Monday, September 23, 2013

Lessons, courtesy of the Ocoee River

The first time I was terrified.

The second time, a bit more at ease, still apprehensive.

This third time, oh, I'm a pro.

That is exactly the attitude I had on our annual whitewater rafting trip last weekend.

Here's the background (the serious):

5 years ago, I decided to (1) find myself and (2) enjoy my life. I began to do activities that, previously, I would never even thought of doing. Growing up, we didn't go swimming during the summers. Both of my kids go swimming every summer, both proficient swimmers. I even signed up for lessons a few years ago.

Finding myself has been a journey.

You basically have to strip down naked and face certain things, emotions head on. I had seen the alternative within my own family. Drugs. Alcohol. Multiple sex partners. Abuse.

I wasn't having any of that. So, with that decision, the journey began. I learned how to go places alone, how to do things alone. Terrifying? Yes. Necessary? Yes. Was it painful? At times, yes. But God tells us that "in this world, we will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world" For me, holding onto His words were key. Plenty of times, I didn't want to do what He was telling me to do. But, in the long run, of course I knew He was right! I mean, who's gonna doubt God?

I joined groups, I volunteered, I started a local single parenting group. I traveled. Alone. My parents wondered what the heck I was doing. You see, this was all new for them. New because neither of them had done the things I was doing. New because they had never seen this behavior from me.

What does this have to do with a whitewater rafting trip (the funny):

So, everything I talked about above, it all flashed before my eyes (saying this in my most dramatic voice) as I was tossed into the Ocoee River!

It happened so fast. I honestly thought I was still in the raft. Our daring guide purposely put us in a position where we would have to fight the rapids. The raft was filled with so much water that it took me a while to figure out that I was in the river.

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Who looks scared?
Once that realization hit, OH  BOY!!

Looking back on it, I probably made a big deal out of nothing. A molehill into a mountain. Now, recall above where I said I learned to swim only a few years ago. Let that sink in. So, going from a pool to a river. I'll take my mountain now.

Still looking back, as I sit here on dry land (again, dramatic tone), the guide ruffled my feathers. He took me from my comfort zone, from what I knew because, remember, this was my third time.

Now, I'm floating in the Ocoee River, big rocks, tree limbs and branches (think about things that happen in life that we have no control over). There I am, floating. Panicking at first. Kicking. Even screaming a bit. But wait...

What were those words? Yes, the safety instructions (I'm a believer, so for me, that is the Word of God) given at the beginning. Yes, yes, I remember now (comes from meditating, praying, confessing). Keep floating, feet up, a guide is making his way to you, to pull you up (that's what He'll do, keep me safe and give me strength to pull me up). Hmmm...

Now, how about my wonderful husband and son did not even realize I was gone from the raft! MonkeyMan explained it, trying to keep a straight face, that they were battling the rapid, trying to keep the raft from flipping over. Realizing that one of the boat mates lost his paddle, they glanced downstream and saw my pink swim shoes sticking out of the water.

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Yes, the infamous pink shoes

Once rescued (I have to laugh as I type this), I couldn't help but laugh. As I walked back onto our raft,the first things handed to me were my shoes! They floated right off while I floated right on down the river. It was exhilarating to have been dumped in a river, following directions, being saved, and to have a feeling of accomplishment.

Ready for next year's trip, gotta get some shoes that fit better!

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  1. ha ha! What a great story! I want to give it a try. :)

    1. C.B.
      you definitely have to try it! It's so much fun, even if you get tossed out.

  2. ha ha! What a great story! I want to give it a try. :)

  3. Oh, Tiffany, your story is both inspirational and funny - I am so glad you made it out intact!!!

    1. Thanks, Terri.
      I was terrified once I realized where I was. The water was really moving me downstream fast! But, once I got over my initial panic, it was actually fun.

  4. Tiffany, Your story is wonderful! Not only did you conquer your fears, but you did a fabulous telling your story! You have gift! I will look forward to more of your stories...they're inspirational and more! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Jodee!
      Thank you, I would always worry about being tossed out. I would always see other people fall in, never imagining that would soon be me! So glad you stopped by!

  5. What a great story! And way to go on conquering your fears!!

    1. Thanks, it was so much fun, ready for next year's trip!

  6. How exciting! I hope they love it! I was ready to go again when it was all over, believe it or not! i am intereted in ocoee river rafting - See more at: ocoee river rafting