I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Writing, Life, and White-water kayaking

Delores E. Topliff

           Sometimes deadlines or life events overtake us with challenges like navigating dizzying Arctic whitewater in a kayak. Freezing water rushes by. We open our eyes fighting strong pressure but can’t make sense of what we see. Is it sky? Or racing current?  Are we right side up? Or wrong side down? Should we breathe? Or not breathe? Icy streams and abrasive bubbles race by, invading and scrubbing us mercilessly, like a spinster aunt using a stiff brush--until we’re finally released, skin tingling.
Although we barely held on, the kayak corrects itself. We’re right side up, further down the current, enjoying new scenery.
Eskimo hunters developed kayaks for their harsh lifestyle conditions. These narrow buoyant boats covered with walrus skins have a single cockpit holding one paddler. Even the cockpit’s covered to keep waves from entering if even skilled kayakers roll their boats. Yes, sometimes boats capsize, and to right again, can't fill with water. Or boat and paddler will be lost.
Kayak invention was brilliant resourceful problem-solving. But I shudder imagining various steps between concept and successful prototype. How many “almost” kayaks were developed, meaning brave inventors came close, but didn’t succeed? They succumbed to brain-chilling cold and sank beneath foaming ice-clogged waters.
Sometimes writing, and life are as harsh as Arctic conditions and we need instant white-water kayaking skills. Maybe you have your desired agent, but the publisher you wanted folded. Or you got the contract, celebrated, did the happy dance with both feet and pounding heart. But time-crunching edits scream for everything else in life to stop--except simultaneous life events don’t cooperate. (Waving at several friends here).
Maybe you had a life season planned to accomplish all you’ve dreamed of when nasty ice bergs arrived and punched holes in your kayak. The test was on--upside down? Right side up? Lunging, trying to paddle , but often grabbing air.
That’s how it’s felt for me recently needing to coordinate sale of my town home, clean and repair my son’s larger home to move into, maintain essentials on my small farm, and most importantly, locate and then make rushed errands of mercy to my former husband, my sons’ dad, who lacked care and is dying of cancer. Wringing emotions accompanied each step, especially when they stacked on top of each other. My faith got tested, greatly stretched, and drenched in whitewater. After praying hard and simply holding on, I found I’d left that particular stretch of racing current and found one quieter. The only thing I know after is, “But God…”
Conclusion? Let God be our Kayak. Between us and storm. Between us and choking blur. In every sense, He is Savior and Redeemer for all situations.




  1. Love this, Dee--My faith got tested, greatly stretched, and drenched in whitewater.

    I'm in an emotional whitewater excursion right now. But God has been my Constant. Praising Him for that.

    By the way, I have a similar post on the My Book Therapy site tomorrow. :)

  2. Love this Dee. "Let God be our Kayak". We really need to remember this when things get crazy busy and we feel like we're going to drown. Thank you for such a wonderful illustration.

  3. Echoing Reba, love the idea of God being our kayak! I am up to my eyeballs in edits due next Tuesday, and if God were not smoothing the way, I might be tempted to give up. lol. Now back to work.

  4. I appreciate you all--thanks for comments. You're great companions on our interesting life voyage.

  5. Dee, Thank you for the beautiful post. I have been through many trials, but I sure am glad after reading this post that I wasn't the one testing out those preliminary models of Kayaks! Blessing to you my friend, and be assured, God will keep you afloat!

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