Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Risking Living


We were dismayed to discover there is no free lunch. Not even free snacks. Our beloved docking place on the Catawba river to launch our kayaks was sold, and the new evil Capitalist owner feels the need to charge us for the privilege of using his land. My good looks and new spf 50 bathing suit did nothing to change his mind. I even tried quoting scripture about loving thy neighbor. No good. He insists on making a living.

So we had no choice but to find alternatives. I scoured the internet for public docking/swimming sites on nearby Lake Wylie. Due to concerns over liability, Lake Wylie had closed their one public beach many years ago. As yet, they have not reopened any. And while I will kayak joyfully with no need to hop in the water to cool off, my sidekick insists that half the fun of kayaking is finding swimming holes. I found private beaches that have kayak launch sites and a minimal yearly parking fee. In between Matt's summer spree of doctor visits, I dashed off to Lake Wylie with Asherel to check the beach out and decide if it was worth the fee. As soon as we pulled in to the parking lot, I knew we had found Nirvana. It was a shady sandy beach area, with the kayak launch right there. And to seal the deal, sitting on a nearby dock was a great blue Heron. I love Great Blue Herons, and always feel God sends them to remind me of His presence. They remind me of God- elusive, rarely seen, usually only glimpsed in peripheral vision, but magnificent. We hurried to pay the parking fee for the year and raced home for doc appt. # 3,007 .

Later, I did a little research on our new kayaking site. I discovered some interesting facts about Lake Wylie. It has monsters. There are sightings of alligators in it. 3 juvenile alligators were caught on video near a popular swimming spot. I clicked on the video. The popular swimming spot looked eerily like the beach we had just visited and plunked down money to be allowed to swim there. In fact, the camera panned over a nearby dock, a dock that looked eerily like the one where the symbol of God, the Great Blue Heron had perched.

Kayakers and swimmers have swum those beaches and kayaked those waters for years, and there is not one report of an aggressive alligator, or alligator incident. They are probably pets that were released when they got too big, and the experts say that alligators can't breed in Lake Wylie- too cold they claim. Still, I must admit, this news gives me pause. For someone who broke her toe just walking the dog around the block, and gives new meaning to "accident prone", I am just not nuts about paddling around with Leviathan.

It seems inevitable that in every endeavor there seems to be risk. Sharks in oceans, lightning in the sky, meteors hurtling from outer space, cars swerving, pollution filling lungs, food clogging arteries....As soon as my eyes open, the day is spotted with land mines. I could certainly be justified in living each breath in fear.....

But I think maybe the heron perched on the dock was to remind me of something. God is there, always there. In the midst of dangers and trials, there is beauty and wonder and joy. To live in complete safety is impossible and to live in fear is miserable. To find the fullness of life, and the wonder of all God's creation, one must risk living. But just in case, I googled "alligator deterrents". The best advice: "don't fly to Florida and if you do, don't get off the plane. There are no documented evidence of alligator attacks on airplanes."

Psalm 3:5-7 (New International Version)

5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

6 I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.

7 Arise, O LORD!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

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