It Takes a Village to Get Grandma Down the River

When the grandchildren made plans for tubing down Davidson River in Pisgah Forest last July 4th weekend, I decided to go along just to watch them launch and start their journey, then walk back to the campsite that was nearby. But what is a grandmother to do when her son shows up with a tube for her? Obviously, he did not get the memo that Grandma was there just to watch. Since I hate to see good money wasted, I felt obligated to join the down-river migration.

The grandchildren were seasoned veterans after having tubed once during this fateful weekend, so they each jumped into their watercraft and floated merrily on their way. They also came prepared with bathing suits and water shoes. I was wearing appropriate campsite attire and leather moccasin-type shoes – not appropriate tubing attire at all. However, since my tube had a bottom in it, I naively thought there was an outside chance I might not get wet. That thought was reinforced when I was instructed to take off my shoes and put them in the bottom of the tube before wading into the water and getting into it myself. It would be nice at the end of this journey to have dry shoes for the walk back to the campsite.

It was bottoms down when I finally managed to get situated in the tube with the help of my son and grandson. With legs hanging over one side of the tube and arms flailing over the other, I was pushed out into the mainstream of the river. Not get wet? What was I thinking??!! My river craft had a leaky bottom and both I and my leather shoes were soaked immediately.

Due to longevity, I can claim expertise in several areas, but at tubing I was a complete neophyte and had much to learn. It all seemed so simple. Get in the tube and float. Nothing to it, right? Seems the river was somewhat low that day, so I had not floated long or far when I hit a rock and got hung up. I managed to push off one nearby and get moving again only to be snagged by another rock. And so it went for a good portion of the adventure. Once I even got caught in some brush near the riverbank. My son, smart man that he is, was following closely behind and came to my rescue. A man fishing from the bank with an amused expression on his face watched my struggle. I decided to laugh with him by saying, “It takes a village to get Grandma down the river!”

Once you are in that tube on the river, you have no choice but to finish the journey. Along the way, I finally realized I was getting snagged by so many rocks because….well, let’s just say I was sitting very low in that tube! The rocks were visible, so I began arching my back to lift myself off the bottom. Amazingly, I skimmed the rocks and floated easily! Wow!

Lots of life lessons here. None of us shows up for life truly prepared for what is going to happen. Yet, if we waited until we were “dressed appropriately” (fully prepared), we would miss so many unexpected blessings and learning opportunities. The best

lessons are often learned when we just jump into life and go for it! When snagged by “rocks” (life events), how wonderful to have someone come alongside to help, encourage and even rescue.

For me, the grandest lesson was this: In order to stay off the rocks or skim over them, I had to get myself out of the way! Most often I am my own worst enemy. How grateful I am for a guiding and sustaining relationship with Jesus Christ to help me over the rocks of life. I hit them when running ahead of his plan or lagging too far behind when he has directed a path. Yet, when I yield and effectively get myself out of the way, he clears the path and steadies the craft to journey’s end. What a wonderful Savior – rescuer – is my Christ.

We finally arrived at a wide place in the river where it was easy to exit the tube. Soaking wet from head to toe and sloshing along in wet shoes, I was reminded of Psalm 18:19, “he brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” The Lord be praised!

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