I believe that we should all be flexible. My whole life has been spent watching a river; my home is literally 30 yards from the bank of the Wabash River. I remember one cold January, the river came up extremely fast in the middle of the night. It sped by, taking huge chunks of ice with it, carving portions out of the bank like a knife through soft butter. The shore line changed so quickly right before my eyes. Life is the same as the river. Everything can change in an instant -- plans, people, events, weather, everything. If we flex and move along with it, our lives will become free flowing and easier to handle.
When I think of flexible people, the first person that comes to mind is my color guard instructor. No, he didn’t have his middle splits and he couldn’t do a back bend, but whenever there was a crisis he was always calm and collected. Color guard brings a lot of emotions into one’s life -- mostly stress, chaos and anxiety. It is a constant feeling that something is on fire. Our instructor was always the cool water to douse those flames. Whether it be a fight between us, a costume malfunction, crazy guard moms or a bad show, he was always there with a solution. He had the flexibility to fix the problem. It was a great lesson to learn from him, because little did I know I would have to apply that same flexibility to my life.
On a cold December morning a few years ago I woke up to the news that my father was in the hospital with a life- threating condition. As soon as I got that news my life changed. I was now the caretaker of my house and my younger sister. My role was an extreme amount of pressure. I had not been prepared for the hurt, the responsibility, the constant anxiety of the situation. But reassured by my family and pure optimism, I persevered. New challenges were thrown at me every day. Without the flexibility I had, I wouldn’t have been able to fill the role I needed to. This would have made the situation a lot harder to deal with for my mother, grandmother and sisters. I learned a lot from this situation and others like it.
Every time I am shoved into a stressful position, I use the lessons learned from these events. I have learned that sometimes you have to do the splits to make the dance of life work. I’ve learned to let life change my course just like the ice changed the river on that cold night. Langston Hughes writes, “My soul has grown deep like the rivers,” and through flexibility my soul will grow deep as well.
This I believe.