"...Show me the river that leads to my home
back to the one that I love
show me the wind that constantly blows
and I will fly away, fly away home..."
- EastMountainSouth "Show Me the River"*
For the most part, when I have wandered off course it has always been in a way that, to a casual onlooker, might go unnoticed. And although to someone glancing in my direction it may seem as if I am still sitting in my normal place...in the chair by the window...I'm sometimes quite alone and far away My wanderings sometimes take me so far away from "home" that I am left shivering inside like an abandoned pioneer child on the windswept edges of a barren winter prairie...grasses beige with cold and the sky steely and lowering with a gathering storm in the East.
This "space" of desolation was where I found myself bedded down one night a few years back. Long after my family was fast asleep under heavy quilts...dreaming with heads upon soft downy pillows, I was tossing and turning on the hard frozen ground of a Kansas prairie...or so it felt. I finally realized that I'd mentally left my warm bed, when I found I was shivering, arms wrapped around me, as if I were grasping a threadbare shawl about my shoulders in order to stay warm. It was this very clutching of "my tatters close about me" that wakened me from the aimless mental wandering and stopped me in my tracks, and allowed the words from East Mountain South's "Show Me the River" to penetrate through a deep-seated cold, bringing the much-needed inspiration that would begin to wing me "homeward".
I love rivers. I love the spiritual metaphors they evoke, the visual inspiration I find while sitting on their banks, the realization that a congregation of individual drops of water when flowing in a single direction can carve canyons out of mountains and buoy a fleet of schooners down the Nile, the Amazon, or the St. Lawrence. But mostly, I love Mary Baker Eddy's definition of "River" in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:
" Channel of thought. When smooth and unobstructed,
it typifies the course of Truth; but muddy, foaming,
and dashing, it is a type of error."
It was this definition, following EastMountainSouth's wake-up call to me while I lay cold and shivering on that barren stretch of mental prairie, that pointed me in the direction that would lead "home". I could imagine lowering myself into the calm waters of a warm river, a channel of thoughts...smooth and unobstructed. When rocks or debris crossed my path, the river would either flow around them...dismissing them as inconsequential...or calmly and persistently dissolve the hardness of those suggestions with an unrelenting spiritual confidence. Any rigidity in my thinking, any suggestion that I should be afraid, doubt the "supremacy of Spirit" or ever think that my life...or the life of anyone...was out of His control, was washed away in the affluence of God's abiding Love.
Having reached new mental shores I could rise up out of the river's arms, be dried by the warm sunshine of Soul's ever-reminding evidence of beauty, love, and peace surrounding me and calling to me from every direction...the gentleness of my daughter's touch, the precise placement of the stars hanging above me in the cloudless winter sky, the constancy of Life proven in every leaf that falls and bud that bursts from the rich Spring soil...then allow myself to be lifted and carried by the winds of Spirit towards the familiar landscapes of peace, faith, and grace-filled moments of trust in His care.
"Wind" is my other favorite spiritual "element." a term that Eddy, in part, defines as:
"That which indicates the might of omnipotence
and the movements of God's spiritual government,
encompassing all things."
I like thinking of myself (and others) as God-blown, God-carried, God-choreographed, God-sent, God-breathed...as a blessing upon the earth. Not one of my movements is self-determined or "born of a woman"...even myself...but borne on the wings of God's divine breath.
As I let myself be carried from the cold barren landscape of fear and doubt by a river of trust and faith, around the inconsequential obstacles of confusion and the boulders of self-doubt, dissolving the bleak suggestions of "remember when" and "what if"....I could feel the constancy of His deep, low song, "I am All, I am here"...singing me all the way home.
Finding my way onto the shores of His kingdom within...I could finally rest in His arms...I was home.
If you find yourself far from home in the middle of a dark night of doubt, or even in the glaring light of a busy day, lower yourself into the river of God's presence, surrender to the constant flow of His peace-filled thoughts, be carried towards new landscapes of opportunity for blessing others, then rising and rising on the winds of His breath... let yourself be God-blown towards home.
*this is the only video I could find with the soundtrack of this song...if you don't like superman, I'm sorry...please feel free to just listen to the music.