Going with the Flow

The Virgin River Narrows
Image via Wikipedia

The river runs through it. Through everything. In fact, life is a lot like a river. Despite the rocks and sticks and muddy waters, if you go with the flow, you’ll be better off.

To escape the broiling heat of Zion National Park, my husband enrolled me and the kids in a two-hour tubing excursion down the Virgin River. A day after a flash flood thundered through the canyons, we bravely listened to the on-site guide about the unguided tubing tour.

“This is not a lazy river,” she began. I envisioned a yawning tunnel of water, barely moving. Kind of like the James River near Richmond, VA.

“You will get bumped and caught on rocks. So beware.” She inserted a dramatic pause, then continued. “Whatever you do, never, ever let go of your inner tube.” With that, she showed us the way to the trail that lead to our certain demise.

I plopped in the river first, demonstrating the ‘turtle flop’ she had showed us on land. The kids aptly followed, then Husband. Within 60 seconds, we were ambling downstream, accompanied by the sound of rushing water.

At first I ambitiously fought the rocks that snagged and snarled me at every turn. I actively pushed my way hither and yon, fully expecting to move more quickly down the Virgin if I could only be strategic enough. I wanted to be in the middle of that river because that’s where it seemed to run the smoothest. At some point my strength left me, so I allowed the river to do its will.

And wouldn’t you know, I was faster?

It was in that moment, as my tube was hurled onto a rock without restraint that I realized how powerful slow can be. You needn’t course correct for the mere purpose of being in midstream. You can allow those gentle bumps and swirls to guide you through seemingly impossible tight spots.

“A river really is a lot like life,” I concluded as we finally reached our shoreline destination. “Go with the flow and know there will be twists and turns to guide you to the end.”

The beauty of a river, like life itself, is the sound the water makes as it meets resistance. What sound do you make when you meet an obstacle? Herumph or hurray?

Trust the flow, my friends. It will take you where you need to be.


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  1. Bernadette Noll

    September 6, 2011 at 5:30 am

    Ah yes! Going with the flow. Oh how much easier life is when we remember this simple little rule! Thanks for the reminder!

  2. willowdrinkwater

    September 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Oh yes, it reminds me of this weekend at Sandbridge near Virginia Beach where the waves were higher than usual, and at one point I lost the rhythm of “over” or “under” and ended up with legs in the air, over teacup so to speak…laughing hysterically as wave after wave kept me there for a few minutes. Going with the flow, indeed! Thanks for the validation of something I couldn’t change anyhow. Looks like you had quite an adventure! Thanks for this fun post.

  3. Irene

    September 20, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Love the metaphor that life is like a river! So true that when we resist the flow, it becomes more difficult. But when we just let its movement take us where we should be, we struggle no longer! 🙂

    1. powerofslow

      September 30, 2011 at 9:24 am

      Thank you, Irene. Indeed, struggle is often a choice. Which road will we take? Let wonder take the upperhand. There’s more joy there!

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