Oh the river is wise
The river it touches my life like the waves on the sand.
And all roads lead to Tranquility Base
Where the frown on my face disappears…
Take me down to my boat on the river
And I won’t cry out anymore. -Tommy Shaw (Styx)
I’ve been a fan of the band Styx since their debut album, Equinox, was released in 1979. The band, that originated from Chicago, Illinois, made frequent stops to my hometown of Evansville, Indiana. My first Styx concert was shortly after the album, Cornerstone, was released. But by then, I had all their albums and was a groupie, even at the age of thirteen, though it was mostly from the safety of my bedroom…lol.
I’ve lost track of how many concerts I attended of theirs over the years. When they broke up, I followed Tommy Shaw. To me, he was the real talent, the glue that held the group together. Once I started paying attention to who wrote which song and sang lead on it, I realized I was more of a Tommy Shaw fan than of Styx as a whole.
The song, Boat on The River, was a single released off Cornerstone. It quickly became my favorite Styx song and remains so today. There is something quite peaceful in the simple lyrics, the music, and the way Tommy delivers them.
I was thinking about this song as I was reading the words of Revelation 22:1-2.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
Water has been treasured throughout of man’s time. We need water to survive. Water has the power to bring life and to take it. Water can quench your thirst; it can wash away the day’s sweat. Water can soothe and it’s powerful enough to erode rocks and move land.
To me, that image of God’s throne, with the water flowing from it and the tree of life, is one of serenity. I can imagine being there, after the trials of life are behind me and spending the rest of my days by the calm and cool waters. Tranquility base…just like the song says.
There is something about both the song and verse that are quite soothing to me. Sometimes, when I’m in the throes of a particularly bad migraine, I will lay my head in Jim’s lap and he will gently rub my head, especially my temples. In the old days, they called this “pooring”.
Also, I’ve found that running cool water over my neck and back of head often brings relief. Like being at the beach, walking on the hot sand, and then stepping into the ocean. Even it only your feet touch the water, the soothing feeling can affect your whole body.
To me, that’s the way God’s word it. Whether it’s an issue of my heart, my head or my soul, his word flows over me like that cool water, like a balm that soothes and heals. In Psalms 107:20, it reads, “God sent his word and it healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.”
The song ends with the words, “And I won’t cry out anymore.” I can see myself in a boat that is being tossed about on the waves of life and coming to the point on the river when it calms down and everything is peaceful. My prayer for you today is that no matter where you are on the river, you might “cry out” to God, so that his word might soothe you and bring you peace.