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River of Life

 Sister Angela Laquet, ASC

By Sister Angela Laquet, ASC

On a Zoom call recently, someone presented an image that moved me to contemplation. She said that it feels like we are traveling in a river of uncertainty with stops at islands of certainty.

As I meditated on this image, I realized that, as appealing as the islands of certainty appear, we cannot stay there forever. We will get nowhere and we will encounter no one who will stretch us beyond our current comfort level.

The river of uncertainty seems to be constantly flowing through our lives. Many times the islands of certainty are far apart, and we cannot see the next oasis of understanding from our view on the river. We need to trust that certainty is further down the river and will appear at exactly the time we need it.

As we travel along this river, the journey transforms us. One of the challenging parts of this adventure is that each of us travels differently, and experiences unique islands along the way.

We need to recognize and honor the transformation of one another, which can draw us into greater understanding in our relationships. Our thoughts go from “She never does this” or “She always does that” to “Wow, she has changed her attitudes about that,” or “Her perspective about this is different.”

We are all in different places than we were yesterday, or will be tomorrow. We continue to negotiate the rapids, paddling to keep the boat upright. We are looking for certainty, which will come, and we can rest on the beach awhile. We need to dip our toes in the river and be refreshed now and again. Then, when something unexpected happens, we are thrust back onto the river of uncertainty, and search for the next island that will help to make the journey clearer.

As we continue to move on this river, with ever-changing waterscapes, it is comforting that we are not moving alone. We should remember the words of the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, “You never step in the same river twice.”

We are transformed by this river moment by moment.

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