Thursday, June 11, 2009

River Rafting Pin Ball

It's a little hard to see. The guy on the right is me. The guy on the left is my friend Kip. We just hit a rock. We're in a narrow gully. There is no sandy shore line where one can swim to safety. Only rocks, straight up and straight down. There's a nice sized drop at the end of the rapids.

Yep. We went in. Human pin balls. Guides threw two ropes. Kip grabbed both. I decided to develop a personal relationship with every boulder I could find. As an added bonus a couple of rafts decided to run over the top of me.

Just before that drop at the end of the run my brain clicked in and I managed to wedge myself between a rock and a hard place, awaiting rescue.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the last dump into the river. We managed to hit yet one more rock at the very end of the day. That was right at the top of a waterfall (wasn't huge, but water was indeed falling).

My body was indeed bruised. My ego slightly bent out of shape. But you want to know something? It was really fun. I'm inclined to believe Kip doesn't know his right from his left and he's convinced I'm directionally dysfunctional. Regardless, we tipped. We ran the rapids with our bodies. I'm not complaining. Know why? It was a rush. Made me feel alive.

I'm 59 years old in a couple of weeks. Had a defibrillator installed two months ago. More of my life is in the rear view mirror than is out in front of me. And I got to go white water rafting and run the river with my body instead of a raft. That's living. Really is.

Those who know me have heard me argue, in Eldredge influenced fashion,that God has built men in a certain way. Men gauge their worth against some time tested standards. Do men need battles to fight, adventures to engage in and women to show off for? I say 'yes' althought taken to an inappropriate place these kind of standards are only a hop, skip, and a jump away from a man becoming a chauvinistic neanderthal. Taken seriously, appropriately and prayerfully a man comes in touch with some God-given creative energy. Find a man who's not fighting any battle, who's not hoping an adventure might be coming down the pike and doesn't want the woman in his life to really notice him and you've got a man who's probably struggling.

Think about it. How many men do you know who are really alive? By alive I mean they're seeking God, standing up for what's right, lovin' on their families, and are passionate about Kingdom priorities. These are men you can count on. How many?

It's not enough. We know it.

Sometimes I worry about men. Have too many guys become afraid to test themselves against something that's not in their comfort zone? I understand that. Been there and done that more than once in my life.

But here's the thing that I always come back to. Doesn't Jesus call us our of our comfort and into the adventure? Could too many Christian guys be retreating to what is staid and predictable and in the process being wildly disobedient to God?

Alright, I know. I'm making too much of all this. A rafting trip is a rafting trip is a rafting trip. But it got me thinking. I'm glad I did it. The river beat me this time. But I felt I was alive. That's a good thing. In the end, it reminds me of some God ordained longings deep inside. That's another good thing.


Randy Siever said...

I don't think this was what Jesus had in mind when he invited Peter to get out of his boat, but I love the fact that you did it anyway. Way to go, old friend.

Barry Franklin said...

Well, something tells me if Kip were there when Peter stepped out onto the water to join Jesus, he would have thrown him an anchor.

I agree Mike. It's only a rafting trip, but I have this vision of God smiling while he watches his children set aside the worries of this world and enjoy His creation. I've enjoyed times watching my kids at play with each other and with their friends, and I have to believe this is just a hint of the pleasure God gets when we engage in community with one another in a positive way. We really do complicate things, don't we?

Glad you survived the falls, bro!

Mike said...

Thanks Randy.

Barry, I think God does smile when he sees us finally get it ...instead of doing all the time ...we stop long enough to just 'enjoy' and be in community.