Imagine with me the river of life. Broken up with rapids, pools, rapids, pools, currents running through all of it… undertows. Imagine where different parts of life fit in the life and movement of the river.
Childhood… adolescence… rapids of much speed and change. Our lives are governed for us… we really do not have much control over how we navigate these waters.
Post high-school perhaps the river widens a bit… but again we generally are herded into a specific current called education. We have our degrees and our curriculums to keep us going through. We see others going on different paths and we learn that there are many paths in this river. Generally though, we don’t know how to receive these other paths openly as we were only shown the current that we grew up with.
Our currents generally keep going down the river into our adult lives. We have our careers, our families, our 401K, our houses and our cars. Once we get on this track, we can easily get carried on this current and continue to spin on down without navigating at all… without seeing anything around us except for the things that are directly effecting us. The rocks, the undertows, the near drowning, the shallow spots where we get a glimpse that there might be something more. But it is tiring, and we are merely reactionary. We don’t navigate and we don’t have the strength to help others navigate.
I would argue that there is a pool that happens between the fast-paced current of higher education and the fast paced current of an unnavigated life. Some of us surf through it without ever knowing we were there… because we listen to where we were told we were supposed to go and never given the gift of navigation. Problem is, many of us enter that current completely disoriented… backwards, upside-down, all turned around. This I would say is the majority of adults in our culture. But then there are others who float there for a while. They are lost in this pool. They don’t know how to navigate LIFE because there was no one to show them.
Sometimes people figure it out for themselves… usually by the time they are 50 or 60 and by this time they are tired, disappointed, or depressed that they didn’t navigate anything up till this point. They don’t have much left to give those who are coming down that river. Some of them get washed up on a rock. Some of them finally figure it out. Some of them just keep on spinning.
What we need is people to help with the navigating… in that pool of our 20s. This is the critical time. People who know how the river can go need to be on the shore guiding, supporting, showing their younger counterparts how to navigate.
It’s the river of life… and it MUST not be our own individualistic journey.