Upstream Run

I wrote the following story to honor the memory of my friend Les Wenger. It is not about him, although you who knew him may see aspects of him in it. I just wanted to write something that I thought Les would have liked reading. Among his many attributes, he was a consummate trout fisherman and mentored many a greenhorn on the streams near Beaver Lake – me among them.  His life was a living testimony to the goodness and glory of God.  I can imagine him reading this as I tell him:   Les, I miss you. This one is for you. It was my privilege to have known you and an honor that you called me “friend”.


There are many kinds of streams in the created universe. This story takes place in the one that you alone can imagine.



Once he began his turn upstream, something in him knew there was no going back even if he wanted to, which he did not. Mid-turn, his sleek, muscular sides flashed a golden reflection of the light-giver through the crystal-clearness around him. He tired of going with the flow of these lower currents. The stream was too warm here. He preferred the crisp coldness farther upstream, nearer the mysterious Source – the place where the memories of the ages told him the Great One lived. Glorious of Reputation, not one of his kind had seen that great, enigmatic being since ancient times. Did He still exist? Legends had been repeated that a very few ancestors had seen and even spoken with the Supreme One. Ancestral memory also told him that The Source was difficult to reach this late in the season, if reachable at all. In fact he had never gotten near that elusive, distant place yet he knew it existed and that it was upstream. He thought he even sensed its existence as a puzzling tingle in his flanks, an evasive flavor that might just be coming from His mysterious dwelling. In that moment he resolved to attempt finding The Glorious One. This was his time. He sensed the fullness in his purpose. Thinking about it made all his colors shimmer.

Alert eyes glancing every direction, as they had done for many seasons, he didn’t miss even the tiniest movement, nor the faintest bit of color in his surroundings. He surged strongly through the swift currents and took advantage of the deep, calmer eddies where he briefly rested. With precise movements, he never failed to convey a bright greeting when he passed others. His pinks, blues, and silvers flashed and shone. He was ready, as well, with a message of warning to the wicked things lurking about. A magnificent creature, he was big and wise and, being ancient of his kind, he was confident of his abilities.

Eager to proceed, he nevertheless stopped to protect the youngers and help them find safe food and places to hide. Though strong, he gently nudged and guided them, for he had once been small, and he knew. He had never forgotten how he had made a mistake as a younger and had been roughly pulled from the stream by a frighteningly powerful unseen entity. It was only after vigorous, desperate thrashing about and a measure of good fortune that he was able to regain the stream. In paralyzing fear, he had hidden and sulked for many measures of time after that incident. As he left the group of youngers, they wiggled and flashed their sides in thanks and farewells to their Elder.

His inborn purpose was always carried out just as it should be done, yet he had an inner void, something unfinished. Even still, he was becoming more. More conscious, more unique, more the epitome of his kind as he slipped through strong, changing currents. His senses caught the taste again. The mysterious thing he followed was not the scent of food, nor a colorful current, but rather a pathway. A pathway of purity. A microcurrent of something that was clearer than crystal-clear; cleaner, shinier, colder and more perfect than all the currents it ran through. Perfect purity. Pure perfection. It was delicious! He wanted to jump with the joy of finding it, but he quickly decided to save his energy.

With renewed longing, he raced upstream, the pure taste and fragrance of what very well might be the Source becoming increasingly stronger. For many lengths of time, he drove himself onward and upward until he detected a disturbance in the tiny perfect current. Some sort of pollution lay ahead. Maybe turbulence. Yes, a large side stream was joining his home stream and it was dirty. Surely the Source wasn’t that way.

The turbulence was increasing quickly. Should he rest before the exertion ahead? No, the big creature felt strong. But he was faced with another critical decision. He began a wide, sweeping, circle maneuver. There would be only one chance. It was written deep within him in the language of ancestral memory that he would need to make a choice when the time came, for best or worst . He also knew that it was written within himself to make the right choice when it was necessary. He would follow the more familiar currents as much as he could. Stay to the right, instinct said. It was time. His circle was closed and it threw him into the turbulence. He shot with determination into the chaos, then strained to keep to the right. The current was vicious. He even had to resort to jumping above the havoc of the combined raging streams to make faster progress upward. Several times he was bashed against hard places in the rapidly-dropping stream, but he had to ignore that. Concentrate, instinct told him, struggle on, and he thought he caught the glorious scent once, twice, and then again.

Suddenly, he was out of the turbulence. When he slowed down he felt the pain. All along his sides, he was damaged and broken. He scanned the area for possible danger, detecting none. Finding a deep eddy, he rested and fed. He rubbed his hurts gently against the softer things in the stream. But the vein of purity was gone. It was dark. Then he simply stopped knowing anything.

It was light when he came back to himself. His eyes slowly adjusted. He began to go upstream. Still no pathway. Surely he hadn’t chosen wrongly. He kept going, thinking of ancestors, memories inside, instincts. Trust what you know. Be true. After much healing and the passage of many measures of time, he tasted the distinctive, indescribable scent of his Desired. He moved faster, elated, strength returning. It was like finding a new food, better food than he had ever known. His colors brightened. The microcurrent of purity grew steadily again. When he glanced backward, he could see himself glowing with new, deeper colors. His pinks, silvers,and blues were joined by reds, purples, greens, oranges, and yellows. Faster. What will it be like? Is He there? What will He think of me if I find Him?

Watch out! Suddenly the stream no longer covered him and he had to squirm and wiggle through hard places. There was scarcely enough stream to move in, for it had split into many smaller streams. He felt the pain of his scars again. This was wrong! He needed to be covered by the stream!  He flopped onto his side in exhaustion.  This was the end –  he had nothing left.

Come to me.  Finish your run.  Come, Beloved…….

Wonderful words of strength spoke to his spirit.  His whole being tensed.  He was so close.  He began to thrash, remembering youthful desperation.  He came to the end of himself and, out of that, arose a great lunge.  Then, just as suddenly as the stream had split, he was in a deep place. It was more than deep, it was bottomless and deep blue. The purity surrounded him! He slowly circled in rapt wonder. Crystal clear – no, clearer – like streams of sparkling light! Cleaner than the cleanest! Deliciously cold! The currents came from below, welled up, and overflowed here. This had to be The Source! He looked back and saw perfect colors radiating from his sides. He was being glorified! He felt the change. Different. New. Pure. Perfection of his kind. This was Life as he had never known life!

And then he knew the Wonderful Truth he had sought as he felt the powerful and gentle hands of the Great One wrap around his muscular body and lift him up. Though it felt very strange, he remained still and was not afraid but overcome with joy. And the joy became a current of music and dancing in his spirit. And his spirit was in the Life of a greater spirit, and in that new Life was a clear-crystal whisper.

Well done! I’m very proud of you, and fond, my Beautiful One.

I have prepared a special stream just for you, just off the main stream.

Fed by My Source.

Its eddies are filled with abundance.

Its currents will always be pleasing.

You will not be alone, for there are many others in the main stream who have sought and found me.

And I will always be near.  We will explore and talk endlessly.

For I have known of you even before I made the first stream begin to flow.

And before I breathed life into you.

What a Joy you are, Beloved!

Ahhh, here we are. This branch of The Stream of Never-Ceasing Life is yours forever.

My dear friend, you are, indeed, a keeper!


Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made (Isaiah 43:6-7).  

But from there you will search again for the LORD your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.  (Deut. 4:29)

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” (Psalm 27:8)

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

(Psalm 63:1)

Copyright © by Len Gloryteller  3-18-2011  All rights reserved

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cindee Snider Re
    May 19, 2011 @ 11:14:36

    Wow! What a beautiful, gripping tribute to your friend. Your friends (who encouraged you to blog/publish) were right, these words need to be shared with the world. May God use them powerfully for His glory!


    • gloryteller
      May 19, 2011 @ 13:11:00

      Coming from one as eloquent as you, Cindee, that is a special compliment!
      You have reiterated my hopes that my writing might influence one or more people for His great glory.
      Thank you for your kind encouragement and your good wishes.
      In Christ,

  2. Laura
    May 16, 2011 @ 16:20:05

    Just beautiful, Len.


    • gloryteller
      May 17, 2011 @ 22:40:51

      It means a great deal to me that you read this story and liked it. Your empathy lifts me up as well. To have accomplished writers giving me encouragement is just the thing I need. Our Lord is so good to me (us) it becomes difficult to express sometimes. All I can say is “Thank You, Lord, I humbly thank You.” And thank you, Laura. 😀
      By the way, nice remodeling job at your “house”. Everyone, please click Laura’s link. Her site and her writing is bright!

  3. journeytoepiphany
    May 15, 2011 @ 21:07:30

    So sweet of you to honor the memory of one dear to you in this way…


  4. Carol Ann Hoel
    May 12, 2011 @ 17:15:21

    Beautiful, Len. I am captivated by the purpose-driven journey described in this allegorical tale. Thank you for sharing. Blessings to you…


  5. loopyloo305
    May 12, 2011 @ 16:04:02



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