Prepare now for the unexpected disaster, rock the boat yourself if you have to.
A real life boat rocker
My family and I went to Pinecove Family Camp several summers ago.
At one point all the teenagers went for a canoe trip. We adults stood on the dock roaring with laughter as one after another, a cantankerous passenger in each canoe would rise to his feet straddle the seat and rock their weight from side to side. Instantly everyone else would scream with anxiety and anticipation that they would soon be in the lake.
One particular group in a red canoe seemed to be the classic collection of misfits. They fortunately did not have a class clown aboard with the intent to tip them all. But unfortunately their very nature made them somewhat awkward and clumsy. As a result, their every move, their attempt to change paddles, to swap life jackets, even to get more comfortable in their seat put them in grave danger of submersion.
Another canoe was chock full of teenage boys. You know the type-young, athletic, obnoxious, but so cute about it that even the victims of their mischief generally laughed along. These boys had their eyes set on a canoe full of cute girls as they set out.
The boys paddled swiftly through the water to catch them. Try as they might the girls were no match for these studs and were quickly overcome.
First, the boys tried using their oars to upset the girls’ canoe. When that failed, they tried ramming them and running them aground. As the campaign went on, the boys might have realized the futility of their endeavor or even the risk of their own demise, but that did not deter them.
In a bold and courageous move, with all abandon, as if the very survival of their pride counted on it, one boy stood, tightened his life jacket, beating his chest with a thunderous roar that would have impressed Tarzan himself, he leapt from his canoe with the determination of a soldier falling on a grenade. Reaching with both hands, he cannon-balled into the lake grasping for the side of the girls’ canoe on his way under.
There were screams! There were cheers! There was laughter!
We laughed at the escapade. We cheered his determination and his efforts. The girls screamed. Well, because they are girls and that is what girls do.
Eventually everyone’s boat gets rocked
Most people react in one of four ways. How will you react when it happens to you?
You can sink and drown
Your family is struck by a drunk driver. You are the sole survivor so you give up on life, abandon all your friends, blame yourself and live out your tortured days until the bitter end.
You can swim or at least tread water
Admitting that life can never be the same again, you keep plugging away and manage to keep going in the face of all the pain – You Survive.
You can surf
You get on top of the calamity. You make lemonade from lemons. You take the opportunity to try something new, like a fresh start at relationships, careers, and education.
You walk on water
You wake up to find that the unimaginable, the very worst, most despicable, unexpected, hurtful, painful thing you could ever fathom just blind sided you like a rogue freight train crashing through your living room. But, you also realize that even here there is reason for hope. All the world has not conspired to destroy you. You can start over. “Like the 6 million dollar man. We have the technology, we can rebuild him.”
Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for The Soul books, says “E+R=O. For every event you have an opportunity to respond. How you respond is your choice, but it determines the final outcome.”
When the brave, determined teenaged boy leapt into the water, he had no way to predict the wit and quick response of the girls in the canoe. While one used her oar to wisely reposition the canoe out of his reach, the others leaned quickly the opposite way to counter his weight and momentum. They all got splashed, but only the boy went in the drink.