Friends have been posting pictures and stories about their recent canoe trips in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota. Each image and story makes me yearn to take a trip myself. Then a sort of jealousy emerges. How do people find the time? As I process this feeling, I realize they have chosen to take the time. I have chosen other things.
There is something spiritually calming about the Boundary Waters. It is different from canoeing I did on the Upper Delaware River. In the Boundary Waters, the gentle water of the lakes become a friend. On the Upper Delaware River, the river presents one obstacle after another. It makes one feel as though they are fighting the water. Eel traps can ground your canoe. The large rocks can destroy them. One wrong move in the big rapids and the canoe could be flipped upside down.
I have experienced several overturned canoes in the rapids of the Upper Delaware River. It left our group scrambling to rescue unsecured gear and food from the water. There is a feeling of confusion when you swamp. The water throws you around and you lose your sense of direction. However, you still need to avoid being hit by your own canoe and large rocks while keeping your head above water.
In my life, I yearn for the calmness of the Boundary Waters, but often feel caught in the rapids of the Upper Delaware River. It’s something I think about whenever I read the story of Martha and Mary. How do you choose the one right thing, the one calm thing, in the midst of life’s rapids? When the water has taken control of your destiny, it’s hard to see what choice you have in the matter. Yet, you do have a choice. The choice you make may be to read this simple reflection. From it, you may choose to find a couple of minutes to close your eyes, breathe in a relaxing fashion and pray, “Lord, grant to me the peace of your presence.” And, in that choice, you may discover, for at least this moment, you have chosen wisely. (Luke 10: 38-42)