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Rivers
Rivers
Story

Once upon a time there were two rivers flowing side by side. Both rivers liked to argue about who was the best.

“The water in my river is better than the water in your river!” said one.

“No, the water in my river is better than the water in your river!” said the other.

The two rivers would flow along all day arguing about which river was the best. Both were quite sure they were the greatest.

“Doesn’t my water make a joyful sound as it runs over the smooth, polished pebbles on my bottom? And look at the way the sun reflects off the ripples and eddies that form around the granite boulders at my edge. These things are so beautiful. Surely, I am the best river!” said the first.

The other river replied, “Ah, but look at all the fish that swim in my clear, cool water. And have you heard the frogs singing at night? They live in the reeds and lilies that grow at my banks. I am home to so many wonderful creatures. Surely, I must be the very best river!”

The two continued to argue until, one day, something strange and unexpected happened. The rivers rounded a bend, slid down a small falls, and suddenly saw that they were flowing toward something much bigger and greater than themselves. Up ahead were big, crashing waves, and water everywhere for as far as they could see. They continued to rush, faster and faster, until the water from both rivers churned together into the vast and enormous ocean.

Then a sound came from the sky. It came from a cloud that chuckled for a moment and then said, “Now you see how foolish you have been arguing about who is the best. There is no highest or lowest. There is no greatest or least. All things are one and all are joined together like rivers in the sea.”

About the Author

  • The Rev. Chris Buice is minister of the Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville, Tenn.

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