My wife and I spent this past weekend at one of our favorite places on this wonderful little planet that we all call home. Blue Ridge, GA is on the Tennessee/Georgia border, in the “North Georgia Mountains.” The Appalachian Trail starts just outside Blue Ridge. The Toccoa River, one of the premier trout streams in the Eastern USA, also flows through the region. It’s a truly fantastic area, with enough activities to keep outdoor enthusiasts busy for many years.
It’s also the location of our retirement home.
We purchased a cabin there several years ago as part of the “downsizing strategy” in our Five Year Retirement Plan (“The Plan” will be a subject of a future post). Currently, we rent it out for extra income when we aren’t using it ourselves. This weekend, we were the fortunate inhabitants.
Friday afternoon found us in our much loved inflatable kayak on the aforementioned Toccoa River. It was a perfect day, 72 degrees, sunny, and playing hooky from work. In 3+hours on the river, we saw a grand total of 2 other people on the river, two nice guys throwing flies at the local trout. One was on his first ever fly fishing trip, and was enjoying his first sight of the Toccoa River.
That 3 hour trip together in our kayak has many parallels in the journey we’re taking through life as a married couple.
Our River Of Life:
Just as the river flows ever toward the sea, our lives move forever forward. You can’t stop the river’s current, and you can’t stop time. As the river progresses to the sea, so does our life progress toward the “eternal sea” at the end of life’s river. You can’t stop it, so do your best to enjoy each and every “day on the river”, keeping the ultimate destination in mind. Enjoy the journey, together. (PS, make sure you’ve made arrangements to enjoy the “eternal sea” after you depart life’s daily river)
On the river, we attempted to paddle upstream for a while (watching a cool little muskrat swimming away from us, diving, resurfacing, etc.), but eventually we realized we couldn’t hold that course, and had to fall away again into the forces of the current. In life, keep yourself healthy, it may add some days to your journey.
Just as either of us could change the boat’s course with our own paddle, either of us can influence our journey down life’s river. A decision by one, affects both. We’re in the same boat, and the journey is most enjoyed when we work together to guide our path away from the hazards. Don’t work against your partner in life, work with them.
We avoided rocks in the river (though we did once scrape against the piling of a bridge in a particularly narrow channel….). Sometimes in life you scrape against things, sometimes you bump some rocks. Make contingency plans for the bumps on life’s river.
We had fun on the river, and we’re having fun in life. If you’re not enjoying your trip, changing your attitude is a lot easier than changing the river.
We enjoyed the scenery on the river. Take time to smell the roses together in life. The scenes you pass in a kayak can only be seen as you pass with the current. So it is with life.
We talked during our time on the river. We take time to talk in life.
Once we were on the river together, there was no feasible way to exit until we reached the end. In life, we agreed at the time of our marriage that divorce wasn’t an option. Stay committed to your marriage, and take the time to make it work. Relationships are critically important to a great retirement, and there’s no personal relationship more important than that with your spouse. Find ways to keep it special. Find things you can enjoy together. Marriage is a gift, treat it as such.
We watched the wildlife on the river, and listened to the birds. Look outside your window, take a walk. Breathe!
We planned on the river. We had to drop my wife’s vehichle at the “down river” exit point, then drive together in my vehicle with the kayak to the “up river” entrance. We plan together in life. We entered the river at marriage, and we’ll depart the river at death. Have a plan.
We are thankful for our kayak. It’s turned out to be a great little boat for taking us places we wouldn’t otherwise be able to go, to experience things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience. We’re thankful for life, and all of the blessings that allow us to be able to enjoy it more fully.
Our time on the river ended too soon, but we fully enjoyed every minute of it, together.
In life, our time on earth is but a mist.
Enjoy every minute of your time on the river.