• Roberta Rathert

Controlling Gravity

“In a dream, for instance, a vision at night, when men and women are deep in sleep, fast asleep in their beds – God opens their ears and impresses them with warnings to turn them back from something bad they’re planning, from some reckless choice, and keep them from an early grave, from the river of no return.” This is from Job 33, where God is

reminding who is boss and making clear it's not me.

I’m not sure, but I wonder if a big trip like this one is the way we try to prove we are big or is it a try at proving we are insubstantial against God and the Mississippi River itself.


In town, we control our yards and tree branches, the snow and ice, and the temperature of the air inside where

we live. On the farm, we controlled weeds with chemicals, bugs with more chemicals, and rodents in the barn with poison. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has controlled the Mississippi River for decades, dredging its main channel to nine feet deep and, in some places, a few hundred feet wide bordered by red and green channel markers. They’ve spaced wing dams to control gravity’s effect on downbound water and built colossal locks and dams to make steps out of riverbed.


I just wonder, what control might I find or lose out there? Already I think everything will have control over me, from a raindrop to a bear to an 80-barge tow to a Louisiana hurricane. Only true nature changes things constantly while we fight it like a squirrel at a birdfeeder. We never really win, but neither does the squirrel. It remains a constant battle, who has control when no one really does. But according to Job, there is just only one who has it and keeps it, and I’m pretty sure it’s not me!

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