Last week I was on a trip with a bunch of women friends and we went river rafting. This is something I do every year, and I am always amazed by how much I love the river and the joy of running rapids and working together with a group to keep the raft upright and not end up in the water.
As I was considering writing this post, it dawned on me that running the river is a great metaphor for life and relationships. This is what I mean by that statement:
Making the choice to go river rafting is not an easy one. You need to be open to new things, you have to like the outdoors and the adventure, and you need to be able to trust yourself and the people you are with. Often when we are going through life, there are people and situations that we are not open to and we don't trust ourselves or them and we choose not to take that ride.
Once you decide go rafting, you need to gear up and learn what you need to do to stay afloat. This means that you don a life jacket, a helmet, and sometimes a wet suit. In life you take on protections in the form of boundaries to keep you safe as you move through life. Then you need an education. In rafting that is learning how to listen to your guide and when to paddle and when to hold on.
Once you begin the journey, there is no way to go but follow the river. Sometimes you float along peacefully and there is not a lot required of you. Sometimes you find rapids that require you to listen to your guide, to do your part to keep the raft on course, and enjoy the feel of the river flowing over you.
Occasionally someone comes out of the raft and if you do, you need to lean back, point your feet downstream and let the river take you until you can be picked up. If someone is in the water, you may need to rescue them. This is accomplished by grabbing their life jacket and falling backward into the raft and pulling them in on top of you! I find in relationships, if you become derailed by something, just moving forward and doing the next indicated thing is often the best advice. Then at some point, you find yourselves grabbing on to each other and ending up on top of each other again. And then you laugh, and breathe, and move on down the river.
So how do you want your life and relationships to flow today?