You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand arepleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
A month ago, a friend posted on Facebook about an author named Charles Martin and said how much she loved his books. Being a reader, I couldn’t resist trying one of his books and before I knew it in about three weeks, I had read all the ones he has published. I have a love hate relationship with his work because the books are well written with good description and interesting characters, but he always hides at least one detail that would help me predict the outcome of the story. A new character appears or a piece of the past is not revealed until the last pages of the book. It makes me crazy and most of the time, I whine that it is unfair to keep such important information a secret for so long. But, surprise endings nor the fact that at least one important character dies in very book, it didn’t stop me from devouring his books. One of his books, Where the River Ends, is about a man whose wife is dying of cancer and her last wish includes canoeing the entire length of the St. Mary’s River. The St. Mary’s creates the oddly shaped spike in the northeast border between Georgia and Florida. It runs from the Okefenoke Swamp to the Atlantic Ocean. The problem with trying to canoe the entire length of the St. Mary’s is that at its beginning it is only a mud clogged trickle narrower than a drainage ditch. The man in the story must wade for several days pulling his wife in the canoe. The description of this tedious and difficult task can only be described as slogging. I was thinking of the story as we tried our best to get out of Florida on our first day on the road yesterday. Because youngest son had made a trip to Jacksonville in less than three hours last week utilizing the Greenway around Orlando, we decided to change our normal route of Interstate 75 to Interstate 10 and go up Interstate 4 to Interstate 95. Big mistake. Not only had Interstate 4 been closed in Polk County for several hours due to a traffic jam, but there was a terrible thunderstorm covering all of Central Florida that reduced visibility to almost zero. What should have been a four hour trip took seven. As we inched along, it felt like Florida’s muddy pits were sucking at my shoes as I tried to escape and I became more and more angry and stressed as we rolled along. Mostly angry at myself for choosing the wrong road. I kept trying to remind myself that things happen for reason and by not taking our normal route, we could have been spared from an accident or an even worse storm. But, I could not let it go and even after finally crossing the St. Mary’s ourselves and rolling across Georgia and South Carolina, I kept thinking about the loss of time and the frustration and replaying how I might have chosen differently. My restless thoughts continued after midnight when we had to stop in Walterboro, South Carolina for the night and I realized how far we still had to travel. In that dark hotel room with husband snoring beside me, I finally gave up on the struggle and set aside my expectations resolving today to relax and enjoy the journey. Letting go of control and going with the flow is not in my nature. I want to pull and push against the mud of life that seeks to suck me under instead of trusting God to help me endure and enjoy whatever may come.