collecting stories

Fullness and fortitude…

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it has been a full couple of weeks. A good full, but full nonetheless. There was quite a bit of preparation going into my shop launch at the beginning of the month, then two birthdays for two of our boys, a Harry Potter-themed celebration with friends, field trips to war and art museums, chess club, guitar and ballet lessons, and of course, ever present doctor appointments. We are in the thick of our fall schedule now. It is perhaps the first autumn season in three years that is not laden with hospitalizations for one child or another. Even the ever present doctor appointments are greatly reduced, much to everyone’s relief. We have definitely crossed the threshold into a new normal.

I have looked forward to this season for a very long time, not realizing that, once arrived, it is very bittersweet indeed. It brings me great joy to see this day arrive, yet I am unbelievably shocked at how far off course my little boat has been blown. The grieving period is transitioning into rebuilding. But oh, how dirty, how exhausting!, such reconstruction can be.

I am humbled by how distracted I became by the constant buffeting.

I’m not sure how to characterize it exactly, other than to extend the boat metaphor. A sure captain keeps his eye on the horizon and the stars, the direction in which he is pointed. When the wind blows and storms, he doesn’t watch the wind, though he might glance at it. Neither does he look constantly at the boat, though he likely knows every deck board and sail like his own child’s face. He cares for it, certainly, but were he always looking down at the boat or up at the sails or at the buffeting wind, he would fast be off course. No- a good, wise captain focuses on where he is headed. When the winds blow, he adjusts the sails. When the deck splinters, he repairs. But day in and day out, he is ever looking for his way ahead. A captain that does not is headed for ship wreck.

That is where I find myself now, a formerly-distracted captain, shipwrecked on some island, most repairs affected and putting back to sea, knowing that the boat, while sea-worthy, will fast find itself becalmed, or worse, wrecked, if I don’t learn (and fast!) how to keep focused on the horizon, remembering the lessons of navigating. A deeply humbling thing.

I am grateful that each day is new, each day the sun rises, each day I can set my course again. There is incredible mercy in that; a mercy I don’t think I really understood prior to our long storms. The storms taught me fortitude and courage; now I must learn faithfulness and focus.

One Comment

  • elizabethroosje

    well said. I pray that the storms that have buffeted will not return and that the new normal can become a place of peace and healing as you all seek to move forward as a family. I think this can, as you allude to, be hard and require indeed a lot of prayer, perseverance and mercy.

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