My rafting trip last week was pretty phenomenal. Being out in the woods, completely disconnected from all technology (cameras excluded), and spending time with pretty awesome people will do a lot to both put things in perspective and challenge yourself. It was my first time away from Cassy overnight since Jonah was born and we both had some challenges over the course of the trip, but overall it was a great first rafting trip.
That first day, in particular, was amazing. I spent it all on my kayak aside from getting thrown on the second to last rapid, and absolutely loved the freedom that came with it. When we weren’t going through white water I was able to just sit and be a part of my surroundings, taking in the trees, birds, mountain sides, and fresh woods smells. It was a kind of peace that I haven’t had in quite a while, and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience it had it not been for one of my best friends in the world and his family. I had time to sit and talk to my boys, time to pray, but the time I took to just stop thinking and experience this life was incredible. Simply put, it was exactly what I needed. Having people around me who were comfortable with who they are and watching the kind of friendship that only comes with a lifetime of experiences together really had a huge impact, and it’s something I want to continue to develop in my own life. One of the surprises, though, was something a guide said that gave food for thought.
When talking about guiding on the river and working through the challenging parts, he said “You can either fight the river or dance with it”. I spent the next few days thinking about how that image fits so perfectly with the things we all deal with in our lives and especially the things Cassy and I have been through the last couple of years. In life and death, in times of triumph and defeat, we have two choices – search out the beauty or be swallowed by the current. I’d never have the perspective I do today if it weren’t for Jonah, and I’ll be forever grateful for the lessons I’m learning as we adjust to life without him.
All around us are people who are experiencing the hardest times of their lives. As these days come, keep two things in mind; first, everything is temporary. Dark times come without warning but you have the opportunity to flow along with it, watching the water churn as you go. Second, you’re stronger than you know. Only days like these can bring out the type of resolve you’ll need to step forward into the light. One day you’ll look back and realize that you went to hell and came back, and that lesson is one you wouldn’t have had were it not for the people you lost. The stars are brightest in the still of night, but the music is there if you listen.
Learning to dance with it is about experiencing the full spectrum of your grief, not just the pain that comes with loss. Take that first step and see where the rhythm takes you