Reflection: The Lazy River


I preached this weekend at our Orlando Campus.

It was a powerful time of sharing in community. I always feel like I receive more than I give.

When we were done, Lori, who specializes in generous secrecy, whisked me away to an undisclosed location.

We spent two days at a 500 acre resort in Grand Lakes.

They have a spa, pools, golf, tennis, and a silly variety of restaurants.

And when it comes to unwinding, I am an unapologetically simple man. Give me a room, a gym, some food, and some sunshine, and I’m good.

A pool, however, never hurts.

The resort offers a fairly common, but nonetheless Nobel-Prize-worthy innovation known as “The Lazy River.”

If you are unfamiliar, a lazy river is a water course that encircles a large part of a given resort that one navigates in an inner tube. It is shallow enough to stand. It has a light current that moves you along. It lends itself to moments of Zen, or, if you prefer, meditative prayer. Breathe in “Lord.” Breathe out “have mercy.” And float.

Lori said she now knows what I looked like as a seven-year-old.

I think she also knows what I’d look like as a sedated manatee.

On this occasion, the Lazy River was just ok. It was off in a way I couldn’t quite articulate. It was somehow less relaxing than usual

We wound around the course for maybe 15 minutes before running into a family. The dad, a grey haired man with kind eyes smiled, then leaned toward us and said, gently, “I think you’re going the wrong way.”

At which point we looked around, and then turned around, and realized we had been swimming upstream, against the current for the past 15 minutes. And with that correction, the ride became 100% of what it was supposed to be, and we floated, to our hearts content, for a good lazy while

And this is a metaphor.

How often, in life, do we have great expectations, but the wrong approach?

How often do we have all the gear, and all the ability, but not enough information to use it?

How much can our ride change from one person exercising the generosity to correct us, and how often can we do the same for someone else?

Generosity wasn’t the only gift here. The man also exercised courage, because we often make people pay for daring to help us. I could have been defensive in a hundred ways. I’m 49 years old. The technology is not new. The water is three feet deep. Take your tubesplaining self elsewhere, buddy.

And yet, he was 100% right, the solution was absurdly simple, and the correction made everything better.

I pray today, that we would be generously bold enough to share gentle correction, and humbly open enough to receive it..

I pray that if we are living against the current, we find a way to turn ourselves around.

May the river be lazy.

May the journey be kind.

May you get where you need to go.

Happy floating.

(Photo Credit: mattycphoto)


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