Let's start off with an admission that the family float trip three weeks ago does not paint the same picture of float trips from twenty years ago with a group of friends.
This was a one day trip planned at the last minute in an effort to enjoy life as a foursome before my son flew off to college.
This was quite possibly the most frustrating trips of all times. From leaving late and running into detours that took us beyond God's country down pot-holed rock roads that slowed us down to twenty miles an hour, to snakes, this trip goes in the books.
But every frustration has a lesson. Romans 5:3-4 teaches us:
.... we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;and perseverance, character;and character, hope
1. God Gave You Gifts, Use 'Em
While I tend to be a 'pick yourself up by your bootstraps' kind of gal, I also believe that things never just work themselves out. Things happen for 2 reasons: 1) because God wills it, and 2) because he gives us the gifts to carry out his will. Not because he needs us to, but because he rejoices when we seek and live out his will in love, service and honor, giving glory to him.
Despite all of the rain we have received, this river was low. We RARELY floated along in our tubes for more than twenty minutes at a time. No sooner than we could feel the sun warming our face, we'd have to hurl ourselves out of our tubes and drag them behind us for a quarter of a mile. More than once, my kids said they felt like we were survivors of some river boat crash in the wild. I had to remind them boat crash survivors did not have Powerades and gourmet bologna sandwiches.
But I got their point. It was hot and humid. It poured buckets on us on several occasions, we encountered snakes and angry birds and rocks in our shoes. But we each had our gifts and used them to make the best of the situation. By the end of the trip, we were laughing, checking out our tans and snapchatting friends of our adventures.
2. Know Who "Gets You" During Troubled Times
My son and I are very much alike - hot headed. We go from 0-60 like a Rimac 1 Concept car that has a record of 2.1 seconds.
After getting stuck for the MILLIONTH time, picking up the tube and walking a quarter mile with rocks in his shoes, AND after getting rained on for the third time, my son had enough. Angry was an understatement. He proceeded with a chest-beating frenzy I know well.
In swoops mom to the rescue. 'Cause I get it. I get him. I suffer (read:appreciate) life with the same kind of passion. Without eye contact or feeding the animal, I rescued the tube, chucked like a discus, down the river, caught back up to him and said, "good?" To which I got a nod. I get it.
Had my husband been with him at the time, lit would have been handled differently. And the results would have been different as well.
But my son and I are connected at the hot-temper node in the brain (it's science). We GET each other. I knew how to handle it and life went on. I also witnessed the beauty of prayer. As I walked along with both tubes in tow, I prayed peace over him. And as with those who feel life with such outward enthusiasm, the physical evidence in the calm washing over him in record time was equally beautiful. I saw growth and maturity as he processed the event that I hadn't seen before.
I also witnessed my beautiful daughter taking life one second at a time. The pace didn't bother her a bit. Getting stuck didn't phase her. Even when she got stuck in a tree and grabbed a snake rather than a branch, her temperament crawled to a whopping three and a half for about a minute before dropping back down to a soothing one point aaahhhhhh. Her precious spirit and easy-going manner added to the joy of being together. She is a rock solid presence in my life.
3. Take Advantage of the Nothing and Ride the Waves (even if only tiny ripples)
While we were together for much of the trip, we also had times of solitude. I used that time to pray and give thanks. I've learned to slow down. I do more front porch sittin', take advantage of long drives at sunset, and sleep in more. When I was on the river and and had the opportunity to simply coast, I didn't fill it with imaginary drama - I settled in my tube and rested. And, if I saw rapids (in this case a few bubbles over a rocky bottom), I rode the waves and had fun. I didn't curse them, I saw them. We learned to listen and recognize its sound so I could prepare. And when they came, I rode 'em like a rollercoaster.
Did you take a float trip this summer? What memories do you recall from your trip? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
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