The River of Life

Opening Words
Life creating and sustaining liquid
Flowing through our veins, infusing every cell,
Carrying amino acids, beading up on my brow,
Silent partner in every thought.
Like drops of individual consciousness,
we gather here into this river of religious community
for this hour to swim with the currents of love.
Come, let us join in the celebration of life together.

Spoken Mediation

Plunge into the river of life!

A woman watches the swirls of the moving water.
A man listens to the gurgle of the current sweeping past the wet shining rocks.
A child dips a toe into a cool clear quiet pool by the soft squishy bank.

They stand by the edge contemplating the river running deep before them.
They revere its energetic power
and determination as it moves constantly down stream.
They wonder where the river begins and where it shall end - if it ever ends.

With a crick in her back and lines burrowing into her brow,
the woman feels a yearning for the stimulating massage of the waves
and the pleasure of feeling part of the water's flowing movement
which promises to wash away the guilt and pain
accumulated like layers of sediment coating her heart
yet she fears the river's depth and the dangerous currents
moving unseen below the surface
threatening to suck her down and drown her in her own tears.

His hands running through his thinning white hair
and supporting himself on a polished staff,
the man looks longingly across to the other shore,
lush trees with broad spreading branches
and tiny chirping birds jumping back and forth,
alluring flowers waving in a gentle warm breeze promise eternal rest
bringing a lasting peace from the work and responsibilities
discharged day in and day out to employers and employees,
to customers and investors, to family and in-laws,
to neighbors and friends,
yet the river looks wide and uncrossable
for a lame one who can no longer move easily in the water
and no longer has the strength and power of youthful days.

Fidgeting impatiently, hands held firmly by the woman and the man
the child peers into the water
scanning for the swish of a fin or the glint of a scale,
searching for the eyes of a frog floating on the surface
or a turtle's head peering into the air
easily distracted by the dance of water skeeters and water bugs,
so many secrets to be revealed and treasures to be discovered
if only these burdensome adults would just let go, loosen up
and take a fearless plunge into high adventure
opening the way for hours of uninterrupted fun and stimulating play.

Moving steadily past the rocks, dipping into the ravines and resting in eddies,
the river surges along constantly seeking lower and lower elevation
spilling over and digging under fallen trees blocking the way
in the relentless search for the sea,
the great vast expanse of water
from which it came and to which it returns,
and notices briefly its two legged children standing on its shore
beckoning to them to join the downstream journey to the source
inviting them to risk leaving their safe footing
for an unknown destination of transformation.

Suddenly, up out of the depths like a dolphin surfacing for air,
pops the smooth faced whoa-man waving enthusiastically
and singing of the joys of following the river,
the thrills of running the rapids,
the chills of the depths
and the warm peacefulness of idling in still waters
moving with the river's rhythm
and learning to skillfully navigate the white-water.

Quick as a wink, the smooth faced whoa-man is swept on down stream
and disappears under the foamy waves.

Was this a hoax? A cruel joke? A tempting mermaid luring to destruction?
Or is this a vision? A gentle revelation? A promising prophet inviting us to awaken?

To jump or not to jump, to risk or not to risk,
to dive in cleanly or to inch in ready to recoil back,
who can say which way to go or not to go?
What guide shall one follow?
The yearning for pleasure?
The fear of the depths?
The longing for rest and peace?
The fear of weakness and declining ability?
The passion of curiosity?
The fear of social control?
The urge toward instant awakening
or the soothing lullaby toward eternal sleep?

What seeks us from the depths of the river,
calling our name and challenging our illusions?

The three standing on the shore look at each other in wonderment,
hesitate for a moment,
then holding hands, squealing with glee,
plunge into the river of life.
Will you come too?

Copyright (c) 1997 by Rev. Samuel A. Trumbore. All rights reserved.