Trusting The Flow

Trusting the Flow

Every day I hear the sound of water returning to itself as it falls and swirls its way over cold hard stones. The water is stuck in a perpetual cycle, falling downward only to be pushed back up. Like Sisyphus it rises and falls, going nowhere.

I walk down to the river toward unfamiliar places carved by a storm of biblical proportions. The river, more a stream most seasons, now meanders through fields where Black Angus once grazed. It makes its way into and out of its old riverbed, following the instructions of a fickle Mother Nature. I find peace in the river, even in its altered state. In spite of all the new twists and turns, the river still knows where it is going. The river is moving. The river is not stuck.

I was. Stuck, that is. I’d been through my own storm of biblical proportions and I felt more like the water feature in my backyard, cascading down only to be pumped back to where I began. I read the words of poet Mark Nepo: “Can you endure your uncertainty until it shows you another deeper way?” I did not like Mark Nepo.

Last spring I visited friends in New England. Though it was mid-March, the full moon cast its scattered shadow on fresh-fallen snow. David was not feeling well. Carol and I talked by the fire. She looked at the stuck me and said matter-of-fact, “You cannot go back. You have to let go.” Carol is a prophet. She tells the truth you do not want to hear. You hear it because you know you are loved.

I have to fill the water feature every seven days. The water, weary of its circular journey, gives up and evaporates. My babbling brook is not self-sustaining. It requires electricity to run the pump and a human to fill the basin. The water feature has to be handled. The river does not have to be handled. In fact, if you notice, every time the Army Corps of Engineers tries to handle any river they only make things worse. Rivers should not be handled. They should be trusted.

So, I trust the flow.  Occasionally I try to stand still and withstand the rushing waters, but I am learning that does nothing but exhaust body and soul.  I already know you cannot go back upriver.  Last week, on my blog at, I wrote about a hike long ago when I did go back.  And yep, sure enough, I did not get where I wanted to go.  Interesting how that works.  Only by moving forward, trusting the flow, do you reach your destination.

Raging storm or meandering stream, we all must let go and trust the flow. It is the only way to reach the freedom of the open sea.