Words of Wisdom from Mother to Son

In his story for the February-March 2016 issue of Mysterious Ways, Michael Burns writes of discovering, shortly after her passing, an inspiring essay his late mother had written. Here is that essay in its entirety.

by - Posted on Jan 18, 2016

Guideposts: Rose Burns on her inspiring rafting adventure

White-water Rafting Thru Life

Just recently, Fr. Cooper gave 2 other ladies and myself, who work in the rectory, permission to join him and the Youth Group on a white-water rafting trip on the Youghiogheny River. 

The experience was scary, yet exciting and exhilarating. Right from the beginning the guide instructed us on the do’s and don’ts of the trip, that would aid us in safely getting through the trip and they promised to stay with us until the end no matter what.

Rose's Essay
A scan of Rose's original handwritten essay

The other ladies and I were assigned to a raft that already had three people in it that we didn’t know. We then put out from shore; six persons in each raft. It wasn’t long before we hit rough waters and I found myself thrown overboard. The other five worked together in getting me back into the raft safely. Thank God! We continued our journey through the rough and calm waters and always the guides were there; calling out instructions and encouragement (which are pretty darn hard to hear or follow when you’re occupied with avoiding a boulder here or riding a wave there, but try you  must). 

Many times along the way, I prayed for a way out of our dilemma only to realize, to my horror, that there was no way out until the trip was over. The exhilaration came at the end when you knew you had met all obstacles and overcame them, by the help of the guides, your companions, and the pure grace of God. 

Life has been associated to a river before. You hear it when people say things like “they are in the mainstream of life”, or “they’re in over their heads”, etc. But this experience has made it more clear to me than ever before that life is, indeed, like a river we must all travel that is fraught with both terrifying and exhilarating moments. To help us, God gave us the do’s and don’ts in the ten commandments, in the Bible, and by His Holy Spirit. God and our angels are there guiding us through the turbulent times and our family, friends, co-workers – and even strangers – are our companions giving encouragement and support along the way. With God’s grace, we’ll all be able to experience the exhilaration of a job well done at life’s end.

The real trick is trying to hear and follow the instructions when the troubles of life are tossing and turning you and trying to make you despair of going the whole distance. So, follow your guide, try to be a good companion (so we all can enjoy this trip through life) and pray that it will end as nicely as our trip on the Youghiogheny did.

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