Thursday, November 16, 2017

assorted passengers

Wind and whitecaps today, but we’re on the boat anyways. He steers us right into the stomach-dropping waves, and as we cruise along I observe the manifold reactions.

One asks me questions I can’t answer: “How big are these waves? What happens if this or that happens? Is this a good idea?” I’m not sure, but I think it’s safe because I trust his dad, and his dad is going forward (with a small smile, even.)

One snuggles close to me.  He puts my arms around him just so, and then he bows his head in prayer. He keeps his eyes closed, praying, fearing, enduring.

The youngest knows just how to cope: it’s time for a nap.  He pulls a blanket over his head and is asleep in an instant. I’m not sure if this is evidence of strong faith, or some kind of stress overload shutdown effect, but I watch his sleeping body bouncing all over with the waves and I am amazed.

A giant wave, a hard landing, and I let out an angry, “HUN!” Yes, I’m a little scared, and my anxiety can easily turn into anger at the one with the steering wheel.  He can’t control the waves, he says, and I can tell he’s trying not to laugh at me.

One child does much better if he can stand. He holds on loosely, and his knees are bent so he can sway with the boat and keep his balance. He’s not in control, and he’s not trying to be: he’s just keeping his eyes forward and accepting the waves as they come.

And then, there’s the group of crazies. They’re sitting in the very front, hollerin’ encouragement to the waves.  One keeps flying off his seat while his sister holds the tail of his life jacket.  Water sprays them and they scream-laugh; it pours down their faces and they greet it with wild-eyed excitement and screams for more, more, more!  When we get there, they will be the ones to talk excitedly about the ride to anyone who will listen for days to come. They will be exhausted but happy.  I admire them, but I do not sit with them.

And the captain simply keeps driving forward.

A wild one gets scared and comes back to snuggle me. The sleeping one gets brave and moves to the front. The standing one gets tired and sits down for a rest and a prayer. And still, the boat stays the course. The captain knows the seas, and he can keep his bearings even in rough weather.

The captain guides his boat with his assorted children, and eventually each one gets to land safely.  Because, you see, the success of the venture depends on the captain.

Father in heaven,
Captain of my ship! Guide me in rough seas and in calm. Thank you for your strong hand on the wheel, for your promise to carry your children to safety.  My own feelings toss me about so; thank you for staying the course even when your children aren’t handling it well.  Keep me in the boat that you are steering Lord: I am helpless out there without you!  In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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