Rico, Roxy, and I have rediscovered our rhythm, merrily rowing along the river of life. There have been no new medical crises since Roxy’s cancer diagnosis. Roxy still shows no ill effects from her ongoing chemotherapy.
Now, however, we’re coming up on an island in the middle of our course and we can’t take the same channel around it.
See, before Roxy’s diagnosis, I registered for a qigong camp. Simply defined, qigong means the study or training of life energy (qi) in which one invests a lot of time and effort (gong). It’s a component of Chinese martial arts, but also a practice in its own right.
The voice in my head reminds me for five days I’ll be 230-plus miles away while my family takes turns doggie-sitting Rico and Roxy. I could argue with that voice how it’ll all be OK until the cows come home. Or there might be an easier way to enjoy my time away as I learned on a recent kayaking trip.
Who Chose This Channel?
Over the weekend, I kayaked the Shenandoah River with friends. The water wasn’t high but had a nice current. It offered a smooth ride for little effort.
When we came upon an island in the river, the current carried us to one channel. With the shorelines closer together, the tree branches seemed to link together overhead like fingers, enveloping us in a serene, shaded tunnel of chirping birds and stunning, large trees. Quite lovely!
At least, until we rounded the bend near the end of the island. The roots of a fallen tree pulled up a huge chunk of earth blocking the majority of the channel. And no matter how hard I paddled toward the small opening, that current was carrying me straight to that wall of roots.
Riding The Current
I really didn’t want to bump that tree and risk capsizing or, worse, bruising my ego. My two options were to keep flailing my paddle in a futile attempt to fight the current. Or I could trust my efforts and the flow of the current to deliver me to safety.
As I thought about my upcoming qigong camp, I realized I had the same choices. I could furiously fight with the current of thoughts documenting everything that could go wrong while I’m away or prepare as best as I can and trust life to guide us through this pass.
Choosing To Go With The Flow
There’s an old saying about winning someone’s trust. Thing is, it isn’t that easy. Trust is a choice. A verb. It’s not something you can reason with or win an argument against and be done. There is always a reason not to trust; choosing not to almost always seems like the safer choice.
But choosing to trust life’s course can lead to great reward. It’s the one that saw me around that tree, dry and ego intact. It’s also the one giving me the chance to learn from one of the best martial arts instructors in the country.
Of course I’ll prepare. I’ll pre-package and label the dogs’ meals with medications already dispensed. Everyone will be given contact info for their regular vet as well as Roxy’s oncologist. And I’ll keep my cell phone handy at all times.
But then I’ll have to trust my prep work and life’s flow to steer us safely through this pass. It won’t be easy, but it will be done. And I’ll even try to enjoy the scenery along the way.