It has been said that no man can step into the same river twice… “for it’s not the same river, and he’s not the same man.” Greek philosopher, Heraclitus (544 b.c.), was obviously familiar with change. It is a natural part of our human existence to be in a state of constant change and motion—sometimes by choice, sometimes not.
I first heard this saying many years ago, and though I could never recall where I heard it, I have never forgotten it. My life has been replete with change and detours—many of which have compelled me to exit the river for a time… Some of the detours have not been very pleasant, but every one of them has made me who I am today.
At the same time, as I recall, the river itself has not always been an idyllic joyride. Often, it requires great tenacity and effort to merely stay in the boat—let alone ride the ride. Sometimes, we are forced to wait on shore and observe as others enjoy theirs.
Grief is not only cause to wait on shore for a time, but it also can leave us without desire or will to even return to our float. While the landing provides us with shelter and rest, it can also seem daunting to ever brave the river again. How does one re-enter the forceful waters? And with what strength? Surely, if we are not sufficiently rested and recovered, the currents will sweep us away… Or so it feels that way…
The wrestle within is unbearable at times. I frequently assure my God, and reassure myself, that I definitely am not ready to die… I want to be here—my babies need me!!! But then, my heart sinks even further as I look to Heaven and cry out, “I do not know how to go on…” It pains me to worry my Angel above, for I know she frets about me, but I sincerely wonder how it is done—where do I go from here…?!!!
For the river is much changed as I look about me.
The waters I exited are far and long gone…
Even though there are traces of what once was, and even if I could manage to get a running leap and catch the current just right—the woman in the mirror is as much changed as the river. She no longer knows her place there, and it no longer recognizes her. But still, she has no choice but to re-enter, if she desires to live.
Steps cannot be retraced; they washed away most instantly it seems. Maybe I can find a granny raft that will take me slowly along… By and by I’ll get there… To the end of my ride…
But wait! This is not how I choose to travel—to and fro where the water decides… That is not me. Instead, I shall gather my strength, and paddle with all my might—for though the river has changed, and so have I, it is still the same canyon that leads to the same sunset where my precious baby girl awaits…!!!