In Captivating, Stasi Eldridge writes a beautiful story about a time when she her husband John decide to go canoeing in a river at night in the Grand Tetons. She writes about the colors of the day fading into the night, from cobalt to silver to black. They navigated the waters and had a wondrous time as their “paddles dipped not quite silently in and out of the water.”

Just as they drifted back to the bank, they saw a tall bull moose rise from the grasses. He was beautiful, huge, and right in the way of their canoe and their only exit from the river. More people are killed in national parks by moose than by any other animal, and she knows this glorious night could change in a matter of seconds.

Their only choice was to paddle back upriver, into total darkness. They hadn’t planned on this extended adventure, but suddenly it required everything of them. John had to focus and steer skillfully. Stasi had to paddle with all her strength. One mistake could sweep them and their boys downriver into the night.

(Spoiler Alert.)They survived.

And she went on to write:

“We did it. He did. I did. We rose to the challenge working together, and the fact that it required all of me, that I was in it with my family and for my family, that I was surrounded by wild, shimmering beauty and it was, well, kind of dangerous, made the time . . . transcendent. I was no longer Stasi. I was Sacagawea, Indian Princess of the West, a valiant and strong woman.”

I draw a square around this paragraph. These words resonate with me.  Mostly.

Editing

With my pen, I begin slashing at words and phrases that aren’t mine. We. He. Working Together.

I cross them out with thick, bold lines, because sometimes – and right then, in that moment – it still makes me mad.

With those words gone, now I have a paragraph I can identify with.

I did it. I did. I rose to the challenge, and the fact that it required all of me, that I was in it with my family and for my family, that I was surrounded by wild, shimmering beauty and it was, well, kind of dangerous, made the time . . . transcendent.

I am a valiant, strong warrior.

 

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