In June and July my family had the opportunity to raft the upper Klamath River twice. It’s a lovely and exciting stretch of a river that is full of Class IV rapids. We went with guides from Noah’s River Adventures in Ashland. They expertly brought us through dangerous areas with fun and exhilaration. A few weeks later, my wife and I were on a trail near the Rogue River. She remarked that she thought it was fascinating how the water was so calm, then so boisterous, then calm yet again. It made me think about our lives and how we pass through times of peace and times of stressful splashing. The current is always there, and depending on how we manage the rough times it can be exhausting or exhilarating.
I feel that the current is the same for most people, yet happiness or the enjoyment of the current is a state of mind. The secret ingredient to the situations we face is hope. Choosing to be happy takes a little splash of hope mixed with previous experience, either from ourselves or others. We can choose to be happy despite circumstances that have negative effects on us. Often, we need to have time to reset and let the happiness rise and “proof” before we can fully appreciate its power.
This doesn’t mean we need to discredit the appropriate level of mourning during times we are splashed against the rocks. During a particularly bumpy part of our trip, a strapping young lad we called “handsome Jack” fell out of the raft. We all worked together to slow the raft until Jack could get back on. Sometimes we need to slow down and reach out to others to help us. If we slow down enough and look around for others in need, we can help each other back up on the boat.
I said the secret ingredient was hope. Jack “hoped” he could get back on the boat, and he kept swimming until he got there. Hope is not to gleefully skip along pretending things are all sunshine and roses. Hope is knowing that “this too shall pass.” Hope helps you plan for the unexpected traumas before they happen. Having built your hope, and strengthened it through appropriate preparation, you can be ready for life’s uncertainties that will certainly find you.
Enjoy the currents in your life. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Streams of happiness can be found running through even the toughest times. Please be kind to one another and keep an eye out for those within your circle that need your help. Bring them back to the boat and enjoy the happiness of living.