*Writing hasn’t been easy for me lately. I’ve felt blocked and held back and yet I’ve been wanting to add something fresh to this blog; something that I haven’t written ‘a few years back.’ And so I thought, what better way to help my words to flow and break free than to write about a river….in comparison to something near and dear to my heart, something that is not hard or burdensome for me to think about, something that has definitely challenged me but brought me much more joy than I could have ever imagined; changing me even while allowing me to discover myself….and so I’ve decided to share with you my thoughts on being a Mother.
Like a River
Motherhood has been compared to many things such as a budding flower or a sheltering tree but for myself, thinking back over my over twenty-six years of being a mom, I see my experience of motherhood as being more like a river.
My middle name of Lynn, means cascade or waterfall so perhaps that is why I have always felt an affinity to water, rivers and water falls. But I’m sure it’s also due to the fact that I spent my formative years in Fergus, Ontario where the beautiful Grand River runs through the town first named Little Falls because of its scenic water falls downtown.  From there it travels through the quaint town of Elora where I spent my Junior High School years and spills into the Elora Gorge with its 22 metre high cliffs and where many a school truant spent their afternoons diving from the high rocks and swimming in the gorge’s deep blue waters.
My high school years were then spent in Athabasca, Alberta where the fast-moving Athabasca River originating from the Columbia Glacier rushes through the town. Flowing along ice fields and through gorges, its banks home to many wildlife habitat , one can almost envision the fur traders that once traveled by canoe up and down its dangerous current.
Standing beside the Falls of the Grand River flowing through Fergus, Ont.
To me, rivers are life-giving, steadfast, fascinating in their ebb and flow and determination to move forward no matter the obstacles in its path. Ever changing, the river flows from a source often larger than itself ; sometimes rushing, diverging and then converging again; other times cascading gently over small rocks and through gully’s to eventually turn off into a babbling brook running through the woods or even become the tiniest of rivulets breaking through a crevice. But always, whether it’s a mighty force or a small stream it flows onwards towards a definite course; winding gently around obstacles or grinding them down with its powerful current; the river simply never stops until it reaches its destination; a channel, lake or sea.
Four generations 1990; last picture with mom
As a mother, I too have garnered my determination and adaptability from a source larger than myself, with God being my greatest source and the underlying current that has kept me moving steadily forward. However there have been other sources given to me by God to help me along the way; diverging streams that have joined eventually with my own, adding their energy and life-giving strength to my own, teaching me, guiding me with a wisdom that can only come from their own experience of motherhood.
I think of my grandmother who was in my life until she was 97 yrs. of age. I could never know as I was growing up, that her steadfast love of mothering her own six children through the depression years, and then becoming a doting, loving and joyful grandmother to myself and her other 23 grandchildren and eventual 55 great-grandchildren, would leave such an indelible mark on my life. But as I move further into my life I find that it has; her rich legacy winding its way into my mother heart and soul so that I often find myself thinking of her and how she would have viewed a particular trial or challenge. She has become a part of the river for me; a source of inspiration.
Her daughter, my mother, is the woman who formed, nurtured and loved me the most during my childhood years. Mom had many of her mother’s qualities of perseverance and courage. She too has been a source larger than myself for me even though she passed away while my children were still babies. Her diagnosis of cancer when she was only thirty-six years old and I sixteen became a twelve-year fight to overcome; through her example to live her life to the fullest despite her circumstances, I draw some of my strength and hope when I face circumstances that I feel are too much to bear. And in spite of her not being there to turn to while my children were growing up, I’ve often found myself repeating something that she did with me as a child or saying something she used to say to me to my own children. Our mothers are always a part of us; guiding us and moving us forward whether they are with us or not.
There can be many other sources larger than ourselves that we come to rely on for a season; perhaps a mentor, friend, sister or counsellor. Anyone who comes along and flows and bends with us through the curves of the river of life can be part of that underlying force that carries us on through those rough spots, teaching us how to persevere and either adapt and flow around a particular obstacle or grit our teeth and find a way through it. Eventually we will come out the other side, wiser, stronger, perhaps not as we had envisioned, but always moving forward, through the rocks and boulevards, steady, streaming, onwards towards our destination where we join with generations of mothers, just like ourselves. From there, with God as our constant source, we can flow into other streams and rivers; joining and supporting them along their path as a mother……like a river.
Gloria Lynn Guest – May 13 2014 – Thanks for stopping by for a moment.
 Wikipedia.org – Fergus, Ontario
 http://www.grandriver – GRCA – Park – Elora Gorge