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Peace Like a River

Soon after we published our June 2017 issue, we received an email from Lynette Thompson, “A few weeks ago Patty Mondore wrote a beautiful piece on the River for the 'Thousand Islands Sun.'  I can’t remember the particulars…but as I read it, I felt a soothing feeling…that feeling we all know we get when on the River.  I wish I had kept the article.  Anyways, I think it’s one of the best articles by Patty and I would love to see it featured online…if possible."

What a wonderful suggestion Lynette. We asked Patty and here it is!  

I am sitting here, in my favorite spot in the world, at possibly my favorite time of day taking in an almost incalculable collection of my favorite things!

I love our place on the River at every moment of the day, but there is something extra special about sitting on the deck after the sun has dropped out of sight. I am guessing almost everyone reading this knows exactly what I am talking about. There is a mystical peacefulness that sets in even as the post-sunset glow slowly fades away, that can’t be compared with anything else on this earth. The water is calm and allows one to take in the lovely scene in stereo on its perfectly reflective surface. Almost as if on cue, the nocturnal creatures slowly begin their evening serenade. The crickets, tree frogs and other performers on shore are often joined by the cry of a loon, or squawk of a heron heading home at the end of her fishing trip. Just about the only thing that will eventually drag me off of the bench is just enough mosquito bites to call it a night. That, and the hope that another equally glorious visual feast and concert will begin again tomorrow evening.

My husband and I had the opportunity to spend our recent wedding anniversary in Florida. I am guessing it is partly due to all of that river rat blood flowing through our veins that we opted for a hotel on the Intracoastal Waterway rather than on the ocean. With a room that overlooked the water, we spent much of our time sitting on the balcony overlooking the water watching boats go by (and wondering if we had seen any of them on the River).

Mondore peace photo

Once again, I found that my favorite time of day was just after sunset. All of the homes and buildings across the channel were lit up, and their reflections in the water made for a mirror of twinkling lights. The docks all along the Waterway were also lit up like strings of pearly lights whose reflections danced on the water’s surface. Even the boats that meandered down the channel were bedecked with light and added to the festive light show. It was a lovely place to escape to for a few days.

But! As much as we loved our time in Florida, there by the water, truth be told, it wasn’t long before we started to miss our camp on the river. This was lovely (we’ll probably even go back some day – maybe mid-Winter), but it just wasn’t our River. I was reminded of my favorite baseball cap that says, “Only One River” (I actually wore it in Florida). It also made me realize once again that there really is nothing else on earth that quite compares to the wonder, the beauty, and the peace of our River. As I sat on the bench this evening, the words of an old familiar hymn* came to mind:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul.

One might be inclined to think that Mr. Spafford had a place on the River from where he penned those powerful words. Indeed, many a night sitting on my post-sunset bench, these words, “It is well with my soul”, have come to mind. But the story behind Spafford’s timeless lyrics is quite the opposite of those written, while taking in a River sunset. He had gone through a devastating financial loss, and the deaths of several family members due to a tragic accident. If interested in the whole story, I encourage you to look it up: “It Is Well With My Soul, The Song And The Story”

Mr. Spafford was going through a time of incredible personal loss and heartache. Yet, in his time of deepest grief and sorrow, he was able to find that place of perfect peace – not on a bench, but in the tender love of his heavenly father. Interestingly, he was at sea in a ship crossing the ocean at the time he wrote these words which for over a hundred years have become a source of great comfort and hope to countless others, myself included. However, it was much more than just the tragic events in his life that led Mr. Spafford to write this beautiful song. It was the hope he found in these precious words that not only inspired him to write the song, but that made it a song which has brought hope to countless lives ever since: “Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea” (Isaiah 48:18).

Fort Lauderdale and the Intracoastal Waterway were great! In fact, we hope to go back to that same place sometime when camp is closed for the season. But for me it is simply not a substitute for our River. And our river, as marvelous as it is, is but a taste of yet another river – an eternal river** – that awaits us. I hope I can have a bench!

Posted in: Places, Nature
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Comment by: Bobby
Left at: 6:45 PM Sunday, July 16, 2017
Well written. Leave out the religiosity at the end and this is a good read.
Jim Webster
Comment by: Jim Webster
Left at: 5:30 AM Monday, July 17, 2017
"The River Calls, and I must go"
Comment by: Lynette
Left at: 8:56 AM Monday, July 17, 2017
Thank you for printing this article. The picture is beautiful and the article amazing! And Patty is such a gifted writer. She definitely has a way of making you feel a part of her journey.

Thank you again for making this happen! I greatly appreciate your efforts. Have a nice summer.

Georgi Duprey
Comment by: Georgi Duprey
Left at: 6:59 AM Wednesday, July 19, 2017
My husband and I have a cottage on the St. Lawrence and totally understand Patty's love of the river. I tell everyone it is my "Haven of Rest" which, coincidentally, happens to be the title of another hymn. Patty's explaining the history behind the lyrics of that particular hymn isn't religiosity as much as it is passing on knowledge and understanding. Sharing her faith with her readers isn't religiosity either. She is using her talent of eloquent writing to bring a message of hope to those in need. A good read is a good read.
Comment by: Christine
Left at: 12:48 PM Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Enjoyed every word from beginning to end. You can't help but feel the peace Patty is describing.
Kathleen Thomas
Comment by: Kathleen Thomas
Left at: 6:38 AM Thursday, July 20, 2017
I can understand why Lynette asked that you print Patti's story. She is truly gifted in her writing. Her faith is evident and refreshing. It is reflected in her whole view and understanding of our diverse and awe-inspiring natural world. Faith not lived out and expressed is no faith at all. And yes, the River has 'chosen' Patti and her husband, as it 'chose' me and my husband a great many years ago. We are always blessed by her stories, her pictures, and her insights.
Deane Parkhurst
Comment by: Deane Parkhurst
Left at: 6:04 PM Thursday, July 20, 2017
A wonderful story and background to one of my favorite hymns, It is Well With My Soul. There is something magical about The River. I was "infected" early in my life and eight decades later that magic remains. I find it is contagious. Three years ago a young women, born in the mid west, came to the St. Lawrence for the first time. This young woman, my daughter in law, has been back twice since then with more trips already planed for the future. She proudly wears 1000 Island tees, and sweatshirts while living in America's heartland. The River is God's great gift to us all. When I am there all is well with my soul, indeed.
Beth D.
Comment by: Beth D.
Left at: 9:51 PM Saturday, July 22, 2017
I know Patty well. She has the most genuine heart and sweetest spirit you could ever ask for. I'm glad that so many people on the river have the privilege to know her family and faith through her writings.