August 31, 2020

I received these lovely words taken from John Philip Newell’s “Sounds of the Eternal: A Celtic Psalter” on Sunday morning from a friend:

The strength of the rising sun, 

the strength of the swelling sea,

the strength of the high mountains,

the strength of the fertile plains,

the strength of the everlasting river,

flowing in us and through us this day

the strength of the river of God

flowing in us and through us this day

A little over a week ago, Rod and I went on an 8-mile kayak adventure on a fast and high Shenandoah River with our 15-year-old granddaughter Lily. The river carried us through a blessed time without cell phones or electronics, a time in which quiet conversations gave way to silence, the sound of a fishing jumping and then slapping back into the water, the cry of cranes, the sound of the paddles stroking the water, the sound of water rushing through rapids, and our quiet gasps of joy when 6 turtles were displayed in all their glory on a branch that had fallen into the river. Aside from the occasional mile markers, and those moments when I gave into the temptation to check the time, the river simply did what rivers do. It flowed, mindless of time or distance, anxiety or peace. 

A friend in Honolulu won a free night at a hotel right on the beach in Waikiki. She told the story of watching several children trying to float on inflatable tubes in the surf.  Two of the children kept fighting the waves, and kept falling off their floats. The third child sat back in the tube, and gave in to the surf, and she was carried gently in and out, in and out.

Newell’s writing challenges me to remember that a strength flows in and through us each and every day of our lives, the strength of the One beyond time, beyond imagination, the One who invites us to become aware of the flow. Like those children in the surf of Waikiki, I try so hard, I fret so much, and I try to control life, when perhaps what I am called to do is to trust the One who carries me.

The strength of the river of God in and through you this day! ~ Anne

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