Rivers Are a Part of Me


Once, while in college, when the bitter cold wind, blowing snow off building roofs, trees, and roads like white dust, kept me trapped inside with only the dreaded thought of homework to occupy my mind, I browsed the internet in search some family history and in the process discovered the origin my family name.

Isham is an English name that is really a combination of two words. “Is” comes from the name of the River Ise, its location in England is still unclear to me. The second part, “ham,” is an abbreviation of the word hamlet, also known as a small cottage. So my last name basically means a cottage, or hamlet, on or by the River Ise.

What struck me as interesting about this is that from the time I was little, I have had a personal love and fascination of rivers. I prefer fishing rivers and streams rather than lakes. Between living near a river versus living on a lake, I’d probably choose the river. Some of my fondest and most memorable childhood experiences are woven in and around rivers and creeks. And one of my favorite movies of all time is strongly linked to rivers.

Although I can find a still mountain lake peaceful and relaxing, it is near rivers that I find a more complete refreshing of spirit, a quickening of my soul, a coming alive deep within my heart. It is among rivers–cold mountain water crashing over rocks and boulders, cascading into deep pools, bouncing over stones, and carving it’s way through canyons–that I get a deeper sense of peace, knowing everything is going to be OK.

So is it any coincidence that my family name is so closely linked to that which has often been an integral part of my life? Or was this planned by God long before the foundations of the earth? I lean towards the later.


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