The Fear of The Oxbow Lake

What if I come back and I am just another guy? What if I return and I am just a reminder of a time that existed three years ago, but is now irrelevant and forgotten? What happens when I can’t fit into a puzzle I am no longer a piece to?

For someone fairly confident about the decision to come back to his home country, I am still only human. I think one would expect questions like the ones listed above to careen through my mind at blistering speeds. Questions that cause damage to my calm and to my surety. As if there wasn’t enough to think about before leaving, I can throw on a heaping pile of insecurity about the place I called home for most of my life.

When I return home in January, I am going to slip back into my life and catch up with old friends. We will have long nights of conversations and glasses won’t remain empty once we relieve them of their drink. I’ll have similar lunches and similar coffee dates. I’ll have sit-downs with those I trust and share the circus in my mind. There are things I know will happen and plenty that I don’t. That’s not my fear.

In nature, there exists a thing called an Oxbow Lake. For those of you who are familiar, skip past my introduction, but an Oxbow Lake is a section of river, or once was. Once connected, apart, and integral to the flow of the river, the Oxbow Lake wasn’t graced this title yet, it was just another bend in a series of bends that the river had to make. Over time, erosion narrowed the gap and one day, the bend became too great. The river started to push through the bend and soon, the flow changed and the once important bend of the river became a cut-off, abandoned indication. Now isolated, and separate, the water body is titled an Oxbow Lake and is no longer apart of the greater whole. It serves as a reminder to the river which cut it off, that things change, and sometimes you have strong flowing river currents, and sometimes you have Oxbow Lakes.

It is pretty clear what I am fearing will happen once I come back. It is very possible that I am no longer a piece of the community that I grew up in. That happens, that’s life. Just like the Oxbow Lake, sometimes things take their inevitable course. Sometimes, things move on because they have to. The river can’t stop, it must keep moving.

I’m not nieve. I know that life kept moving while I’ve been gone. I know that people have had babies, gotten married, moved to new houses, gotten new jobs, shared life experiences together, grown together, and cried together. As much as I know my family loves me, and my friends will always be my friends…I know that in some respects, I’m already on my way to being the Oxbow Lake.

I’m going to be apart of my nieces and nephews lives for a while. I’ll be with my sisters and brothers in law, parents too. I am coming back for many reasons, these being a few of them. In some respects, I will need to start over with relationships, and some will be new. But I need to forget that I can just pretend like nothing has happened while I’ve been gone and that I can just “continue.” Once I take that notion down, I can properly enter the space without being let down, hurt, or confused. It’s not a question of love, it’s a matter of life. This is how things are. Whether I like it isn’t the issue.

All in all, I am pretty excited to be coming back home, and whether it’s for a season or for good, I will be present and live for the moment. That’s all I can really do anyway. For those living with me in New Zealand, I’ll be taking as many opportunities here before I go. For those reading this in America, I can’t wait to see you next year.

2 thoughts on “The Fear of The Oxbow Lake

  1. Totally understand, Eric. God will be with you to direct your path when you get here. Coming back is just the first step. I’m confident that God has good things in store for you as you trust Him to guide you. Love you!

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