Sometimes we all find ourselves holding on for dear life. Sometimes, or may I say most of the time, it is not even a life threatening phenomenon that we are holding onto to dear life for. Many times it is a conceived idea of what we thought we always wanted or needed or perhaps just wished we had because someone else had it. The perception we all have, varies from situation to situation as well as from person to person. The old saying of put yourself in their shoes comes to mind. One of my friends once told me that there are at least four ways of looking at a story. There are the two people involved in the story, (with their coinciding/different sides of the story) then there is the friend of the two people, caught in the middle (and how in the world can they help) and then there is the person on the outside looking in. (the one that doesn’t know the whole story but may have the best view of all. Not taking one side of any one person involved) That is four different sides with the possibility of so many more facets taking center stage. What do we do as we hang on? What part do we play as the story unfolds? Do we partake in the unexpected? How do we show the face of Christ when life takes out of our comfort zone and into a war zone of uncertainty and at times compromise?
So for the “hanging on bit.” I will never forget this night. My dad who is now retired but at the time was working as a wildlife biologist. Talk about some amazing life experiences! I spent a good bit of my time through high school volunteering and working with my dad. You name it, we did research on it. This night in particular we were out working on tagging alligators in the middle of the night. Myself and my dad’s intern at the time also named Sara were ready to catch some gators. The whole process is fairly simple. It’s dark, you have a driver (in this case it was my dad) who holds the spot light, two people are left below to catch the gators. One lays on the front of the air boat and hangs over the edge waiting for the perfect moment to catch the gator behind the neck. The second person then waits with a gunny sack and rubber bands as well as tape if necessary (only when we were able to catch above five feet long was the tape ever utilized) The mouth of each gator is then secured and the catching of alligators is continued. Talk about a work out and for me the ultimate adrenaline rush. The boat is then stopped and data is gathered on the alligators, sex, length, general health, if they have been tagged before etc. We then would place toe tags on each alligator and release them freely into the water. Not too complicated or nerve wracking once you get used to catching a live alligator with your bare hands.
We had just released our final boat load of not quite happy alligators into the water and were headed home. My dad began to turn the boat around and all of the sudden it was as if the once quite buoyant air boat hit and unseen obstacle and quickly became a very southern impersonation of the Titanic sinking into the bayou below. My dad and the intern Sara jumped off I however was hanging on for dear life. I slid between the cage and the seat of the air boat and jumped into the murky waters below. Mind you it was pitch black and all the lights had left us with the sinking of our boat. I could hear my dad yelling for me asking if I was OK. I said yes I am and began to make my way towards his voice.
It was eery, muddy, and all I could think about were all of the alligators we had just released into the very waters that I was now chest high in. I quickly found the bank along with my dad and Sara. The alligators were for the most part in the water and we had made it out unscathed. We weren’t quite done with our adventure yet though. We now had several miles to walk on the levee to make it back to the truck and eventually home. The memory that sticks out the most though is the fact that somehow I knew we were going to make it out and that my dad had it no matter what. My dad has and always will be my hero. This time being one of the most prominent times. Hanging on when life seems a bit dismal and scary; that is all, that we can do sometimes. It takes faith bigger than we understand sometimes to make it through the most unexpected and in this case muddy times. After one long walk back to the truck we made our way back home. My mom just about died when she heard the story the following day. Her conclusion was, “Well you guys made it and that is what matters. Next time try not to sink the air boat.”
My part in this story was no exactly epic or huge. It did however teach me a life lesson in trust and hanging on when the going gets tough. We all need a little push sometimes to find faith when we have less than ideal circumstances to find that faith. As I have said before life is not easy but we all learn to roll with the punches as one would say we learn to deal in the best way that we can. Sometimes we cannot always see where we are going but we have to have faith that we will get to our destination one day. I suppose I could have chosen to not jump or partake in action that night. Sure I could have sat there and done absolutely nothing. I would have more than likely been trapped under the boat or suffered an injury of some sort. So in hindsight I am quite glad that I jumped. Partaking in life can be scary and push us beyond where we are most comfortable with
Now showing face of Christ when the unexpected happens that is where the true challenge happens. I know for a fact that I am the furthest thing from perfection. I would never truly want to be perfect however. In situations such as an air boat sinking into alligator infested waters that can be most difficult. I remember thinking though that I could be calm and collected and that I had to have faith in my father on earth and my father on heaven to get me through. There was a definite calmness in walking the muddy water and pitch black levees that night. Light was found in the stars that peeked out from behind the clouds. Quiet and gentle promises of it will be just fine and work out in the long run are ever constant when we take a few moments to find them. To show even a fraction of calmness and trust in God’s greater plan when the going gets tough and boats sink can truly show faith and Christ like behaviors. Not that it was easy and not saying that I do it well all of the time. I would have much rather sat atop the sunken air boat and waited for someone to come save me at first. Reality hit and no one was going to magically appear and save me from life and a no longer upright boat. Sometimes showing what it means to have faith is jumping into the water and trusting the not so happy gators will not seek revenge and attack like you imagine they could.
Living life in a way that reflects the very image of perfection is not for the weak of heart. It not an easy path to take. It is however more than the journey. Letting go and seeing what will happen can be beyond unsettling. When all is said and done however the plunge was more than worth it. We may have a few bumps and bruises to show for efforts. Heck we may have some pretty large battle scars. Someone along the way though helps to pick us up and makes each day better than it was the day before. This world is only the beginning. The other side has so much more. It is what we do with our time and talents while we walk the earth that can have the biggest impact. So you know it guys. #bethechange #showlovealways #letgo #makeadifference Hanging on doesn’t always mean clinging to one thing. Sometimes it really is learning to let go of something that was once so important and not a fathomable thing to let go of. Maybe hanging on is hanging on for the ride. Every once in awhile letting go and letting life and God take to us to exactly where we need to be.