What’s the worst that can happen?


What’s the worst that can happen? It was the summer of 1995, I was 15 and we were on a family whitewater rafting adventure. It should be noted that at the time I was not the adventurous type. I preferred to play it safe. My goal was to sit in the back of the raft and give the illusion of me “grabbing the rapids”, as the guide so eloquently put it.  That is until I somehow found myself in the front of the raft. Yep, that’s right, me, Miss play-it-safe who wanted nothing to do with this boat ride was suddenly seated front row of the rapids. Meanwhile, the rest of my family seemed cozy taking the side and rear seats of the raft.  As the distance between the raft and land increased the sweat began to bead on my brows, my hands started to tingle, my heart was leaping outside my chest, and my best defense mechanism was to just play possum. I sat there oar in hand, dumbfounded, thinking, what’s the worst that could happen? And then I envisioned the worst. I could fall out of the raft. I could hit my head on a rock. I could break a bone, or you know, die! To say I wasn’t prepared for what happened next is an understatement. 

The day before I found myself being given to the river on the first rapid, SURPRISE!

Turns out that playing possum is a great way to be the first to land on the outside of the boat. That’s right, I was the first rafter to be given to the river. My body flew out of that raft like a rag doll. I quickly disappeared beneath the white water. You’ll never guess the name of that first rapid, SURPRISE! Yep, this terrified play-it-safe young teenage girl who didn’t want to do anything adventurous was thrown into rapids. The first thing I did was let go of the oar, which is apparently the opposite of what you’re supposed to do. Though, to be fair, once I was moved to the front of the raft and realized all my worst fears were coming true the remaining instructions pretty much played out like one of the adults talking in a Charlie Brown cartoon. So, there I was being tossed and turned under the water hearing nothing more than the loud rushing magnitude and intense force of the rapids beating against my body. What happened next is what I like to call my life-altering moment. While under the water, narrowing escaping death by rocks, drowning, shock, etc. I felt a sudden calm come over me. I stopped fighting the rapids. I released all tension and allowed my body to go with the flow of the current.  And once I did that my heart stopped racing, my mind cleared, and the gushing sounds of the rapids dancing around my body no longer terrified me but became almost tranquil.  I relaxed. I went with the flow. The minute I stopped trying to resist was the minute I finally felt at ease. And once I felt at ease and had lived through the worst thing that could happen, which was falling out of the raft, I actually found myself jumping back in the raft and eagerly and aggressively grabbing those rapids with my oars. I found myself enjoying the adventure!  

We live life so terrified of the possibility of falling out of the raft and into the rapids. When it comes to careers, marriage, starting a family, small business, etc. what’s the worst that can happen?  You could fail miserably, choose the wrong career, marry the wrong person, and end up divorced middle-aged, with all the responsibilities and obligations of the family and household falling on you. Or you could find the perfect career, run a thriving business, and live out your days with the love of your life. You never know unless you take that seat up front in the raft called life and welcome the rapids, grab them with your oar, and when you fall in take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the adventure!  I’ve fallen in more times than I’d like to admit and some rapids are much more treacherous and tedious to navigate than others, this last SURPRISE rapid of life has really been one heck of a ride, to say the least, I don’t regret one rapid in life and I am looking forward to getting back in the raft and seeing what awaits around the river bend. 

After receiving the SURPRISE rapid in life

Don’t be a spectator in your life. Live boldly, and adventurously, persevere through the rapids, and remember when you fall in don’t resist the rapids. Fighting against circumstances beyond your control is like trying to swim against the current, you will exhaust yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is only once you relinquish the need to resist and go with the flow of the current that you will regain control. 

What’s the worst that could happen? What rapid are you currently navigating? 

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