It turns out that rowing is hard. Harder than swimming or diving. Because rowing is something one does in concert with others. Rowing well together takes skill and lots of practice (more practice than skill, I imagine), not to mention that rowers have to be committed to taking the time to work together. Even then, it's easy to see how one rower can be a little off - or maybe all the rowers just can't get into synch. One leans back instead of forward; another has oars flying up instead of flat or in the water. Meaning that the boat doesn't go as fast as it could or as straight or that people get frustrated with one another.

And yet, every day on rivers and lakes everywhere, people are out there rowing together. Out of the joy of being outdoors, on the water, with people, in boats or perhaps there are other reasons too - out of commitment, love for physical activity, because one signed up for it. My guess is that rowing is a spiritual exercise for many. A time to hear the birds and the water dripping from the oars and to see the whirling "footprints" the oars leave behind in the water and watch the leaves turn and to see fish and eagles and harbor seals and whatever else is out there. And there is that moment when everything comes together and all oars and bodies are in synch and the rowers feel the power of that perfect stroke propelling the boat to slice through the water.

I am not an actual rower, although my son is. I got into a shell once, with others who also were not rowers but parents of rowers. But I see why people do it and love it. I imagine that it's not unlike many other things in life - it works better when everyone's together. And yet there is a joy in participating, in preparing, in working toward that perfect stroke and that joy does not have to be diminished by imperfection unless one lets the imperfection be the focus.

I hope that God looks at us that way.


Unknown said…
Amen! (You should have an "Amen" button like the "Like" button on Facebook.)