The River and the YMCA


August, 2017


Written by Roger Button
Clark County Family YMCA

It has been hot, really hot.

I came home from the YMCA and the river was calling my name. I am blessed to live by a river. In the mornings I sit out by it and drink my coffee. This is the time that God and I have our best conversations.

As I looked at the river, I had a hard time seeing anything in it. The water is crystal clear and the bottom is rocky, a typical mountain river. I can see the bottom clearly, but unless the salmon are running I don’t see any fish. I always knew they were there, but just couldn’t see them.

My kids and grandkids were at the house the other day, and my oldest son Brandon brought a snorkel mask. We had a great time in the river that day.

I came home from the YMCA the other day and the temperature was 109. I got into my swimsuit, grabbed the facemask and headed for the river.

I got in, put the facemask on and went for a swim. When I looked under the water with the facemask, I was immediately struck by the amount of life in the river. Fish were all around me, crayfish wandering on the bottom.

The river was full of life.

Photo by Beverly Nguyen on Unsplash

I was struck by the fact that when I would sit on the bank of the river I couldn’t see much. But once I dove in, looked beneath surface, I was surrounded by life.

Then God said, “That is the way life is. So often people sit on the bank of life and complain that I am not doing anything, or worse, I don’t exist. All they have to do is get in the river of life, take a look around and see everything that is going on.”

A couple of thousand years ago, when talking of the things of God, a guy named Paul said, “We see through a glass darkly”.

Much in the same way we cannot see beneath the surface of a river. The fact that we cannot see all the life in a river while we sit on the bank does not mean it isn’t there.

My thoughts turned toward the YMCA.

Now I am not going to say that all Ys are this way, I can only speak to the Y where I live.

When people come in, or drive by, they can see we have a gym; it is a place where they could work out, they could even go swimming. What they cannot see is all the other things that are going on. In a way, they look at our Y much the same as I had been looking at the river by my house.

It is only when a person takes the time to look under the surface of our Y that they get a chance to see the life going on in our YMCA.

People are healed from depression and anxiety.
Kids at risk for hunger are fed, every day.
Kids heal from abuse through swim lessons.
Homeless people get help.

People get a glimpse of God in a place that they would not expect to find it.

I love our YMCA. It is a good place.

A place where the hurt find healing and the hopeless find hope.