You will flow

Swans go with the flow at the Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, July 2003

Swans go with the flow at the Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, July 2003

“As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit.” — author unknown; attributed to Emmanuel Tanay

Among the most ultimately comforting but persistently difficult teachings of Jesus are his words in Matthew 6:25-34, where he warns us against worry, saying “take no thought for tomorrow.”  Really?  When I read these words I find myself saying “Yes, but…”

“Yes, but that doesn’t mean to be irresponsible.” (No, it doesn’t, but there is a difference between being responsible and feeling a compulsive need to control everything as much as possible.)  “Yes, but he wasn’t speaking literally.” (He wasn’t? Did he really mean “You should only worry a little bit” or “You should only worry about REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS?”) “Yes, but things were very different in those days.” (And I’m guessing there was even more to worry about then…food, clothing, survival, all the things mentioned in the full context of what Jesus said.)

It really is possible to live a sane, wise and responsible life without excessive worry about the future, but our culture does not promote that kind of mental framework.  Advertisers seek to sell us everything from clothes to cars to insurance by playing to our worst fears and insecurities.  The news media bombard us continually with stories designed primarily to catch and keep our attention by making us afraid of what we might miss.  Financial advisers have created an advice industry geared toward teaching us to find security in money.  Health care providers coach us to stay current on diagnostic screening.  On and on it goes.

I am working on learning to do what I can, and then let go of the outcome.  It’s a difficult process, but unfortunately (or fortunately?) life has a way of prying our fingers loose from anything we hold too tightly.  When I get most agitated and tense, it really does help to take a few deep breaths and imagine something peaceful, such as a gently flowing brook, or the graceful gliding of a swan in the water.  There are times when it becomes all too obvious that we have no choice but to “go with the flow” of life, one day at a time.  I hope your day will flow peacefully today!

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    That’s a really wonderful photo. Someone had some amazing visual insight, to put together those colors in a garden for us to enjoy, and your photo seems to absolutely maximize the effect!

    • I remember being disappointed at the fake-looking tint of the water (and I still don’t know how or why the water was that color, though it was a man-made pond) but it did show up beautifully with the swans gliding by.

      • That’s so interesting, because if the water were dyed, it would certainly stain the lovely white swans!?! Some rusts are close to that color, but again, that seems like it would stain, and probably be bad for the wildlife, too.
        My son, Erik, used to work at a water garden shop. I wonder if he’d know anything about it ….

        • I can remember when my Daddy used to test the water in our swimming pool, sometimes it would be too acidic and he would give us soda to throw around while we were swimming (which we found great fun). In my memory, the soda gave the water an even more blue color than the aqua-colored pool itself created, but perhaps that was just my imagination. Perhaps the color of the water in the photo was some benign chemical reaction to something natural.

          • I can just imagine how fun it would be to throw soda around a pool! Since keeping the pool “clean” is always a priority, throwing soda would be quite a treat, without at all being naughty! LOL
            Fun with chemistry!

            • Yes! Imagine my disappointment to learn that “chemistry” as it was taught in school, was NO FUN AT ALL! Or at least, only rarely fun…

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