The image today of the beautiful Zig Zag River is just steps from the door of our cabin. It is icy-cold, fast-moving water that drains the Zig Zag Glacier high on Mt. Hood. The 12-mile river is actually a tributary, along with its sister the Little Zig Zag River, of the Sandy River (I know, that is a lot of rivers!).
Most of the time it looks just like it does in this photo – peaceful and green. But two years ago a combination of torrential rains and snow melt-off produced one of the most violent floods in decades. As the water level quickly climbed, cabins close to the shore crumbled into the river, bridges were washed out, and huge trees downed. Fortunately, our cabin is high enough on a bank that the flood was not a factor.
LIFE IS LIKE A RIVER
The image today reminds me of how we so badly seek a lifestyle that is peaceful, calm, and somewhat predictable (and green!). We want a permanent place to call home, a stable school, intimate friendships, and an ability to travel and experience the world. We want to know that what we do each day matters, and that we are making a small difference in the world.
But the more we hang out by the river the more I realize that life does not owe us anything. It is challenging for a reason! The storms of our daily existence are what stretch us to become more than we were yesterday. More storms mean more opportunities to learn and grow. Sure, we can ignore the rains, downpours, and occasional floods by escaping into technology, work, or some other pastime pleasure. But then we are missing the point of it all.
No doubt we will continue chasing our lifestyle dreams, it’s what keeps us motivated through the hard times. At the same time, instead of fighting so hard for our vision, perhaps we will just take out an umbrella and know that something very cool is waiting for us on the other side of the storm.