This song resonates with me for a number of reasons.
Just Around The Riverbend is about someone going on a journey that doesn’t make sense to people around her. Pocahontas has to make intentional choices to stay on course, despite temptations to give in to what makes most sense according to her surroundings, and especially the people she loves. | “But people I guess can’t live like that, we all must pay a price. To be safe we lose our chance of ever knowing…what’s around the riverbend.”
I mean, the girl is being pressured to marry. I’m not saying this is my exact circumstance at the moment–but in my case, Kocuum represents a number of life choices I could have made in the recent past. These choices would certainly have led me to safe, more predictable shores, but I would always be wondering if I hadn’t missed out on something important.| “Can I ignore that sound of distant drumming–for a handsome sturdy husband who builds handsome sturdy walls, and never dreams that something might be coming?”
Pocahontas sings about the changing, rollercoaster nature of the river. In the organization that I work in, we talk about God’s movement being like a river. I think this helps capture how dynamic rivers are–how they rage and burst and roll. | “He wants me to be steady, like the river. But it’s not steady at all.”
And the whole song just bursts with excitement about what’s coming for her, not knowing what she will meet around the riverbend, but wanting to face all the glorious possibilities. I’ve been feeling that way a lot lately. | “I look once more, just around the riverbend. Beyond the shore, where the gulls fly free. Don’t know what for, what I dream the day might send just around the riverbend, coming for me.”
The last few lines get me every time. She has to make a choice, like I did, to stay on this river. I have to choose the course God calls me to–to lead, to start new things, to genuinely walk with people, to stand before a crowd when I can hear my heart beating in my ears. Sometimes I make the choice again, on certain days. | “Should I choose the smoothest course, steady as the beating drum? Should I marry Kocuum, is all my dreaming at an end?”
In the end, she acknowledges that her dreams come from the Dream-Giver, and this is what I find most beautiful. Her dreams are not entirely her own. My dreams of making a difference for God, for engaging in new possibilities–these are His dreams planted in my heart, and I can trust that He who began a good work in me will carry it to completion. It’s that invitation to continue to step out in faith. |“Or do You still wait for me, Dream-Giver, just around the riverbend?”
I’m not saying it’s not terrifying sometimes.
But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.