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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Where the River Meets the Ocean

I recall my Geography lessons when I learnt all about the hydrological cycle - that water flows from its source up high in the mountains all the way down luscious valleys; first via streams and then rivers. Then there is the climatic moment when the water bursts through its river mouth and enters the sea. All of that came alive to us during our recent trip to Perth, Australia. (This is the reflective post. The travelogue will come later.) 

On one of the final days of the trip, we went on a short trek along the famed Cape to Cape Walk, guided by the capable Saul Cresswell from Cape to Cape Tours. The walk was truly memorable and we learnt much from Saul, who not only took us by canoe across the Margaret River, but also shared with us much of the history and geography of the area. For instance, we learnt that for most of the year, a small sandbar separates the Margaret River from its end point, the Indian Ocean, and that you can literally walk across the river at its mouth. However, there is always a time in the winter when sufficient pressure builds up along the river, and it literally bursts through to the ocean. We happened to be there at that precise moment.
The Mouth of the Margaret River.




The mouth of the river is the point where it is the most fertile. It was there that we marvelled at the abundance of life - ducks were paddling happily on the water surface; small birds of various species were gliding peacefully near the shoreline; and schools of fish were swimming in blissful abundance under the waters - our two boys took their turns standing alongside their grandparents, and we can still remember the little voices excitedly recounting their fishing experiences.
Our younger son excitedly showing off the fish that he had caught with his Mama.
I spent many moments staring into the large expense that was the ocean. At that particular moment in the winter, the waves were building in their magnitude - to the point that they could be considered as a swell (in fact one of the largest swells in a decade was experienced just down the beach at a popular spot known as Surfers' Point).

I still remember that moment vividly. To my left, the swell of the ocean was beating mercilessly against the helpless shoreline. To my right, the flowing river was building up its pressure, and had just burst through at the river mouth. Yet in the centre of it all was a special area which emanated a strong sense of serenity and calm; as if oblivious to the huge forces of nature at either end.
The swell of the Indian Ocean.
These 1/1/2 years have not been the easiest for me - I had left a comfortable full-time job to seek out more flexible work arrangements to give me more time with the family; the training company which Sue and I started is only just beginning to stabilise; and we also recently just started an online games store. 

At home, our parenting journey has been trying - especially with two extremely active boys of ages so close to each other. We have had to grapple with numerous issues such as sibling rivalry, obedience, attention etc. Throw in the education aspect: How do we teach two completely different personalities who are concurrently trying to assert their own desires for independence?
Sometimes the things that matter most to us are right at our side!
As I looked at that picture of perfect peace - that special place where the river meets the ocean, I was reminded that I have a powerful God who can protect me from the largest of swells and the highest pressures that a river can exert. Only God can be my refuge in times of crisis. I beamed the largest smile I could muster - for I know that He is the peace in my career and in my parenting; my refuge when all other forces of nature seem too oppressive.

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