(A lil' blog on a dotty hill somewhere)

Monday, March 21

"You can never stand in the same river twice!"


How silly, I thought when first coming across this quote in one of the 3 books I'm currently reading.  It wasn't until later that it struck me just how deep this analogy was for change. Not only is the river not the riverbed, our lives too aren't just defined by the seeming constants of them (whether found in the blessings of profound relationships or the isolation of illness, loss, or what have you). Rather, it's as Heralitus alluded: "The only real constant is change."

As much as we may want to resist the river's current, we simply can't unplug life's forward movement (as this book's author suggests). In fact, to resist the flow is to choose further suffering. Sadly, many of us know that all too well. It is incredibly wrenching when faced with having to let go of people and things we've cherished so deeply that they've seemingly become one with our very nature. Yet, as Merritt Jones adds, to try and force change before it's ready is like trying to make the river flow faster — an exercise in futility.

That certainty of change can understandably create a fair degree of anxiety. So, what do you do with it? While, say, having faith in God and seeing reality through that wider prism can provide a greater sense of purpose, most of us, if we're honest with ourselves, contend with worry at some point or another. Its anxiousness ebbs and flows through our lives. In response, we do our best to mitigate the unknowns as much as possible. We build faith, routine, expectations, support, whatever it is that can seemingly add stability and preparation for those trials that may come at any time. Some are seen from afar and dreaded, while others arrive suddenly and forcefully where we can barely breathe; it may take a long time to recover.

The point of this muse is not really to give some all-knowing dissertation on preparing for or even triumphing in those challenges of life, but more just wondering how we deal with the inevitability of actual uncertainty.

Increasingly, I've found find that while some "do" life better perhaps than others, no one has theirs fully mastered. That is both sobering yet liberating too. If, for example, we're approximating an A for effort, we don't have to justify and beat ourselves up for not getting an A+! Maybe for some of us, it's a B, C or even D. I don't know, but you get the gist. As a friend recently noted, "We all carry what we can carry." Simple, yes, but oh how true. We are all unique — what comes easy for some may be challenging for another. Each of us have our own burden and lot to contend with, and that's enough already!

None of us like change or uncertainty nor the hardships it may bring. I'm discovering though that remaining in our perfectly constructed nests will never help us look beyond our own self-imposed boundaries and into the mystery and adventure of life itself. It's rather like C.S. Lewis so humourously wrote:

"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad."

After all, on the other side of uncertainty, change, hurt, and challenges is a world of growth, wonder and possibility.


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18 comments

  1. Well, this was not a quick read, but inspiring at the end of it all Michael. And I love your photo. Here's to embracing change in a good way, not an easy thing for sure.

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  2. Yes, sorry, Christine....but hey, this was not a CT post at least! Ha. Actually, believe it or not, I revised it so many times to cut it down some. I think I'm just going to leave it now for those FEW who might actually bother to read it. Hopefully, its length won't create any necessary anxiety!

    BTW, what are you doing up so late?! Isn't it about midnight over there in Toronto? Whoa. Thank you especially then for taking the time to read this and, of course, for your continued support! You rock! :)

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  3. Michael, you are so eloquent with your writing and this piece was no exception. I am a firm believer that what happens in our lives is for a reason, although we may not believe it at the time. Out of interest, if in a debate would you verbalise in the same way or do you need to gather your thoughts before letting them loose in the world?

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    1. Great question Linda! I need to gather my thoughts.

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    2. Haha, thank you, Linda. My ex used to call me "a man of words" (as opposed to a man of FEW words) so I suspect I have the gift of gab, but of course, employ more eloquence when writing. I'm not as formal as that in real life, must admit. :) Also, I love to massage the words after the first draft, changing a handful of them afterwards for better impact. For example, I just changed the last line (again) after posting! lol. Thank you. And, yes, I like to believe everything happens for a reason. I used to really believe that with why I ever ended up in Colorado in the first place but now I'm not so sure if a lot of it isn't jsut the luck of how people make decisions or not. Still, I have faith in some over arching plan, just maybe not in many of the details. I do love the mystery of it all though. I really appreciate you feedback.

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    3. Michael, I see a preacher hidden inside you. That was a profound post and so true. I'm have lived long enough to know that change is the only thing in life that is constant. I've been facing changes even as you know with my letting go of some art projects. Sunday Sketches, and possible CT...I'm really praying about it. God has turned me in a new direction with my dearest (we are doing so much more together) and with our children and grandchildren...(missed that for the 27 years we lived up North) and the ministry here at he Villa. Change is hard...I've been kicking and fighting, but realize God is leading me in new territory...and I must follow.

      See you are not the only one of "many" words. I love you and Alexandra, and will not forget you but will visit both of you and all the CT friends too.

      Love and Hugs
      Wanda

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    4. Is this goodbye as far as the co-ops go, Wanda? :( I did not know you were leaving Sunday Sketches btw and I don't think Alex did either, actually.

      I can't be selfish though and know everyone wants your company! If I lose any more CT'ers I might have to shut it down myself. We shall see.

      I will keep reading along with your posts. You have become a dear long time online friend now. Still wishing you'd come visit us here!

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  4. I did leave a comment some time back and mentioned Sunday Sketches conflicts with my Thoughts for Sunday which I feel is something I want to continue. I stopped for a while to do Sunday Sketches but needed to get back to my Thoughts for Sunday. It's where my heart is.

    I have not completly said good by to CT. It's easier as it's not weekly. But I hate being a rollercoaster, and doing it sometimes and not others. Sometime the time frame is hard because of other activities and events. I promise whether or not I step down from CT, I wil visit you. You are right, our friendship goes back a long, long way and we've share our hearts with each other more than once. Just pray that I will have God's wisdom and direction before I make a rash decision. (Prone to do) Does this sound like a silly old woman talking? I'll stop rambling and just ask for your prayers.

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    1. Well, dear Wanda, I'd personally rather have you come around every now and then (like Linda) than not at all. Yes, I do it fortnightly as I know people, myself included, have enough of a time just doing art that little/much.
      Um, no, there are as many silly young men and women as any "old" ones! You simply sound like someone who wants to ensure your time is well spent and honouring to all. I think that is lovely and, btw, very much appreciate your visits going forward, even if CT is not in the picture much. You and your hubs are in my heart and, yes, prayers every now and then. I jsut want to see you keep being the balmyou are to those around you. I thank God there are people like you who reach out in love to others. That is really what it is all about, Wanda. :) Thank you.

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  5. Michael, GOOD MORNING!

    First of all, I want to thank you for coming to visit my blog; it is always wonderful to meet new people whose styles, passions and creative expressions inspire. Thank you for your kind comment!!

    Now as for this wonderful analogy. Isn't it wonderful to expand our minds that eventually (I hope), shape our spirits? This river analogy rings very true for me. Change is inevitable, and how appropriate that water is the vehicle by which the author discusses this. Water is life. Life moves on. How true, frightening, exciting, all at the same time.

    May your journey carry you to still waters. Anita

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    1. Well put, Anita. I will be back (said not quite in an Austrian accent.) thank you!

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  6. GOODNESS! YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS! Thank you for your visit so I could find you!

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    1. thank you. Do be sure to check out dottyhill.com where I have more on display. :) I appreciate the support. If it wasn't for others finding a smile in my work, I'm not sure I would even bother so comments as these are truly cherished.

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  7. Lovely photo of a stream meandering through a green field. I had a problem with that quotation about the river before I read further. It's true. Everything moves and changes and we do too.
    When we go with the flow of life and accept the changes that are inevitable, we are at one with life.

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    1. that is so well put, Sandra. I love that. Thank you for your visit and lovely, thoughtful comment! :)

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