The River

The Wisconsin River

Sometimes saying YES makes all the difference.

Last week I had a chance to say thank you one more time for a conversation and an invitation that led to my summer-turning-to-fall-trip-of-discovery.

It was back in February when one drizzly Seattle afternoon I called Aram to introduce myself and talk with him about my passion for sailing as a practice and metaphor to reflect on the work of transition. During that phone call Aram invited me to join himself and his Dad and John Lionberger, the founder of the non-profit Aram now runs, Renewal in the Wilderness, for a three day canoe trip on the Wisconsin River.

I’d never heard of the Wisconsin River.

I didn’t have a clue how in the world I’d get there in the middle of June.

But there was something about Aram’s invitation that made me say yes.

Maybe it was talking to a friend that week who had told me he and his wife were practicing saying Yes to invitations that year.

Maybe it was something about the outrageousness of a canoe trip with people I didn’t know in a place I’d never heard of.

Maybe because it just felt right.

The Ichetucknee River

Whatever the reason, I waded into the river that day in February and said YES to Aram’s invitation.

I could never have anticipated that saying YES to a canoe trip would become the first of a series of connections that led to the beginning itinerary of my summer adventure.

Aram put me in touch with Abby Lynn Haskell who with her husband Bob leads BroadReach Ministries in Biddeford, Maine. AbbyLynn not only invited me to lead two sailing retreats with them this summer but also referred me to the Pilgrim Lodge camp where I served as the co-sailing instructor for Camp Pride.

And yes, it was AbbyLynn and Bob who this month gifted me with a place to stay for two weeks of October this month.

Aram’s work with Renewal in the Wilderness is rooted in a mission to “guide wilderness encounters that cultivate and sustain cultures of compassion.”

I had the privilege of going on an amazing canoe trip with Aram, John and Larry that did just that.

And months before that, a phone call invitation that got me out onto the river and into a discovery. So many rivers I’ve had the chance to encounter this summer.

Today, a pause, a thank you, to Aram, to invitation, to the wonder and grace of just what can happen when we say YES to the river.

The Saco River

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