Life In A Canoe

I heard a really good analogy this week about marriage being like a canoe. The idea is, when people get married, they get into the same canoe.

The thing is, not just marriage is like a canoe. All of life is. Granted, we aren’t all in the same canoe, or maybe only in the same one for a short period of each day. But if you are part of a family, a work force, a team, a club, a church, you are in the same canoe as those people with whom you share that common goal or desire.

If you know anything about canoes, you know they are not particularly steady. In fact, movement inside the canoe can create a lot of swaying and tipping. If one person leans left, a proper response from the other people in the canoe must follow or you end up in the drink.

I know because that actually happened to me. Literally.

I was a young teacher working at a school for missionary kids, when one of the families gave me a weekend with them and another family at a nearby lake. The place was beautiful. The lake was ringed by volcanoes and deep! It had presumably been created when one of the volcanoes erupted years ago.

At any rate, someone suggested all the young teens and I go out onto the lake in the canoe. I’m not big on water sports, but I agreed. The ride out away from shore and back was going fine until one of the kids decided to jump into the water and then get back into the canoe. (Or maybe he’d been swimming along side and decided to get in. I’m not clear on that detail). All that movement and change of weight affected the balance of our canoe.

When the young man decided to get into the canoe, he started a quick chain of events. First, someone jumping from the canoe and climbing in, creates movement. The rest of us compensated for all the rocking and swaying by shifting our weight accordingly.

At some point, he gripped the side of the canoe and hoisted himself up. Lots of lean which caused some of us to compensate by shifting our weight to correct the balance. Problem was, when he was back in the canoe, we were still shifted in the opposite direction. The canoe did a perfect roll and dumped us all into the lake.

By this time we weren’t far from shore so we managed to drag the thing in. But I got a first hand look at what it means to be in a canoe together. In that instance, it wasn’t pretty.

Later I learned that our leaning to counter the guy jumping into the canoe was actually an over compensation. Once he was in and not pulling us to the left, all of our right leaning had no counter balance. And over we went.

All this to say, what we do inside our canoe affects the other people in our canoe. There are no Lone Rangers. Those folk are all in kayaks.

Published in: on January 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm  Comments (2)  

2 Comments

  1. Your story made me laugh, because I’ve been in too many canoes with too many clueless people–including my own brother. He meant well. “nuff said.”

    My last canoe adventure happened on vacation after my freshman year of college. Our outboard motor broke down and someone had the bright idea that I should go for help. There was an old woman fishing nearby (this was in Indonesia) in a small two-person canoe. So they talked her into this. Everything was going fine until I tried to get into her canoe.

    My center of gravity had changed from when I was a skinny kid, and I wobbled–and she panicked.

    And we had to make other arrangements.

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    • Hahah! I can so identify, Krysti. You know first hand, too, what “rocking the boat” actually means and why we have to work in concert when we’re in a canoe. Thanks for sharing your story.

      Becky

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