A River's Flow as a Metaphor for Trust


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One of the most fundamental changes made in my spiritual life came by way of a kayak.

We live in an area full of waterways. My husband pestered me into buying a tandem kayak (one that fits two passengers); I resisted, not wanting to spend the money but he prevailed. Thankfully.

For those of us who love the water and long for peace and quiet, there is nothing that compares to sitting in a kayak, so close to the water that you can easily run your hand through it or dip your toes. Floating downstream, feeling the splash as you plunge your paddle on a hot summer day … truly, this is paradise.

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My husband has since taken up fishing and procured his own boat, and so I decided to get one as well. Now I float downstream with my camera, capturing shots of flowers, wildlife, and ripples in the water. Kayaks make no noise so a stealth approach can reap wonderful rewards.

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Kayak trips have become form of prayer, prayer that reminds me to go with the flow of God’s grace. I imagine that grace as a river’s current: sometimes it is gentle, other times it’s chaotic, but always it is firm. God’s river knows where it is going; I need to allow it to take me there.

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Meditating on the flow of the river gradually relieved anxiety I had about everyday life. I’ve imagined myself as a kid in a rubber tube drifting downstream and my trust in God grew exponentially. I’ve imagined myself sitting next to Jesus on a dock, observing a barge full of many things; together we would take our feet and push that barge from the dock and watch it float away, and all my fears would go downstream.

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Each kayak trip reinforces that lesson of trust. God has provided me with an inner room I can retreat to again and again as I paddle downstream.

Who would have thought a boat could make such a difference? Truly, there is no limit to God’s creativity!

photos and text Copyright 2014 Susan W. Bailey


About Author

Susan Bailey is the author of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times (Ave Maria Press), and Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message (ACTA Publications), part of their Literary Portals to Prayer series. Along with her blogs Be as One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion, Susan writes for the Diocese of Worcester newspaper, The Catholic Free Press.

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