The River of Life

by Timm Seaman

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As our lives unfurl before us, we often forget the journey that brings us from childhood to adulthood and beyond.

In the hectic and tumultuous confusion of everyday living, we often do not foresee the journey ahead that will bring us to old age and eventually into eternity. But at some point in our journey of life, if we slow down to enjoy it, and take time to ponder its joys and its heartbreaks and all those wonderous things that mould us into who we are, we suddenly realize how closely our lives mimic the river of life.

Life is a river into itself, beginning as two droplets that combine together high in the mountains of ecstasy to form the beginning of a new life. As this new creation begins to take on a life of its own, it begins the journey known as the river of life, meandering and changing direction and growing as it flows toward the sea. It eventually merges with the ocean of eternity where it ceases to exit, but lives on in the memories and lives of those it leaves behind.

So come with me as we explore this river of life. Share with me the good and the bad, the joys and the sorrows, the twists and turns that create and shape our river as we know it.

Those two droplets, born in the mountains of ecstasy, join together and begin to grow. They suddenly burst forward from the rocks into the light of day and begin their awesome journey. They join with other droplets - the droplets of new experiences, knowledge and exposure to the world – to grow larger and more independent. And soon they are no longer individual droplets, but rather a tumbling stream, rushing forward down the mountain, excited by the prospect of unseen wonders around the next bend. The stream playfully flows over and around the pebbles and rocks that try to block its path, undeterred and determined to keep going. It rushes recklessly forward, unaware that it has begun the journey of life and moving so quickly that it ignores the environment around it - the wildlife and forests that rely on the streams waters to sustain its own life. It is caught up in its own excitement, wanting to learn more, see more and grab more as it rushes forward.

Eventually, there are tributaries of other lives that flow into the stream, impacting its ability to retain its individuality, and changing the direction of its flow. These tributaries – these other people in our lives - combine with the stream to make it grow, adding new experiences and knowledge, and adding to our ability to interact and exchange ideas. We suddenly realize we are not alone in the world, and our individual lives are impacted by those we meet along the way. This growth will continue throughout our lives, impacting us in ways we never expected or experienced before.

And somewhere amongst this growth, we are suddenly no longer a stream. We become a raging river, eager to break out of our banks to experience more of our surroundings and demonstrate our growing power and knowledge to those around us. At this point in our lives, we feel that nothing and no one can challenge our goals, our dreams and our abilities. We are the mighty river, invincible and untouchable!

But then, without warning, we run into boulders of resistance and we are forced to slow down, change directions, work around obstacles, and reevaluate our existence. These are the rocks known as greed, jealousy, failure, loss of loved ones, poor health, and a million other things that drag us down and hinder our progress in life. There are the factories on our banks – the people we meet that want to pour their waste into us, poisoning our inner selves, impacting our own clarity and cleanliness, and diluting our hopes and dreams. There are the cities along the way – the people we meet that draw water from our river of life, draining our enthusiasm, diminishing our ability to grow and prosper, and always trying to minimize our accomplishments. There are the dams that block our path – the people we meet who don’t want us to succeed, who block our every move and diminish our progress forward. And there are the sudden waterfalls – unexpected occurrences in our lives that send us hopelessly and uncontrollably tumbling and spiraling downward.

But there is always hope, and somehow we work around those obstacles. We push those negative people aside and gain strength from those who support us. We ignore or wash away those factories and cities that want to defeat us. We build ourselves up and stay positive, until we are able to flow over the top of the dams and once again become the flowing river. And we survive the falls and failures, pull ourselves up, and move forward.

And there is much brightness and happiness in our lives. There is the sun - those people in our lives that warm our surface, brighten our day and allow us to see where we are going. There is the child playing on our shores and frolicking in the coolness of our water, gleeful in our existence and thankful for the nourishment and refreshment we provide. There are others around us, depending on us and interacting with us, much as the water skier, the boat enthusiast and the fisherman. We become one, interact as many, and eventually go on our way as our river of life continues.

And then, as we get older and approach the ocean of eternity, our river begins to slow down. We lose our enthusiasm, our strength, and our ability to grow, learn and maintain our momentum. We become laid back and gentler, content with our past and thankful for how far we’ve come. And as more time and distance passes, we begin to falter and spread ourselves thinner, becoming a delta of great accomplishments, lost opportunities, and grateful memories, both good and bad.

As with all things, our lives must eventually end, and our river of life flows into the ocean of eternity, merging with all those lives that came before us. We cease to exist except in the minds of those that we leave behind, and even those memories are eventually lost forever. Yet we continue in some small way, perhaps providing through evaporation that water droplet that rises to the top of the mountains to combine with another droplet and once again begin a new river of life. There is always hope and a new beginning!

Much thanks Timm - What a great piece, I enjoyed it immensely. And so did the folks. Here is another original great piece "Eulogy for a Canine Friend" by Timm Seaman

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