Shooting the Rapids
Prequel to Beginnings of Journeys
He stood close to the edge. A few feet below him a continuous thunder of foaming water rushes by and plummets over the chasm. Beyond the fine mist that obscures the depths of the fall he could just about make out the heaving water as it squeezes through the narrow entrance to the gorge.
He dived. For an instant he appeared to be suspended over the falls, then the swirling vortex pulled him down, sucked him into its cold embrace, propelling him, arms and legs flailing, into the void. He plunged, unnoticed, unseen and unheard, no different from the endless volume of water that descents, day after day, over immeasurable aeon, into icy darkness.
He opened his eyes to a bright sunny day. He felt slightly groggy, having slept too long and too far into the morning. The room was quiet, even the world outside was quiet. He looked out of the window at the parched lawn. There wasn't even a slight breeze to stir the weary plants as they curled in on themselves and waited patiently for rain. It’s been over a month since the last rain, a month since he shot the rapids.
He opened the door and motioned the man outside to come in. They sat down in awkward silence, each waiting for the right moment to speak.
"I have been waiting for you."
"I did not find it easy to come," his visitor replied. In the dim light of the living room, he appeared much older than his forty years.
"Thank-you for coming."
"I come because I must. What can I say that will dissuade you from your madness?"
"Nothing. I have made up my mind."
"Repent before God and He will ...."
"How is she?" he interrupted.
"Not good. She is in pain. She is very hurt and angry. You have treated her badly." The visitor leaned forward and gripped his hand. "It is never too late for God."
"I don't love her anymore." He looked intently at the visitor, wanting him to understand. "I do care for her but that is not the same as love."
"You have to give up this other woman. Stop seeing her."
"I can't. I love her."
"You are a gifted and you are much loved by those under your care. Think of them if not for yourself."
"I have to move on."
"What you are doing is like shooting the rapids. If you shoot the rapids, I will not protect you. You will be on your own.”
His voice did not betray the emotional turmoil inside.
He did not know then that everything would be taken from him, that ex-communication would strip him of all his friends, his sense of self and the cosy, closed world that he knew, even the woman he thought he loved. .
Wearily, he dragged himself out of the water and collapsed onto a smooth rock. He was bruised, wounded. He lay on his back and rested. Days, months, maybe even years passed by. He could not tell how long he laid there. In the darkness and the silence of the cavern there were no rhythms by which time could be measured, only the movements of his breathing and the lapping of water against rock.
He shot the rapids and lost ......... everything.