How to Move Forward in Life

Streams are plentiful in East Tennessee. They trickle down the mountains, run beside the shaded rural roads, and flow joyfully into the rivers. If you sit quietly in a wooded area, you can hear the water spilling over rocks that have become smooth due to the water’s consistency.

Occasionally something huge, like a rock or fallen tree, will trap the busy water and stop it from flowing. It can’t go around; it can’t go over or under its obstacle. The water feeding the little stream feels the sudden halt and detours around the trapped pool and continues to flow, but the water trapped behind the fallen tree becomes very still.

Streams are plentiful in East Tennessee. They trickle down the mountains, run beside the shaded rural roads, and flow joyfully into the rivers. If you sit quietly in a wooded area, you can hear the water spilling over rocks that have become smooth due to the water's consistency. Occasionally something huge, like a rock or fallen tree, will trap the...For a moment, the still water is pretty, but after a while, when nothing comes in and nothing goes out, it becomes stagnant and gives off a foul odor for lack of freshness.

The same thing happens when we stop the flow of life. However, when you are a mother, you often want to stop everything because it is going too fast.

Lots of moms feel like this at the beginning of the school year. This year is especially frightening because of the effect the COVID pandemic has had on our lives.

Some moms may be standing in the doorway watching the last of their little ones leave for an uncertain school environment, while others face the challenge of turning a part of their home into a virtual learning classroom.

A friend told me she was having a challenging time in her life emotionally because her youngest child was going off to college. “I want to keep him home with me,” she said. “I am having such a hard time letting go.”

I understood her emptiness. The year before we moved to Texas from Tennessee, we said goodbye to our three children, all in the same month. The oldest graduated from college and moved to D.C to spread her wings. The middle son was a sophomore in college. And the youngest graduated from high school and went off to college.

Right afterward, my husband’s job situation relocated us to the Rio Grande Valley. I left behind a great job, lots of good friends, and children scattered. It was very hard, but change and challenges don’t have to become our enemy if we understand how it works.

Life has to change for us to see it all. And the challenges we face help us to be more appreciative of what we have. I missed the beautiful streams flowing throughout the hills of Tennessee, but I found many beautiful things in the Rio Grande Valley, and I stayed close to my children.

When we visited the botanical gardens in Corpus Christi, I was fascinated with the colorful Lily garden at the beginning of the self-guided tour. Right away, I knew it was going to be difficult getting through the entire garden before closing time because everything was beautiful.

I took pictures from every angle of the lily garden and tried to pour the sight of the pretty flowers into my memory for later. Still, as we moved around the landscaping, I discovered another garden the size of a large room planted with deep purple Pansies. It was even more beautiful than the Lily garden. My entire day went like that. When I thought I had seen the best the gardens had to offer, there would be something even more enjoyable and exciting around the corner.

The same can be so when raising children. Every phase of their lives can be like that. Even the difficult times we are facing now can make us strong and bring us closer together.

Just around the corner for a kindergarten student’s mother is the thrill of seeing her child make friends, seeing them learn to read, and displaying their drawings up on the refrigerator for all to see.

Just around the corner for the mom of a young person going off to college is realizing that her child can make decisions, get up by themselves when they fall and develop talents and skills she never realized they had.

However, much like the little streams making their way through the hills of Tennessee, if we don’t let them go, they will detour around us or come to a halt, and we will miss seeing who and what they become–just around the corner.

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Deana Landers
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I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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Story Comments

  1. I love a stream - especially here in East TN - I'm in Chattanooga. At this back to school time, I'm actually glad I'm past that phase in life. Such a struggle.

    • Deana Landers -

      Me too, Rosemary. It was a struggle for me too. I love Chattanooga. WE lived a little north of you in Cleveland. Thank you for always reading and commenting on my stories. Deana

  2. Maria -

    I truly feelFor young mother these days! I was lucky even though I cried when my kids left toCollege! It’s definitely scarier not knowing whether your child could contract covid.

    • Deana Landers -

      I think it is much scarier now to Maria. There is so much in the world for our children to face and yet we have to guide them into their own lives. Love your comments. Thank you so much.Deana

  3. All made more difficult during this season of Covid-19m Deana. Thanks for the gentle moments!

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Cat for reading and commenting on my stories.Deana

  4. Great story, I can really relate to this. When my kids left home I had no idea what I was going to do with myself I was so lost and they felt guilty. But once I started blogging I became so content and now we are thriving in our own lives.

    • Deana Landers -

      I know how you felt, Anita. I was lost too, but I'm so grateful to watch them grow and be a part of their lives. Thank you for always reading and responding.Deana

  5. Great analogy Deana...and so it goes with the circle of life.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Janet.Deana

  6. You have the most amazing way with words Deana. I can't tell you how much I love today's short story. I think the picture of a stagnant stream vs. beautiful bubbling, flowing water will always stay in the back of my mind now when I think of my kids. They both immigrated to Canada a while back and it's scary knowing your kids are on another continent on the other side of the world. I seriously considered wrapping them up in cotton wool and holding them close forever but they've carved an amazing future for themselves in a world I know nothing about and I am beyond grateful. Thank you for leaving a beautiful picture in my head.

    • Deana Landers -

      Ahhhh, thank you for those words, Michelle. That is quite an adventure for them. And you can share it with them. I always appreciate your responses.Deana

  7. Bhanupriya Sharma -

    Perfect beginning leading to relatable life events. Amazing work.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you for reading and commenting.Deana

  8. Love your analogy with the garden; that really resonated with me. Never thought of it like that before but it's so true!

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Sara. I love gardens and using them to make a point. Thank you always for reading and responding to my stories.Deana

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