My parents used to talk about the importance of remembering not to shoot the messenger before hearing the message.
In my 60-plus years of life experiences, nine out of 10 times, I try to remember how important it is to listen to others whether I like them or not. Chances are they may not have anything I want to hear one day, but the next time, they might convey exactly what I need to hear.
A friend of mine, Jim Osborn, who is now deceased, told me something years ago about how people can look at life.
He said life is like a white-water rafting trip. We can either look at the ride with trepidation or we can look at it with a calmness in knowing that we aren’t alone in that raft.
After all, it’s about the trip and not the destination.
The point my friend was making is that we can go through life crouching down in fear, afraid to enjoy any of what the trip has to offer. Or, we can say to ourselves, “This is my life and, yippee, here I go!’
Rafting, as with life, can bounce us out of a safe place, forcing us to look at a new direction. We can get smashed into rocks, or navigate around dangerous situations around the corner.
But, we are never alone. We have other people struggling to avoid bouncing out of the raft themselves. We have our families and friends who care about what happens to us, and whether it’s them needing help or us, we all know we are in this journey together.
Our trustworthy friends, neighbors, husbands, wives or fellow religious travelers will be there to help us when we get mentally, physically or spiritually bruised.
It’s those times when we don’t think we can take any more pain that a friend will take up the slack and keep us going.
None of us is immune to the loss of people we love and to other heartache. In fact, everybody has four basic feelings to include mad, sad, glad and scared. Like the rafting adventure, we feel all of those feelings at least once a day, but probably more.
Similar to rafting and trying to avoid undercut rocks, unable to see dangerous situations just under the surface of the water, life can catch us off guard, too.
The key to surviving and enjoying life to the fullest with either a spouse, family members, friends, or spiritual people in our community is not so much being able to communicate as it is being transparent.
In any of our relationships, the most trusting person is not necessarily the one who is the most friendly, extraverted or articulate. Instead, it’s the person we can trust the most.
One final thought.
A close friend once asked me if I knew what the mortality rate is in the United States. At first, I was going to take a stab at it and guess 85 percent. But, before I could say that, the meaning of the word “mortality” sunk in. For those who guessed the mortality rate lower than 100 percent…that’s incorrect. It is 100 percent.