The Kansas River aka The Kaw is 170 short miles of muddy brown water that drains the rainwater and snow melt of the Flint Hills and beyond into the Missouri to the Mississippi and finally the Gulf of Mexico. It’s only fame is that Lewis and Clark made a stop and short exploration of a few miles of it before following the Missouri on to the West, and a mention in the KU fight song. I don’t know that many people consider its muddy waters beautiful.
I spent most of yesterday sitting on the banks of the Kaw, and have decided I love this river, and I DO think it’s beautiful. Truth is, I tend to love all rivers. Rivers are beautiful and ancient and mysterious and flow on powered by an unseen hand. Yesterday I sat with the Kaw and let the power of that unseen hand flow through me, too. I watched the light play on the brown water and it didn’t look muddy any more – it sparkled and danced. I saw it stop and swirl and go on dozens of times as it hit bumps or tree branches. I watched it feed birds that swooped down out of the sky and land-bound critters who came down to drink or hunt.
I find peace sitting on the river bank. It is somehow easier to enter into the presence of God and be quiet with the water flowing in front of me. That kind of quiet and peace is rare in my life. I was alone all day, but never alone for a minute. I thought I had come to do some serious talking with God, but I found myself instead just sitting and listening, just being. All the things I came to say, all the questions I had to ask, my complaints and frustrations, just flowed on down the river and I sat with God and watched the river run.
God has a place like the river for each of us. He can make a place like that in the midst of chaos if we really seek it. I don’t go looking for it nearly often enough and I am going to try to do it more.
Now I get to take that peace back into the bigger world. There are things to do, people to talk to, challenges to meet. My prayer is that I can carry that peace with me, maybe even give some of it away. God gave me a gift on the river yesterday, and I hope I can keep it and share it.