I found myself with a strange fascination for a piece of music, a very simple song that is hardly taken seriously by most people as a piece of music worthy of much consideration, and yet, it seemed to possess me and call to me to give it my attention, as if there was something it wanted me to hear, and to learn. This song kept coming into my head at random times for a number of weeks.
One day I was sitting with my guitar out in the woods, by the side of a stream where I liked to visit and practice, and the music to the child’s nursery song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” began once again playing in my head. As I thought about the words to the song, I began to play the song on my guitar, and feeling into the music, and it took a new kind of shape in my mind and emotions. The music revealed a new kind of significance to the simple words of the song, and I realized that these simple words and melody contained a deeper level of meaning about life itself, all the more profound for wearing the deceptive guise of a children’s “nursery” rhyme.
“Row row row your boat, gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily merrily merrily, life is but a dream........ “
Yes, in the midst of the busy, turbulent world in which we live, and in which we grew up and left our childhood with its simple and yet profound grasp of what is truly important in life for the worries and troubles of the “real world”, here, it seemed, was a message, a reminder, of a deeper truth, and a consoling message of peace for anyone taking the time to listen. Life can be, perhaps should be, a gentle voyage, one that can be taken merrily, with the simple enjoyment of a child, as long as we do not take it more seriously than it deserves, as long as we do not forget that we are only here for a little while.
From a vaster perspective, will not this life someday be seen to be nothing but a dream? Would our lives not be greatly enhanced by remembering the temporary nature of this earthly excursion, especially in the midst of the daily struggles upon which we seem compelled to add endless layers of concern, drama, and even tragedy? Would this not help us, in the words of a popular author “not to sweat the small stuff, because it’s all small stuff”?