The branches that bear the most fruit hang the lowest . . .
THERE'S THIS RIVER. The locals call it El Rio Como Dios.
Someone told me it means, "a river like God." I don't remember whose crazy idea it was, but one day Mark and I finally did it; we saved up, made the trip, and swam El Rio Como Dios. You sure you want to hear this? I guess I don't mind telling it again. Although, sometimes I still feel a chill along the right side of my spine as I talk about it.
We stood along its edge, taking in the moment. We had heard stories of how difficult it was to swim this river. And yet . . . it didn't look hard at all. The current crept along northward, nothing intimidating . . . at least
. . . that's the way it looked from the top. We jumped in. It wasn't even cold.
Then almost immediately, Mark decided he wanted to swim southward, against the current. Some had tried it before, with little success, but Mark was a very strong swimmer. I guess he wanted to prove something to himself, or to the river -- I don't know.
He coaxed me on, egging me to follow him. I tried at first, but --
here comes a chill -- it was strange. It's like . . . the current tightened up on you. Like it had a will of its own. Mark made a little better progress, but he was straining. I could tell. Me? I was barely moving, and started feeling a cramp. I yelled at Mark, but he was determined; didn't even hear me. His pride was getting the best of him.
I stopped. Why fight it, I thought. And man . . . if it wasn't the exact opposite; didn't even have to tread water. This thing just carried me along with no effort on my part. I yelled at Mark again, but the distance between us was growing fast. I made it to one bank, and ran northward to where Mark was feverishly pumping his arms but getting nowhere, swimming in place like a seagull flying against the wind.
I kept yelling. But he kept fighting, cursing, nailed to one spot, stubbornly defying the river's will -- and then he went under. That was it
. . . Never saw him again.
The locals helped as best they could, only willing to survey the bottom while traveling southward. They knew better than to buck this river. I wish Mark had known it, too. We never found his body -- it disappeared.
Oh . . . I guess you're wondering about the river's name.
Right before I left, a local missionary showed me a Bible verse. It said: "God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5).
Needless-to-say . . . that was the first verse I memorized.
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