One of my daughters worked at a summer camp and toward the end of the season, she asked me to organize a kayak trip for a bunch of the staff. Her co-workers were from many different countries but all spoke English. I chose a stretch of local river and set everything up. On the appointed day a large van of young people piled out to the edge of the river.

Now, if you’ve ever been kayaking you know that oftentimes the river will split and you must decide to go either left or right. A general rule of thumb is to stay to the high side of the river but that is where many of the obstacles develop. If you are in a group and the lead vessel chooses a side you can follow them or try your own way. If they run aground in shallow water then those who follow them will get stuck as well. I like to kayak alone so I can set my own pace and make my own calculations. The problem with that is if you get into a jam (log jam that is), you have no one to help you and that can be dangerous. It is safer to travel in a group, and if everyone is of a similar mindset, the journey can be lovely indeed.

We recently had an election and our place in that reminds me of that kayak trip. Even though the young people liked floating together the river would split and they had to choose a side. Nobody always choses the smooth flowing water all the time so everyone ran aground at least once. Fortunately, they all realized that with a little struggle and some help they would all return to the natural flow of the river.

Nearly everyone I know shares the same values and basic beliefs and we all work together and support our communities together. Our journey on the river of life is a beautiful one, but many issues divide the water. My point is that we have to be able to navigate both sides of the water if we wish to get anywhere. My daughter's co-workers all came from very different backgrounds and life experiences and yet, with some struggle and lots of humor, they came together just fine. We will too.