The Riverwalk

I grew up three blocks from here, near the fast-paced, cool waters of the Clackamas river. That isn’t quite true; they aren’t cool, they are dangerously, deceptively cold. Someone drowned near here a few days ago, again. This one was 21.

April 2016_walk along riverWe took a walk yesterday–my mother, my daughter, and I–above the river, about mid-day. I’d been unaware of the death, but they knew.

April 2016_walk along clackamas

When I was a kid, this walkway wasn’t there, but back then, my now 87-year-old mother wasn’t in need of a path with smooth surfaces, or a cane. The road sufficed. It occurred to me that this path was there just when it was needed, for the lady with the cane. So that we could sit together, on that day, above that river, that life-taking river.

The beds of friendly bursts welcomed us as did the bench on which we rested, soaked up some sun.

April 2016_flowers along walkway_2As we sunned and watched the river, I grew uneasy. My mother and daughter were warm, but I had the chills. Two days ago I learned that on Saturday my friend Dianna had passed away–four days prior. I couldn’t get warm.

April 2016_view of clack riverAs I watched the water retreat, saddened by not one but two deaths, I began to feel appreciation for everything around me, including the life-taking river. The two women I sat between–unbeknownst to them–buoyed me.

We didn’t say a lot. My daughter was killing time between her two jobs, welcomed the chance to soak up rays. My mother always welcomes time with family, knows more about this than any of us.

We concluded our day and I headed home. Little did I know that what sat in the back seat would soon help me gather my thoughts.

April 2016_bible front view
Smith family bible, 1904

I am not what I would call a religious person, and without opening that dialog, I will say I believe in a higher power. Call it what you will. I also feel that someway, somehow, things happen when and exactly as they are supposed to happen. I’ve rarely understood the whys, but I am confident that most of us don’t. Call that what you will.

Take a look at verse 1:

April 2016_Hebrews verse

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews, Chapter 11, Verse 1.

I wasn’t reading the bible, I was looking for family history, scavenging for facts. This bible has been in our family for 112 years. I brought it home yesterday for genealogical purposes, but those words packed a powerful punch. I was supposed to see them, feel their power.

It’s all too easy to become discouraged, to lose hope. We often ask, “What does it all mean?” Why does one person lose life at age 21, another at 65, yet another at 99? Why? Why? Why!?

Faith…the substance of things hoped for.

And the river flows.

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