What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

Aug 4, 2016

I am avoiding the kayak this morning. My three days of paddling have caught up with me and I am sore. Yesterday’s outing was challenging. I thought I had paddled to Chapin’s shore the day before but realized on yesterday’s outing that I had not. I had not gone near far enough and the shore I had pulled up to was a long stretch away from his actual location. Once I realized that I also realized how far and how much energy it was going to take to get there. Once I got there his shore presented more of a challenge to get the kayak tethered and to climb up the bank. There was no chair to sit on and I took off my life jacket to use as a cushion. I thought of trying to walk up the steep rise leading up to their house imagining coming out of the woods and surprising Chapin who I could hear hammering in the distance. Upon beginning the trek I realized how treacherous and how ill suited I was for that venture and thought better of it. No one even knew where I was and if I took a tumble and sprained an ankle I would be in big trouble. I sat down again and let my thoughts settle. It seemed that paddling back was going to be a daunting task. Even getting back down to the water was going to present a challenge. I relaxed and gave my situation some thought. It occurred to me that we are faced with similar challenges all through our lives. We find ourselves overwhelmed by what lies ahead. We panic and shut down with the fear that we can not face what we know we have to do. For me it was getting myself back to the shore I had started from. As I said no one even knew where I was so they would not come and get me. Finding ourselves in challenging situations first requires acceptance , coming to terms with the challenge and then beginning to make a plan. I looked the steep bank over carefully trying to see the best way down. I am extremely unsure footed. I don’t seem able to put my foot down unless I am completely sure of the stability of the ground beneath me . I looked for firmly rooted small trees or shrubs to hang on to if I should misjudge my footing. I picked a path and cautiously proceeded. I got to the rocky shore. I freed my kayak and got myself situated on the seat. Something didn’t feel right. I had noticed that the end of the kayak with the plug had been submersed in the water and thought the imbalance I felt might be because it had taken in too much water . I did not want to paddle out and have it tip me into this unfamiliar shoreline. I stood myself back up and proceeded to maneuver the kayak so that I could after taking out the plug, stand it upright and drain the water out. This was somewhat challenging on the cramped and rocky shore. I waited to see the last faint trickle before plugging the hole and getting back in the kayak. I began paddling . The trip back was so much easier. Once rounding the bend I focused on the prize which was in sight. I pulled up onto the shore and started dragging my kayak back along the road. I was startled by the loud sound of the garbage truck and thought briefly how terrible it would be to have made it back only to be hit by a huge truck. My outing yesterday probably didn’t really hold the drama I just afforded it but the lessons it showed me are powerfully real. So this morning I will take a short jaunt and just paddle from the shore to the place I swim. I will give myself a smaller more manageable challenge and get back up on the horse so to speak.


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