We had been paddling all day. I sat in the front of the canoe, slick with sweat from exerting myself beneath the Florida sun. I was hot and tired, and where is a lady to use the bathroom while paddling in a canoe for hours around the thousand island region of Everglades National Park? I could hear my friend’s paddle splash behind me. She possessed the map and compass, humming as we navigated through the salty water.
We were on the last leg of our journey; leaving the open water and heading through the mouth of Lopez River.
“We’re going north right? Back to main land?” I shouted over my shoulder between strokes.
“Yeah. The mouth of the river should be right around this corner.”
We rounded the corner.
“And you’re sure we’re going north?” An air of annoyance rose in my voice.
“Yes. I’m sure”
“THEN WHY DO I SEE ONLY WATER ON THE HORIZON?!?”
My annoyance turned swiftly towards anger. I was angry.
I paddled angrily as we turned the canoe around. I paddled furiously for a couple more hours back in the direction from which we had come. I paddled with bitterness and resentment until our canoe struck the shoreline of the river.
If only I had double checked the map. I repeated over and over in my mind. If only.
It was a frustrating situation, but really, there was no harm done. We were safe. We reached our destination before dark. We did not run out of drinking water. The weather was calm. But we also had doubled our miles and time for that day, and that’s frustrating.
There have been many situations in my life where circumstances have been beyond my control. These situations have strengthened me and taught me valuable lessons about myself and life.
There have also been plenty of occasions in which I have allowed other people to guide me blindly. I have handed over my control willingly or helplessly, rarely working as a positive force in my life.
So let me ask you…
This is your life. Who’s got the map?