A few weeks ago I was rafting on the Deschutes River in central Oregon with about 30 Veterans from OIF/OEF sponsored by Northwest Outward Bound. Not only did I have a great time, I learned a few things along the river. I didn’t think I’d learn anything, but I came away with a few tidbits I think some will like
You can go through life like some people just going along at your own speed and really not take in the wonderful life around you. You can go through life and let the past keep you in dark places and never fully seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. You can go through life and just curl up and not experience life as it should. However, if you let the river flow your life can become something that is worth experiencing over and over again.
The river itself is a lot like life. Upriver can be looked at like your past. It’s upriver. You’re not in it at this point in time or place. The water upriver hasn’t touched you, nor will it. On the river, meaning where you are right now, is your present. The water is all around you waiting to take you to a new place. Downriver is your future. This is the place where you will be in the future, maybe not right away, but soon enough.
So now you are looking at the river in a new light. Imagine if you will being able to toss the crap of your past into the river where it sinks to the bottom, never leaving that space admidst the mud and rocks on the bottom of the river. Take something that will sink. This represents all of that crap that you’ve been holding onto. What you’ve seen and done that keeps you in that dark place, and you just toss it into the river and listen as in plots into the water. You can hear it enter the water and you know it sinks. Now it’s gone. You don’t have to hold onto it anymore.
Imagine holding onto something that will float. This is your hopes, dreams, and wishes for your future. You throw that into the river, but this doesn’t sink. It floats down stream away from your present. But it isn’t gone forever. It’s waiting for you downriver, waiting for you to come and claim it for yourself. It will be there when you are ready to go down river to pick it up, you just have to be willing to go.
The river is a great metaphor for life. Sadly not everyone can experience the river for 6 days and nights. But if you’re a Veteran of OIF/OEF you can!
It is one of my hopes that all Veteran’s of OIF/OEF will be able to Let The River Flow.