Life, like time, is a river, flowing in one direction. It’s not an easy concept to grasp. We live on a river that narrows to steam-width at our section. We have spent much time contemplating the uni-directionality of rivers.
“Place a leaf on the surface of the river. Watch it float away”, I would tell my son when he was a toddler.
“When will it come back?”, he would ask.
“It never will. It’s gone”, I would say.
“Where does it go?”
“Eventually, it goes to the ocean.”
It’s not easy to understand a river. It’s not easy to understand life. Baby, child, adult. One way ticket.
Love is an ocean, deep and strong beyond measure. It’s not an easy concept to grasp. Love sometimes frays at the edges, crashes upon the shore and erodes shells into sand. But love is immovable, indomitable, powerful. You can count on an ocean.
An ocean is sometimes valued for what occurs on its surface and shallow waters. An ocean is more than coral reefs, pretty fish and a place for sailing boats although an ocean is these things too. If you want to know an ocean, look at its Marianas Trench – seven miles deep. Look at its breadth and diversity of half of Earth’s species, its warm tropics, its frigid icebergs. Stand before the whole of the ocean and wait to be swallowed.
Likewise, love is misconstrued by many who focus on the superficial: hearts and flowers, a kiss by moonlight, the grand gesture. Love barely notices the give and take of these rippling edges. If you want to know love, look at the steadfast caretaking of long years. Look at the broad heart that expands with each new child. Look at the loyalty behind closed doors, beneath the surface of casual observation.
It’s not easy to understand the ocean. It’s not easy to understand love. Deep, constant yet adaptable.
Eventually, the river leads to the ocean. Our life, like time, flows into a great reservoir of love. Some rivers join the ocean before others. The ocean barely notices the rivers flowing into it, the churning at its periphery. Love is stable and ineffably grand. Love is big enough for all rivers to flow into it, uni-directionally, carrying any little leaves with it.