Following the River

Our assistant principal’s wife, winner of a Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching, recommended this book. I was eager to buy it, because I value her opinion, but when it arrived from the used book seller I ordered it from, I looked at it and thought, “What?!”

I am not a lover of romance novels. Okay, I hate them. They seem trite and repetitive of theme. The cover of this novel made me think of something like Love’s Tender Fury where a woman with half her bodice ripped off is langoring in the pectorals of some well oiled man. But, that is not the case.

The novel is based on the true story of Mary Ingles, whose settlement in Virginia was massacred in 1755 by the Shawnee Indians. She, her children, and her sister-in-law were captured and taken with the tribe up the O-y-0 (Ohio) River to their village. Like watching a train wreck, in which you simply can not take your eyes away from the horror before you, I read of her escape. She walked 1,000 miles with no guide, no food, no equipment, and no horse back to her settlement with resolve like I’ve never seen. The book even concludes with General Washington interviewing her, humbled by her experience, as his trek in similar conditions almost was the death of him.

It occurs to me, as I’m in a particularly bleak month for me, that each of us are following a river of sorts. It may not be a river literally, but aren’t we walking, sometimes bloody from the scrapes, a path which we cannot see but only trust is right?

Eleven years ago tomorrow my first husband took his life, due to the overpowering depression of mental illness. I have come to terms with it, as much as one can, but my son? Who lost his father at six years of age? There’s no bandage I can apply which will heal his wound. There’s so little I can do that can help him on his path except for my prayers, my encouragement, and my love. The thing I must do, with every fibre of my being, is not to give in to fear regarding his life.

I was enormously blessed by an email I received from a blogging friend, who sent me this prayer from The Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

I’m just following the river with Him as my guide.