I’ve always wanted to try white water rafting. Test my limits. See what I’m made of and get the thrill of my life, along with a knowledgeable guide that has my back though – right? Safety first.
So I do some research before my Colorado business trip. I find a great outfit with tons of wonderful reviews and an unsurpassed safety rating per their website. I am anxious and excited the day of the experience. I dress in all the gear they said we’d need and I am prepared to get challenged, scared and very wet. I park in the lot and walk up to the check-in counter. A nice young college-age gal is taking our names, waivers and the balance of the payment due. But then as I approach her I suddenly have a different idea. What if I just skip the full two hours of adventure and instead have my guide do just the last 30 yards? The destination of finishing is my goal after all. Isn’t it?
“What? Why would you do that?” you say. “Are you crazy? The whole point is the experience!”
This is what you do when you focus so fervently on your goal or your current short coming you’ve defined. Why haven’t I lost the 10 pounds yet? I just want the new car, new house, new job, a baby, my degree, the kids out of the house, grandkids, a vacation, retirement. I just want what I want and I want it now. If I could just have this one thing then I would be happy. You want to jump ahead to the end. You want to drop your raft just 30 yards before the destination. Why can’t I just be what I want, have what I want you say? Why can’t I just reach the finish, hit the goal?
But you see, it’s not about the destination. It never was. It’s about the moments that the wall of water splashes you with such force you nearly fall over, but yet you find yourself still standing. It’s about the moment the sun shines just so on the water that you see your child’s face in a light so heavenly that you feel God. It’s about the smile you see on the face of a total stranger that connects you, locked forever in a moment in time you both will always carry with you. It’s about the eagerness and anticipation of beginning the journey, not yet knowing how many waves you’ll ride. It’s all of that and the parts of your soul that these words can’t even touch.
Don’t jump forward. Stay right where you are and soak it all in. Let it wash over you without trying so hard to guide it according to your will. Once you reach your destination you will not rest. Your heart will long for another ride, another journey and set its sights on yet another destination. But your soul knows what it wants. It wants the journey. The breath taking, unknowing, water splashing, heart pounding, soul testing, journey. Your soul wants this life. All of it. Don’t look too far forward and don’t even think about skipping the bumpy ride. The ride is all there is. The ride is why we came here. Love your life. Every single drop of it.