You can see the concentration on their faces — this is not a spectator sport. They care not whether there is an audience, whether people are cheering on the side.
They just keep on rowing.
The wind comes up on the Charles River and you can see the ripples of current in the water. The way their hair blows back tells you that the wind is going against them, making it harder to row fast, harder to move forward.
But they just keep on rowing.
The coxswain, small from the stern of the boat, yells out instruction and pacing. She is there to guide the boat, to keep rhythm, to encourage. It’s important for the team to keep to the course and the coxswain is essential for this. She steers the rudder if they begin to go off course, she watches for technique and safety.
And the others? They just keep on rowing.
The team is unified in purpose, they clearly know each other’s style and strength. The goal is to make it to the finish line, increase your time, row well, do your best. So many metaphors for life that your brain freezes and you wonder why you have to analyze everything. But you know no matter how much you’re enjoying the event, you will keep on pondering, writing things in your head. It’s who you are, how you were made.
Signs for Regatta 2013 are high on light poles, vendors under awnings either sell their wares or give out free products, the gold and red of the Autumn season is at perfection and the sun shines bright. The wealthier gather on the other side of the river under a large, white tent — undoubtedly enjoying the fruits of their wealth through food, wine, and conversations about Yale, Harvard, and Princeton.
But you’re lost in the importance of rowing, because even though you don’t row, you know how hard it can be to keep on rowing, keep on going. You know that it takes every ounce of will and strength, that you need your coxswain, your people who encourage, to help keep you on track, to guide when needed, to watch for your safety.
It’s Monday morning and the week will greet you with all kinds of unknown, but you know you need to keep on rowing. And so you do.
Monday muffins: These muffins make me wish I had small children again. Well….for a minute anyway. Stacy says this about these ‘Triple Booberry Muffins’: “blueberry muffins with blueberry yogurt, frozen blueberries that have blueberry jam mixed through them….they turn out a wonderful purple color and I thought they might be nice as an alternative to the usual overly sweet things folks make for Halloween parties. Or to make for breakfast the morning of, for those who enjoy the holiday.” Click on the link above or the picture to get the recipe!
5 thoughts on “Keep on Rowing”
Hmm…. “Holy Spirit as coxswain”… something to chew on.
Marilyn, in many ways, you have been my coxswain these past 4 or 5 years. You’ve encouraged me to keep rowing. When the stream was swift and the current deep, you’ve cheered me on. Thank you for hearing my cries of help, my angst, my culture confusion, my sadnesses. Thank you for inviting me to speak out. Thanks for affirming the madness of this particular life stage coupled with the complexities in mothering out of my cultural depth. Thanks for gently calling out instructions, for the encouragement to pace myself and to maintain my rhythms. I’ve grown deeply attached to you….and this metaphor sums it up sweetly. You’ve been my irreplaceable, essential coxswain-friend. I’m forever grateful to you.
I shouldn’t have read this at work – for now I want to cry. These words were life-giving to me.
I rowed my junior year in college, when the KU Crew was still new and we only got as far as the Midwestern Regionals in Wisconsin. The next year I dropped off the team because the training time commitment increased and I had a heavy academic load… and that year they went to the Regatta on the Charles.
So.sad! Have you ever been to the Regatta? It’s a fun event….although I might add, it’s a very white event…..Both my husband and I really noticed that more this year than we have in the past.