Sunday, December 19, 2010


A counselor shares a river metaphor with me. We are all floating down the river of life. Some of us are floating in the luxury of a huge yacht or the pleasure of a big party boat. Some of us are on a barge or a pontoon, others are in speed boats, or flowing down the river in a sailboat. I am in a kayak.

This is actually good news. For the first year or so after Colby's passing I was swimming, some days I was just treading water to stay afloat. Now I have a kayak. While my journey right now is very much a solo journey, I have the luxury of some direction. I can wield my paddle to direct the kayak toward the shoreline, where I can stop and rest for as long as I need to. I can float alongside a cabin cruiser or a barge filled with friends if I choose. In my kayak, I can sometimes see the rapids ahead and choose the easiest path through them. Then again, sometimes I come upon the rapids in the darkest of nights and am fully at their mercy.

Throughout our lives we can switch boats. While I grew up on a pontoon, for many years Colby and I were in a rowboat. I manned the oars of that boat alone for many years, but as Colby got older, he was able to spell me often. When he passed away, our rowboat sunk and I was left adrift.

I have a goal. I want to trade my kayak for a canoe. Canoes are easier to handle, drier, often slower, and it is easier to get your bearings in them. Plus, they are not so physically exhausting to manage. In my canoe, I can arrange my thoughts, my feelings, my goals, my plans. It is too cramped in the kayak to do that. Someday soon, I hope to find my canoe. In the meantime, I will continue to paddle down the river and learn to portage around the waterfalls that are sure to lie ahead.

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