and so- 2008 draws to a close. It seems hard to believe that this year is over. Such a turbulent year.
My nephew, Mark, became engaged this Christmas. I sat and watched them the other day, and let my mind drift back over the last 20 plus years. He has been, from the day he was born, such a neat person- content, confident, friendly. I think he has found the perfect companion for his life's journey.
I remember so clearly the day he was born. I was working in the emergency dept. at the time, and was scheduled to go on a white water rafting trip with a group of my compatriots. One of the ER docs rented an RV- everyone was piled in, eager to hit the road- but I refused to leave town until I could see that baby. They all had to cool their heels in the McDonalds parking lot and wait for Mark's arrival. He was worth the wait.
I was thinking about that trip as I watched him. The joy of his arrival. The exhileration and anticipation of the ride down. The anxiety when we saw the river the next morning- high and fast on that day in May. The coolness of the air and the warmth of the sun. The rubbery feel of the raft and the power of the current.
The paddle felt like nothing in my hands- insignificant compared to the mighty strength of the river and the rocks looming above and below the surface. I was sure that we would hit one of those rock and be blown apart. The only thing that gave me any reassurance on that morning was the sight of the others in the raft- the confidence I had in their strength and fortitude.
Floating along the river seemed like fun at first- until I heard a distant roar. Until we rounded a curve and saw the churning, frothing, heaving rapids ahead of us. There was no opt out at that point- no way to politely excuse myself. Once in, there was nothing to do but paddle hard, dig in, hang on and pray.
Somehow- we got to the other side. When one fell out, we pulled him back in. We were a little bruised, a little battered, a little weary- but in one piece. The river flowed briskly- but the sun was brighter, the trees were greener, the sky was a deeper blue. We could relax and let the current and the power of the river carry us. We had time to look at the scenery- to jump in and play. Time to regroup and regain our strength.
In many ways getting through 2008 has felt like riding the rapids. Hang on, hold on, paddle hard and pray. I've felt it in my life, in the lives around me, in our country. But we have survived. We are all still here.
If I could have just one prayer for 2009- it would be that we would be able to regroup- to let the current carry us- to rest in the power of the One who is beneath us, above us, around us and through us. Knowing that there are rapids ahead......I pray for a blessed New Year.