This weekend I went tubing with some friends. We were floating the river, which was pretty low and there were a few rapids to go down. Nothing too crazy, I mean, we were in innertubes, but exciting enough that you needed to pay attention to the water. I was in the 2nd worst tube on the trip. It was too small, with not enough air, and my abs are literally sore as I type this because of the way I had to hold myself up. I’m not sure how relevant that part is, but I just want to paint a picture for you.
I was coming into one rapid, my feet were leading the way and I felt good as I started to be swept away, but then there was the moment—the moment I was certain I was going to flip. Sure enough my feet went straight up and over my head, I went in, and as I did a backwards summersault under the water, I thought, “Please, no, not my head.”
I was terrified in that moment I was going to smash my head against a rock and there was literally nothing I could do about it. As my feet passed over my head I was utterly relieved the water was deep enough at that spot to miss the bottom. It was probably the only spot in the river where I couldn’t stand up. I got lucky. But as I was still under water, it was still disorienting. I opened my eyes, but only to see murky greenness and I thought, “which way’s up?”.
Have you ever found yourself in life, feeling tossed by the rapids, wondering, “which way is up?”. I think we have this internal sense for our lives. I call it my “due north” because it’s that internal compass that I know where I’m going and I know how to get there. But sometimes life becomes so chaotic that it seems we lose our sense of direction. We lose our bearings, tossed by forces stronger than us, only to be whipped around, disoriented, and wanting nothing more than a deep breath.
As I was being tossed under the water my next thought was, “Swim to the light.” There was this tiny voice that gave direction in the midst of the chaos. I think our due north is a tiny voice that we have to be tuned in to.
I recently learned about an opera singer who suddenly couldn’t hit notes within his range. He had gone to a bunch of ENTs, but no one could offer him a solution. Doctor Tomatis took to figuring it out and what he had discovered was that this opera singer was going deaf from his own voice. Apparently, opera singers can sing really really loud. So loud that people can go deaf. The reason this singer couldn’t hit the notes was because he couldn’t hear the notes. When our lives become too noisy, we can’t hear the notes we’re supposed to play. We’re deaf to our due north.
Sometimes we get caught in the rapids, tossed about, out of control, and helpless to the boulders that lie hidden beneath the surface. Rapids don’t last forever. Hold your breath. Swim to the light. And as your head finally breaks the surface, take some time and be intentional about quieting the noise and finding your due north.
It’s easy to get lost in this life, but you can always find your way back.
*The information contained herein is not therapeutic advice nor a substitute for therapy. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any mental health problem. If you are located within the United States and you need emergency assistance please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you are located within Colorado you may also call the Colorado Crisis Line at 844-493-TALK (8255).