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A River Of Life
By Joel “Doc” Kunz

You know, life comes at each and every one of us at a different pace, much like a river. You see, a river is not all one speed. Even on long straight stretches, current near the shoreline or near the bottom is slower then the main flow. Even on what seems like a featureless stretch, unseen obstructions slow it’s pace or gather it’s force to create areas of faster current. The landscape around the river also plays an important part as does the wind and make up of the bottom. All of these factors come together to become our personal voyage.

Sure, we all expect to see areas of troubled waters near the landmark rapids we are all to face. Because we expect the hurdle, we plan for it and do our best to deal with it. But it’s the unseen trouble, the unpredictable difficulties that are always my greatest test. That is, for the most part, because of the factor of luck in those happenings.

You see I view life a bit as a journey on the water. Some stretches are up stream, some are down stream and some parts are on the calm of the lake in between those segments. In some areas the beauty of the shoreline and luxury of a true friend to travel with make even the toughest parts bearable. At other bends in the river, being alone or unsure of your traveling companion make something that should go easy become difficult to traverse.

What gets me is that each segment, even those thought to be the easiest part of the journey have factors associated to them that slow us down. Factors that become leaks in the boat, chinks in the confidence or reasons we get lost. Sometimes all we can do I guess is to hunker down and wait out the weather or fix the problem. But the longer we sit, the harder it is to finish the journey.

I’m a big believer in God and his general lack of “control” over what happens to each of us. “The Shack” helped me to understand many things I had felt were true all my life. I now know that’s it’s OK to be angry but to give up, be vindictive or get revenge is wrong. After hitting a deer Friday night my Bah-humbug mood was little different on Saturday. I met a very drunk man who was trying as hard as he could to pick a fight with me. A younger man might have figured the opportunity a gift from God, because I.m pretty sure I would have felt a heck of a lot better after kicking his ass.

But then the potential hurt, pain and troubles created made me think that the gift, was not the chance to kick his ass, but a chance to think. A chance to clear my head and realize that I was stuck in a place where he could affect me. That the anger at the shit luck of hitting a deer was holding me back. I needed to get out of camp and get back on the journey where I can get to the parts of the voyage where I get to enjoy friends and family. Get back on track so I can help my children and grand children prepare for their journey.

We all get lost or long to return to the safety of the past. We all get stuck on shore where those who are forever off their quest for the future can affect us, invade our life and tie us down to their reality. I like the wind in my hair and the feeling that God is looking down on me through the eyes of an eagle, hawk or bluebird as I travel along my chosen path. That his spirit is the one calling me to be on that path and stay off the shore where those who have chosen to live their life reside. That only in my travels, no matter how difficult, I find the place where I can give love and friendship, laughter and camaraderie, guidance and a helping hand to the people I meet and those who I love. If I’m paddling up stream, guess I have to get a bigger paddle.