Water’s Way

Water’s Way

t-shirt made at one year’s Cool Aid celebration

Many years ago, I had friends who would celebrate their anniversary by having a big party on the banks of the Gunpowder River. If the 4th of July fell on a Friday or Monday, the party, known as Cool Aid, would happen then. If the 4th fell mid-week, then they would have the event on Labor Day weekend because this was no mere party. Guests would camp out for the weekend and bands would play each day. One year, we even had an official t-shirt made by an artist friend that you could color in. The price of admission to this ad hoc festival was clothing or food for local charities.

Everything about Cool Aid was marvelous. But the best part was tubing down the adjacent Gunpowder. Someone brought inner tubes and transported groups of revelers upstream where they would put in and float back to the party site. I remember floating along the river’s shady banks on a warm summer day. Nothing seemed to matter as I allowed the current to carry me. It was more than recreation; it was a respite from everything. For an hour, I just was—surrendering to the moment, the sun, the breeze, the water. That experience epitomized for me the delight of summer.

I was recently reminded of Cool Aid when a member of the small fellowship I serve died just before July 4th. I was leading a small group discussion and invited members to share their feelings and memories. Everyone had something to say about their departed friend, but all seemed to agree that she was very accepting not only of people, but of life. She flowed with life and did not resist it. In so doing, she moved with grace. Her way was water’s way. She did not necessarily push against obstacles, but merely moved around or over them. In so doing, she found peace even in the midst of the chaos in her life.

The Taoist master Lao Tzu said, “Be still like a mountain and flow like a river. The best way to live is to be like water, which is fluid, soft, and yielding.” Being like water doesn’t mean that we should yield to or stay silent in the face of injustice or brutality. Rather it is a strategy to resist the rigidity and hardness of our lives. Indeed, water reminds us that whatever is soft is strong. Just as water wears away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield, so too we can overcome all the hardness and rigidity in our lives by letting go and flowing.

These times are hard, it’s true. But they cannot break us if we let ourselves flow and follow water’s way.

In the days to come, I wish you moments of surrendering to the flow of life and feeling the power of the current carrying you.

In peace,
Rev. Karyn Marsh


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