A few months ago, in an effort to branch out and make new friends (which is a lot harder in adulthood than is fair), I joined a local hiking and outdoor group. I've been to a few classes they've led and a local hike and enjoyed the people. Over a month ago I decided to sign up for a river kayaking trip that took place last Sunday. I own a kayak but have only taken it out on lakes. I'd never done kayaking on a river, especially one with a few rapids. If you know anything about rapids, these were only class 2 rapids that were intensified a little by the extreme rain the previous day's storms had brought to the area.
About ten feet from where we got into the river, we hit our first little area of rapids. They'd educated us before to say that when going through the rapids you need to keep paddling. Otherwise the flow of water would turn your boat around backwards, which is very disconcerting. I know because my boat did this in the first rapids. I wasn't expecting the rapids to come so quickly and so I just stopped paddling and was going to ride it through and suddenly found myself facing everyone still on the shore behind me. I was embarrassed and was determined not to lose control of my boat again. I was in control! I knew what I was doing! The first hour of our trip down the river, I would enter each rapid paddling fiercely. I was in control! I was also getting exhausting and I realized that the harder that I fought, the more the water was taking me where it wanted. I had to develop a balance of paddling to stay facing forward in my boat and learning to go with the flow of the water. When I worked with the water it was much easier than trying to fight it.
My life has felt a little like it's been going through rapids lately. I've been approaching much of the rapids by being determined to stay in control. If I just work hard enough, plan hard enough, I can stay in control. Life is a lot like rapids though, the harder we fight, the more exhausted we become. We have to find the perfect blend of going with the flow and working to keep ourselves moving in the right direction. It's difficult, but really...life is difficult sometimes. Nothing we do can change that. We just have to learn how to best go with the flow.