Eagles, egrets, ducks, and blue herons flew along the banks of a local creek as my husband and I canoed. After sharing the account with some friends who are kayakers, they asked if we would take them kayaking on the same route. We said, “Sure!”
During my prayers of communion with God on the morning of the outing, I thought about the fact that God is divine Mind, the one intelligence of the universe. Mary Baker Eddy says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Controlled by the divine intelligence, man is harmonious and eternal” (p. 184). This is a divine law that applies to everyone. I prayerfully affirmed that divine Mind would be governing every aspect of the trip. I knew that God, divine Principle, was actually holding every one and every thing in perfect order, wherein there is no chance, fate, or luck.
I had never before kayaked. After some practice, though, I felt comfortable dipping the paddle from one side to the other. However about halfway through the trip, I got caught in a fierce current of water. My kayak was swept sideways and I fell out. As I held on to the kayak, I was bobbing up and down and hitting the sharp rocks. The thought came, “Let go of the kayak!” But I didn’t want to let go of it—it seemed like giving in. I felt a sense of pride in being able to hold on to the boat. I was known for being a real fighter—not one to give up easily. Again the thought came, “Let go of the kayak!”
This time I obeyed. I waded to the bank of the creek, unhurt. My companions easily recovered my paddle and kayak. We all had a hearty laugh, and I shared what I had learned. We talked about a better way to approach that particular section of the creek. Then we continued on our trip, singing and stopping to eat lunch.
While that was an important lesson, it’s the spiritual lesson from the trip that continues to bless me. My concept of “letting go” has expanded. I saw that as important as it was for me to let go of the kayak, the real letting go I’ve needed to do has been of a false sense of identity. Through the years I’d allowed myself to believe that toughness and persistence originated in me, and helped define me. However, since our trip I have gained greater glimpses of the fact that infinite God is my creator and the source of all being. There is only one Ego, God, and He is the source of all good—of all strength, creativity, joy, and right activity. All of the infinite qualities of God constitute my identity as the image of God, His individualized idea.
I saw that my “toughness,” in this case, was simply human willfulness—the determination to hold on to some thing or some thought no matter what. But this wasn’t the kind of toughness that Christ Jesus demonstrated, or that enabled him to heal. He showed us that real strength is yielding to God’s will, and he taught us to pray, “Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10).
As we yield to God’s will, we drop whatever would hinder us from moving forward. Instead, we keep in view Mind’s glorious spiritual being, and man as His glorious spiritual expression.