Staying the Course
“To pursue a goal regardless of any obstacles or criticism”
Recently Dave and I went for a weekend adventure together on our “new” boat. We loaded up on soup and crackers, chocolate and cheese and hit the ocean, ready for some much needed time together.
We have both been going full tilt for a couple of years now. We used to commit our weekends to each other and the kids. On the rare days we worked a Saturday it was for the tree service and we did it together, me dragging branches, him paying me in smiles from the tree. We were working hard together, building our company, but still getting our quality time in.
When our businesses expanded they started to leak in to Saturdays, Sundays becoming recovery days (laundry, groceries, clean up from week, estimates that needed to be done, clients that needed to be called etc) and just like that our weekends together disappeared.
Recently we heard a sermon at church about taking a rest day, taking time to allow growth and God into our lives by taking time outs. We really needed to hear it and we heard it, loud and clear. That day after church we both cancelled our Sunday “work” commitments for the rest of the day and checked the calendar for the next weekend we could spend together, like the “old” days. We had been pushing it, not letting in enough time to breath and we knew it. We scheduled it and before we knew it our weekend was here.
As we headed out, armed with winter gear, waterproofs and a fair amount of enthusiasm we went exploring. Camping on the west coast.
The first morning we woke up to glassy seas, morning calm and we thanked the Lord for the day, so grateful for the time together, the solitude and the freshness of it all. We set out in our tiny dinghy to explore a river, saw a bear foraging on the shore, seals playing in the water, eagles flying overhead. Dave showed me a waterfall and everything was perfect and romantic and we felt full and grateful for the experience. As the day progressed the weather began to change. We persevered through some big seas, found a sheltered bay to stay the night and hunkered down.
The next morning was quite a contrast to the first morning… gone were our glassy seas, wind warnings were in effect, our sheltered bay did not feel so sheltered and the sideways rain beat against the windows, we both knew it was time to return home.
Untying the boat from our floating dock, Dave handed me the ropes from both aft and stern and said; “Hold her tight, when I tell you to jump on, let go of the ropes and get on the boat”. Ummmmm. It’s a big boat, and I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to holding onto massive boats fighting big winds. He jumped on, the boat started to pull, I said I can’t hold it!! He said Okay let go of the ropes and jump on. I started screaming… I laugh as I type this but I was freaking out. I screamed; “just let go and jump on?” He said “yes, let go and jump on”. I did. We pulled out and entered the storm head on. Dave drove from the top of the boat, I remained in the cabin. Both of us having silent conversations in our heads about what we needed to do to get home.
We had organized a code, if he needed me he would tap three times on the roof. We focussed, we stayed the course and somewhere out there in the blue grey of the storm I felt a calm wash over me.
I remembered feeling grateful for yesterday morning and the perfect conditions, I remembered to Thank God for each day, not just the ideal ones, so I gave a prayer of thanks for today. Immediately the phrase “The Gracious hand of God goes before you in everything you do” popped into my mind. I understood for the first time a new kind of faith, trusting God was going before our boat, each wave, each gust already written.
Up top Dave was also speaking to the sea, thinking about how life is just like this, some days perfection, and then some days calling you to be everything you are, use all of your skill, lean into the wind, forget comfort zone just stay the course and do what needs to be done to get to the goal. To get home.
God is calling all of us to be grateful in the good days and the storm, to guide each other, to ready the boat, to be strong and hold and to let go and jump on when you have to. To take the time out so there is room for conversations with the sea.
I truly believe it is the stormy days which hone us, the storms which turn us into what we were meant to be. So the next time you feel the winds starting to blow, take a moment to say thank you, then turn and go with them, be strong enough to hold, do your best to know when to let go and jump on, stay the course, know that every chapter is already written and head on home.