Howard Thurman in his essay, “Reservoir or Canal” says we have three lifestyle choices—a canal, a reservoir, or a swamp. A canal channels water from one place to another. A Reservoir holds water for future use. A swamp has an inlet but no outlet–it is a place where life becomes stale and dies.
Life at times can be a ever flowing canal. With responsibilities that stretch the imagination and test our abilities to learn new skills, develop new networks, and meet the challenges of building bridges between each other and God. With families, careers, school, sports, and social calendars. Life can be great on the a speedboat in a fast moving canal. Until the boat runs out of gas.
Perhaps it is an illness, a death of a loved one, losing a job, not getting into your first pick college, or losing your security blanket. You find yourself wondering—is it reservoir time or swamp time?
And then there is a discovery. During all those years a small raft had been carrying water to your reservoir. Strong family relationships, supportive friends, a caring church family, and rich memories are all there and ready.
The water is still. It is a quiet time. A Restoring time.
Back in the canal the speedboat is gone. Now it’s two in a canoe with one paddle. New memories are being made. Life is being lived each day as creatively and as full as possible.
No swamp here!
*Thanks to Hazel Boltwood for her inspiration!