I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world! John 16:33
My family and I are on a vacation in Florida. Though we have been to the beach many times, this is our first to a beach with just my immediate family and my first to Destin, Florida. I was a little anxious about coming because of the state of the world these days, as things seem to be rapidly deteriorating, but I decided to put my trust totally in the Lord, and I asked Him to bless the trip, or block it, His will be done. As we got ready to depart, I discovered a downed tree in my backyard. It was downed by the previous nights storm;
Jason and I decided to call a tree removal guy and have the whole tree removed. It’s a Bradford pear, so no love lost as they are prone to splitting and are quite insidious trees. So off we went traveling to Florida.
Along the way we encountered an Interstate that was closed due to an accident, and a hail storm;
I wasn’t sure if God was blocking or blessing our trip, but I decided to be patient, as patience is a virtue I need to work on. After 8.5 hours, we arrived at the destination that should have only taken 6.5 hours, but we were safe and none the worse for wear.
We had saved up some money so we promised the kids we would do some fun things on this trip. My husband Jason, whom many know I lovingly call Mr. Finance Pants, and I decided to take the kids on a Snorkeling and Dolphin sight seeing boat trip this morning. It was quite expensive in terms of what we normally do, but we were excited and so were the kids.
We arrived at the boat dock just in time to see a storm cell moving in. There was lightening and thunder all over. The people at the sight seeing place assured us we would still have a trip but there would be a delay. We went and sat under an awning as rain, lightening and thunder poured all around us.
After about an hour, we were given the all clear. But I still had trepidation. You could still see storm cells around us, as well as lightening, though not as close as it had been. I decided, surely the boat Captain is used to this so we can trust his judgement on safety. On the way up to the dock, I saw this on the back of a T-shirt;
I thought to myself, “I’m following St. Catherine.” I couldn’t help but think of the metaphor here between my situation and life with God. I am boarding this ship, which is surrounded by storms and I am trusting that all will come out okay. The ship reminded me of the Barque of Peter.
“if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” 1:Timothy 3:15
As we boarded the ship, we got our picture taken by the ships crew;
And off we went, driving a boat into what looked like another storm cell to me. I had confidence in the Captain who must know not to drive us into a lightening storm. The Captain began speaking. “Hello, my name is Skylar, and I will be your Captain.” Oh my, I was pretty sure Skylar was 15. Well maybe he was 25, but still, I just put my family on a boat, near storms, in the hands of Skylar, the 15 year old, I thought to myself;
Skylar navigating our boat
As Skylar began to drive, with the lightening and thunder in the distance, I decided I had no control, and that now is as good a time as any to let go, say “Jesus I trust in you,” and hope that Skylar really does know what he is doing.
As we drove off, the song, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” by U2, played over the loud speaker. I thought, isn’t that the cry of every human heart… We are looking for the Father.
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” John 14:8
I really want to be shown the Father, but Lord, not today, I thought to myself, as I sat back into the boat.
We arrived at the place to snorkel. Skylar informed us of how everything should be done. Over on the other side of the rocks from where we were, I could still see a lightening storm. It was probably far off, but it seemed close to me. I looked out into the other direction of the sky and saw two clouds forming columns;
I immediately thought of St. John Bosco’s vision of two columns. I again felt like I was living in a metaphor. I was on a boat with a storm nearby, but I know, the Blessed Mother, and Mother Church that gives the Eucharist are my guides, today as much as any other day. I hopped in the water and I began snorkeling with my children and my husband. Though the weather above wasn’t great, there was a calm beneath the sea. The snorkel makes you breathe slow and steady, you can hear every breath you take. I know all that I am and all that I have belong to God. I feel a sense of peace.
After we finish snorkeling, we climb back aboard the ship to go see dolphins, and ride around on the boat awhile. Dolphins really are breath taking creatures that God created. After awhile, the skies began to clear, and Skylar announced that the children can come up and drive the boat;
My son and my daughter driving the boat
I found meaning in the clear skies with the children driving;
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3
The day became beautiful and as Journey’s “Don’t stop believing” played on the radio, I looked up at the American flag flying atop the boat, and I saw another flag flying underneath it;
He was guiding us all along, saying Do not be afraid in the midst of the storm, and leading us to a joyful day.
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Ecclesiastes 9:7
Whatever storms life brings upon us, remember to walk with Christ, and that though we all will endure suffering, there is always joy on the other side.
I pray everyday for the Father to make my will one with His. That I mean the words of the Our Father…Thy Will Be Done… and that no matter my misteps, taking my family out in a boat in a storm, he will make straight my crooked path, or my crooked wake as the case may be.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6