The Lifeboat

Sunday has always been a busy day for me. As a kid it was the day that felt like it should be a Saturday, but ended up feeling more like a school day without the homework. Hurry up and get ready, jump in the car, lunch at a restaurant after the service and then back home to get ready for the dreaded Monday. Nowadays its still busy, but it has made itself into the one day that I have some genuine quiet time. Preacher man goes to the church really early, before I'm even out of bed actually, and the kids somehow sleep in really late on Sundays. I have some delicious solitude with no obligations, all to myself and I must admit that I revel in it. I do my devotions and sip on coffee and listen to some beautiful music, and I write.

As a kid and even now, much to my first born film student's chagrine, I have always hated inherently sad movies. Anything with a dog and a kid, an animal on a cross country trek, a man in the wilderness, a mother losing her children, orphans, you name the scenario and I could tell you it was gonna be sad and I was under no circumstances going to lay eyes upon it. I don't care how good it is. My thinking is this, life is sad enough on its own, I don't want to spend my free time, my precious spare moments, crying about a stinking movie.

The thing is I feel like I'm trapped in a really-sad-movie-that-I-wouldn't-watch right now. My whole family was traveling across the ocean on a ship, off to find some adventure. Three shots to the starboard bow and she's going down and we're all adrift together in a raft. What a turn of events, eh? We lost a few. They didn't make it. And here I am and even though I know that they always say to make sure that your life vest is secure before you help anyone else, that's not in my DNA. Count off-one, two, three, four, five, six. All accounted for. Is Joshua ok? He's here. Alright, now what? Oh, me. Ha.

So here we are and even though I know that the real rescue has already occured, in the sense that we even had a raft or life preservers, I'm still desperately wanting out of this situation. When will it end? When will we stop feeling the waves beneath us and the sun beating down on our faces? How long until we reach solid ground again?

This depth of grief is unlike anything I've ever experienced before. There will be days when things feel almost normal, and then I get sucked back in by some invisible force and the tears overwhelm me. I've lost before and I've recovered. But this is so much deeper and scarier and I can't bottle this up, I can't conceal my distress.

When I was about 15, my family took a trip to Hawaii and we visited a calm bay to enjoy a day of snorkeling. Somehow I found the outside of the sheltered area and was astonished by the waves crashing angrily on the other side. Ahhhh, people were venturing out on the volcanic rock and standing there on the pitted outcropping letting the waves crash up and splash all around them. I stepped out a little, but still kept to the safe wall behind me, afraid of being caught away by the waves.

Today, I don't have that luxury. There is only safety in this raft, in the hands of the Father who has all things in His control. And that's what I'm holding to.

Psalm 107:23-32
Some of you set sail in big ships;
    you put to sea to do business in faraway ports.
Out at sea you saw God in action,
    saw his breathtaking ways with the ocean:
With a word he called up the wind—
    an ocean storm, towering waves!
You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out;
    your hearts were stuck in your throats.
You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk,
    you didn’t know which end was up.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
    he got you out in the nick of time.
He quieted the wind down to a whisper,
    put a muzzle on all the big waves.
And you were so glad when the storm died down,
    and he led you safely back to harbor.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
    for his miracle mercy to the children he loves.
Lift high your praises when the people assemble,
    shout Hallelujah when the elders meet!


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