I paddle out across the bay in Florida. When the day’s highs hit over the 100 mark, I head to the water in a kayak. Typically the surface is flat and smooth which makes paddling less difficult. Yet today was different. The winds were out of the east and my rule of thumb for kayaking is to head towards the winds first. It makes coming back to port less strenuous in the end. 

As I head across the bay, I reach the point of being equal distance between the two shores. Neither shore is a comfortable swimming distance. The wind is picking up along with the waves. I dig in deeper with my oars. I push against the wind harder. The front tip of the boat is dipping underneath the waves wetting my legs as I row. Each push forward is met with more water coming into the boat. If I turn and go back to the marina, the boat would fill from the backside. I have a moment of realization that the boat might fill with water faster than I can reach a shore. My mind starts to panic at the thought of being stranded in the bay without any help. I urge my thoughts to calm by breathing slowly and deeply. Trying to clear my mind of the fear, I push toward the distant shore while praying to make it. I know if I can get there, I will reach shallow waters and be able to empty the boat. I push forward with all my effort while fully focusing on making it to dry land.

So, yes, I made it. You, dear reader, realize that because otherwise this story wouldn't be told. To my great relief, I made it to the other side. I emptied the boat, rested a bit, then followed the curvatures of the bay to get back to the marina. 

My simple excursion took much longer than I anticipated. It wasn’t an experience I had planned for that day. I wasn’t anticipating the wind and waves to increase. But isn’t that an example of our lives?

Seems things happen that we weren’t necessarily expecting. Out of nowhere can come an increasing number of waves that rock our boat. We are caught off guard. We are uncertain of how to move forward. Fear floods our mind.

Let me urge you to breathe deeply. Calm the tumultuous thoughts. Try to clear the mind. Pray. And paddle like never before. Push forward in sheer determination that this won’t sink you. Push forward towards your destination. Keep your eyes forward instead of looking down at the current circumstances. You’ll make it. 

Then, oh then, the joyous relief you’ll feel when you circle around and come back to port. Where the harbor is safe. Where your feet are on solid ground. There, your heart will overflow with thanksgiving. You made it through the unexpected. You endured and are now safe and secure in the harbor again.



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