Life flows like a river, with its tight relationship with time, in that it’s swiftly moving even when we’re not. There are tree branches whisked away with the current, clusters of rocky rapids failing to hold it back, colorful rainbows decorating waterfalls, and Jack Frost’s yearly struggle to freeze its flow.
Rivers offer us a wild adventure, while refreshing us inside and out. We are captivated by their majestic waterfalls and calmed by their flowing sounds. We are saddened when they dry up and threatened when they flash flood.
Yes, like life, rivers are amazing natural wonders. Yet, it’s not really about the river that matters, as it’s more about how we respond while in it. Here are some example responses:
- The Rock – As a rock, you sit still, while life moves forward around you. You may think that you’re moving forward too, but the current pulling in the opposite direction tells you that looking upriver only gives the appearance of moving forward. As a new rock, you’re sitting dealing with many issues and emotions. In time, these rough edges will be rounded smooth as the river flows by.
- The Drifter – As a drifter, you’re like a tree branch drifting with the river current. Life pulls you along and you just go with the flow, with no vision or control. If you et stuck, you rely on others to help you keep going. This dependence causes you to also hold others responsible for where you’re at in life.
- The Observer – As an observer, you stand along the banks of the river, only getting your feet wet. You play with the river without risk, as you skip rocks across it’s surface or launch sticks or paper boats and watch them move with the current. Unfortunately, you also see life passing you by, yet you’re afraid to take the risk and jump in. Basically, you’re afraid to live life, so you stand alone off to the side as you observe everyone else.
- The Adventurer – As an adventurer, you have a vision in the right direction, you’re well equipped for the journey, you’re in great physical shape, and you have at least one river guide to assist you when things get rough. You seize every moment, knowing when to relax and enjoy the river, while also prepared to navigate through troubled waters. You are one with the river and can spot a waterfall from a mile away, giving ample time to safely get past it.
- The River Guide – As a river guide, you have been adventuring down the river for a long time. Now you use your experience to assist younger adventurers. Typically, mentors, elders, and trained therapists fill this role. At different points in their lives, they used to be one or more of the roles above and have grown into great adventurers. Everyone should have at least one river guide that they can trust when troubled waters lay ahead.
These are not wrong responses, they are just possible responses. From the list above, you should be able to identify with one or more of these. If you find yourself currently as a rock, drifter, or observer, you have the great opportunity in becoming an adventurer when you’re ready. It also will make you a great river guide in the future.
It’s not about the river, but how we respond to it. It’s important to identify how you’re responding and how you’d like to respond in the future. Then have patience, as it may require a lot of work and time before you’re ready to take on the new role.
Don’t get discouraged if you were an adventurer and now find yourself as a rock. Sometimes, even the greatest river guides have their boats flipped over while navigating through rapids. Do what you need to do as a rock and then get back on that boat and continue your journey.
Life is flowing like a river, where are you?