When I turned 55, I made myself a promise that I would attempt to learn something new each year. The first year I took up golf. The next year I went white water rafting and this year I learned how to canoe.
Our instructor was wonderful and at the beginning of the week, he assured us that there would come a time when our anxiety about manoeuvring the boat would fall away and we would begin to meld prayer with our paddling. Well, as strange as it seems, it happened. Towards the end of the week, my partner and I were out on a perfectly calm lake and all the “stuff” about sweeps, j-strokes and river pries fell away and I experienced a sense of oneness with the canoe, the water, the sky and God. My breathing slowed and followed the rhythm of my paddle which slid silently and effortlessly through the water, leaving a tiny little whirlpool behind. It was truly a holy moment and one that lingers in my memories as I sit here at the end of my first Sunday back in the parish.