After the Flood
The last week and a half have been a wild ride.
What began as a normal day of canyoneering, nearly turned lethal. If descending the canyon had taken five more minutes, people would have died. I could have been responsible for the loss of three other’s lives, and potentially putting at risk a Search and Rescue team as well.
The weight of that responsibility, even though everyone is safe, has been heavy on me.
The experience itself was absolutely terrifying, the scariest hour of my life. I’ve been replaying the event in my mind (and watching the youtube video) over and over again. I’ve been churning through all the things I would do differently, all the small mistakes and judgement calls that added up that nearly meant our death.
Death. That too, perhaps most of all, has been on my mind. I could very easily not be here to type these words. For over an hour, pinned under a roaring waterfall, my body slowly losing its heat, I contemplated if I would make it out. I wondered if all of us would die, that someone would come across my GoPro and and be able to watch my last minutes alive, to see what I saw when death took me.
Three days ago I posted a video on Youtube about the ordeal.
In a matter of hours, two national news sources picked it up and contacted me for interviews.
Here’s RightThisMinute’s version.
In 48 hours, the Youtube video had been watched over 70,000 times. Someone posted it on Reddit, where it has become a forum for bashing people’s beliefs (you can hear me praying in the video). Many have commented saying how amazing of an event this was and how lucky we are to be alive (which is accurate). People have been saying how dumb we were for being in that canyon at all that day (which is accurate).
In many ways, I am stunned. It has been a lot to take it.
Through all of it, I have been thinking a lot. Here are some of my thoughts.
– Above all, I am thankful. I am thankful to God for his protection. I called upon the Rock that is higher than I, and He protected me. While I was pinned under the waterfall, tucked into a crack of a massive boulder that was receiving the brunt of the force of the water pouring down from 300 feet above, I couldn’t help but think of the verse “He is my rock, and my salvation.”
– I made mistakes. There were many decisions throughout the day that should have gone differently. It would be a shame if I do not learn from those mistakes. I have an opportunity to take what I learned and carry it forward. If I can be humble and introspective, I can see what I did wrong, accept responsibility, and learn. This lesson is not just for the outdoors, but for all aspects of my life.
– I have a purpose. I believe God saved me and my companions for a reason. As one of my friends said, “You owe the universe one.” This experience reinforces and refreshes the notion that my life is meant for something. My hope is that I can be contemplative and honest with myself. That I will not settle for what is easy and comfortable. I hope I can live a God-honoring life that enriches the lives of others. That I can pursue a life well lived.