There we were, boating down the river, embraced by the forest and blessed by a beautiful sky. We had been underway since first light, because being on the water is conducive to early nights and deep sleep.
Tea taken in the rosy dawn somehow tasted even better than usual. We lingered over cups and the well-loved poetry books we brought with us, so thankful for these quiet times together, the balance to our many days apart over the years for the sake of the Kingdom. I bought the first anthology soon after we arrived in Orlando, 23 years ago, intrigued by the idea of a poem a day. We now have books 1 to 3, and familiarity has produced many dog-eared pages of our favorites. Beautiful words never grow old, they just get burnished by time till they glow warmly in our collective memory.
By mid-morning we were ready for brunch and Best Beloved took us down an inviting branch off the river, scanning the forest around us for a likely tree to anchor at while I was cooking. The river took a turn and suddenly we were surrounded by hundreds of beautiful, tall white flowers that I didn’t recognize, hidden away from the rushing boat traffic on the main river. Their fragrance hung deliciously on the humid air. Surprised by delight, I closed my eyes, breathed deeply and smiled.
“Did you know,” said Best Beloved, “This place is known as Emmanuel’s bend?!”
Life is unpredictable and I am old enough to have sailed down a side channel or two, sometimes because the way forward was hampered by too much traffic on the river, sometimes because I just needed to take time out, go down a by-way and breathe in the waiting fragrance of the presence of the Lover of my soul.
It is so easy for me to get so caught up in the pressures of life and the weights of my burdens that I tend to forget – all that is needed is to simply turn aside, turn the corner into quietness, and breathe the Name of Jesus.