farmer. I oblige, because, at this point, any healing of my mind, body and spirit are welcome. So, with a shake of the book, I opened it up to what I have to believe was the page I was meant to read. It said, “You need not be concerned about he future, only the now.”

It was simple and to the point. And, it almost felt as if it was a command. I felt my body straighten up and my mind expand. “We cannot swim against the tide of life,” I thought. “Instead, we have to swim with it knowing that it will take us exactly where we’re supposed to be.”

Each year my sweet husband lines up an Arkansas Expedition for our family and friends. There’s always a fun and exciting itinerary that boasts of outdoor activity and plenty of time to relax into the beauty and splendor of the Natural State. However, the trip is always built around a six mile float via canoe or kayak down the Buffalo River. There aren’t a lot of rapids in that river, but there are a lot of people floating during the time we’re there. So, when you do hit a small rapid and you’re close to another kayak or canoe, getting caught up in a river bank or turning over are strong possibilities. And, friends, my beloved Cheetos getting wet is NOT an option.

On the first two to four floats down the Buffalo River, I found myself at attention and ready to do whatever was necessary to keep our canoe afloat (and, my Cheetos dry). But, in truth, I didn’t know when the rapids would come or if there were going to be other canoes and kayaks coming through them at the same time. I was bracing for the worst the entire float. Nevermind the splendor of the bluffs, the fun of having friends float along with you and the fact that we were on vacation. No, I was focused on what was ahead. And, friends, I can tell you this for sure, I didn’t enjoy the ride.

Life is precious. Its currents are not in our control. But, the God who made those currents certainly is. And, if we can hand it over to him, then, surely we can stay in the moment, enjoying the ride of this mystery called “life.”

I don’t know about y’all, but I want to be less concerned about the rapids ahead and more present to see all the beauty and splendor that this very moment holds. Whatever is going on in life or is to come, is mostly out of our control. We must remember that God is in control, always. What a comforting truth that is. Write it in your heart and seize the moment. There’s probably something really precious in it that you’re missing. Why? Because you’re too far ahead of yourself to be in the moment, taking in this beautiful life.

Stay Divine,

JL PARISH

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