By: Dwayne Parton

A Hard Question

Last Thursday was the first time someone within the kayaking community, that I feel like I am a part of, died. Her name was Shannon Christy. It was terribly sad and I would have never expected it to hit me the way it did. I can’t explain it. Her death hit so close to home for me. In part because she went to a high school near my home town, two because she was only 23 and had so much life left, and vastly because she loved kayaking and loved Jesus. She was friends with several of my friends and I know I would have met her eventually. Even though I never knew her it was a terribly sad loss. Her death made me ask myself some hard questions about life and kayaking. Is it worth it? What if I was only put here for a short while? What if I lost my life to the river doing something I love? So many what ifs. And I must say that yes, it’s worth it. We are all put here for a purpose. It’s not living if you are scared of where life will take you. Only one can determine how many days He will give us. I feel like an important part of being a believer is not living in the fear that there may not be a tomorrow. Just like the river, we couldn’t possibly enjoy it if we were focused on every hard rapid downstream. Instead, we take each rapid as it comes, and we see where that leads us.

My friends sent me some really good articles that are well worth reading and I hope you will feel the same way.

In light of this hard pill, I feel inspired. I have several things that are bouncing around in my head and this will probably be written as such.

It seems like as Christians we always talk about this “calling”. I think our “calling” is simply living, and not be scared of living. If you have never been boating, I doubt you would understand. But boating has a way of teaching you how to live. Or at least it has for me. Teaching you what respect and humility mean. Rivers have a grand way of showing you just how small you are, and yet can take you to places where you feel like the king of the world. And just when you think you know it all, they have a way of surprising you and reminding you who really is bigger. I would argue that no one respects the water more than a boater.

I’ve spent many years trying to do ministry. Looking for ways that I can some how embed the gospel in someones life with out being the stereotype. What I’ve come to conclude is that our ministry comes from the overflow of Christ in us. Not the overflow of our mouth. And just like love, it can’t be forced. We just have to allow it to happen and trust that it will. It overflows from our lives by the way we live and interact. I hope that He will overflow from my life. I hope is that He will use me in a way as powerful as Shannon Christy whether that be in life or death. I can’t help but feel like life is orchestrated by our heavenly father to always paint a beautiful symphony.