This past Friday, my daughter Hannah and I joined a couple of our friends and had an adventure. We kayaked a 6-mile section of the Chattahoochee River, just north of Atlanta. The day was a blast, to say the least.

On our trip there were several lazy stretches where we found ourselves paddling and wondering what lay around the next bend in the river.

At one point Hannah commented, “Dad, this river is a lot like my life these days. I find myself longing to see what is around the next bend. If I’m not careful I can easily miss the current section. I need to pay more attention and live in the moment.”

Can you relate?

As leaders it is easy to see the summit and neglect the path. I’m not saying stop. The river had a current just like your life does. You must “go with the flow,” so to speak.

One of my favorite bloggers, Jeff Goins, made reference to the need to stay the course in a recent post by referring to a conversation between Frodo and Sam in The Lord of the Rings… 

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.

Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were.

And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?

But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. 

But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo . . . and it’s worth fighting for.

― J.R.R. TolkienThe Two Towers

There is a destiny and you should keep moving toward it and fighting for it, but the path, this stretch of river, is all you have.

Next week this section will have passed. Kids will be off to college, moments will have taken place, meals eaten with friends and family, stories written, and words spoken.

Like all the past stretches, this one will vanish in a blink. And just like all the ‘folk’ in the stories of old, I would not turn back the clock, even if I could.

I will keep going, because I am holding onto something — the hope that I can live every day in the moment until this shadow of a life passes and I reach the final bend. There, everything will be clear and the sun will shine.

In the mean time, like Sam, the stories will stay with me.



How often do you think about “next week” and find yourself missing “today?”