December 12, 2007 Over the last couple of weeks I've ridden the waves of life, experiencing the exhilaration of the highs and being almost pulled under by the lows. I watched my dad, of sound mind and body, reach the age of 91; and my nephew, who good-naturedly experiences life from a wheelchair, turn 34. While those milestones were exciting to me, I was equally—perhaps more so—excited when my son, recently having safely survived the teens (he's 20) told us that one of his friends at college is the son of (and I may not have the facts all down perfectly) the woman who heads up Michigan Adaptive Sports. Because of those connections he is involved in a program of teaching physically challenged folks how to snowboard. This challenge likely never would have shown up on his radar screen had he not been sensitized by my nephew, Steve, and Steve's sister, Melissa, (also with physical challenges), both of whom live next door to us. The fact that his grandpa got his first crossbow at the age of 80 (so he could still hunt) probably also played hugely into Michael's range of sensitivity.
At the same time we saw Mike graduate from the teens, we have watched several young folks close to us enter into that treacherous channel. We know hazards await them. We want so much to spare them from painful experiences. We've done what we know how to do to make life easier for them. But of course, sometimes we haven't known the answers. Sometimes we haven't known the questions. Sometimes the questions change. Sometimes there have been things we haven't known or accurately anticipated. And sometimes experience can only be gotten by experience. Theirs. Not ours. That's the way life is. And all we can do is pray they are not sucked in by the rapids.
Life on the whitewater—much more exciting—but not nearly as safe and predictable—as sitting in the harbor.