Staying on course—paddle!
by MARCIA HUFSTADER
Member, Third Church of Christ, Scientist
Yesterday some friends and I were kayaking in a big lake. The waves weren’t huge, but significant, and the wind was blowing. In order to stay on our course we had to keep paddling. If we stopped paddling we’d get blown off course, lose ground and be broadside to the waves. There was no urgency to what we were doing and no danger; we were having a great time, but it definitely reinforced a metaphor for life for me.
Sometimes it seems when goals are set there are obstacles in the way, “outside forces” that distract, and problems that arise and slow the process down. If those are the waves and the wind, what do you do? You keep paddling!
The “paddling” of life comes in many forms. For me it’s prayer—a deep recognition and contemplation of God being good and being all and directing each of my steps. Recognizing that God is all good, that He is so loving that we can think of “Love” as a name for Him, and understanding that He is the governing divine Principle of the universe including all of his children, helps me let go of human will and trust His direction. Because God, who is good, is an infinite intelligence or divine Mind, why would I look to another source for intelligence or direction?
I have found human will to be one of the biggest winds and waves of life that slows down my growth. Human will and preconceived notions of what is right are obstacles that keep me from seeing God’s purpose and direction for me. When I change my thought and look to Him for help I find the paddling is without fear and safe, joyful and fulfilling.
The paddling (praying) takes work, diligence and perseverance and the obstacles sometimes seem to never end, but eventually I do get better at negotiating them. Referring to Jesus’ struggles, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Yet he swerved not, well knowing that to obey the divine order and trust God, saves retracing and traversing anew the path from sin to holiness.” Christ Jesus stuck to his course with humble prayers and unconditional love through the assurance of God’s goodness.
When my days are going smoothly and there is no wind, or even when my days are filled with wind and waves, I find that dropping preconceived notions and remembering that God loves me and has only good in store for me enables me to stay on course. The results are always good.