Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: River (08/31/06)
TITLE: Sighs of Fulfillment
By Claudia Fletcher
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One woman had two children by birth. Easy babies, they slept through the night at a young age, were delightful toddlers, and excelled in school they grew older. Straight A students, gifted athletes, not rebellious, they gave much joy to their parents. The woman looked back, as she viewed her empty nest, with a sigh of fulfillment.
The other woman chose to adopt children from foster care who had been abused and neglected. The years to come were full of therapists and psychiatrists, medication and special education, suspensions and expulsions. As the teen years approached, other unexpected things were added such as police involvement, court hearings, detention centers, visitation schedules, and sleepless nights. The woman looked back, as she viewed her empty nest, with a sigh of fulfillment.
Two women decided to take a canoe trip on two different rivers. They rented their canoes, packed their gear, and started the trip.
One woman found her river to be smooth like glass. There were a few bumps, but nothing she couldn’t handle. There were times when if she stopped rowing, she could sit and take in the scenery, letting the sights, sounds and smells fill her senses. The peacefulness of her ride filled her with contentment. When she neared the ended of her ride, she looked back, viewing from where she had come, with a sigh of fulfillment.
The second woman realized within a few minutes that she was in for a ride. The river was full of rapids, and it took every ounce of her energy to keep the canoe afloat. There were times when things were moving so quickly that she had no time to look at the scenery that she was flying by. There were moments she wasn’t sure she could handle it for another minute and wondered if her canoe would tip and she would crash against the rocks. But she kept paddling and before she knew it, the ride was nearly over and she looked back, viewing from where she had come, with a sigh of fulfillment.
How can these two women reflect on such different experiences with the same emotion? The rides were so different, the journeys so opposite from one another, that contrasting emotions would be expected. However, satisfaction comes not in the circumstances of the journey, but in knowing that we have canoed our river to the best of our ability. We realize that it is our river to ride, chosen for us by the One who knows what is best for us. And while our sojourn may not be the one we had expected, as we reach its end our sigh of fulfillment comes from completing the task to which we were called faithfully.
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