August 3, 2020

Our grandson, 12-year-old Ross, is with us for a few days. One of the activities we have planned is a tubing trip on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. When we saw Ross last month, he was overjoyed to discover he was taller than me. That’s not a very high bar, but like his father before him, no longer being the shortest person in the family is a major event.

It got me to thinking about a white-water rafting adventure we had with our sons when they were 13 and 14 years old. During the requisite safety briefing we were told how to put on our helmets and personal floatation devices, as well as how to help anyone who happened to fall overboard get back on the raft.  Rod and I and our two sons shared a raft with 2 other people plus our guide. We were about an hour into the trip when we went through some significant rapids. One of the passengers, an older gentleman, fell overboard. My gut reaction, born of years of work as a lifeguard, was to rescue the man. But much to my surprise, our older son, Seth, stepped in front of me and with great skill and confidence, helped the man back onto the raft.

It was a moment that marked a significant transition for me, a moment that is as fresh and real as I recall it today as it was at the time, although 39 years have passed. I am so thankful for that moment, and so many other moments. Jon Cabot-Zinn wrote that “the most precious things in life aren’t things.” 

In the midst of this pandemic, time seems both frozen, and flying by. Each moment is precious, an unimaginable gift of grace. And tubing on the Shenandoah, doing absolutely nothing but floating with Rod and Ross, savoring each moment, is one of the best investments in what is truly precious that we can make.

Spend this day well. ~ Anne

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