Often times I write of how our trawler is a metaphor for our lives. In these dark days of the Coronavirus I find myself once again referring back to the comfort of the cruising trawler. We do not know what is ahead of us right now. We do not know when our stores can open up, our towns can open up, our arms can open up. We wait. We wait. And we wait.
I am reminded daily of the nights we have spent cruising on the Pascagoula River. Maybe we stayed too long with friends in the swimming hole. Or perhaps a late afternoon squall kept us hunkered on the beach at Horn Island. Either way we find ourselves in the dark gliding slowly up the river to our homeport. My skipper is a master at night navigation. He has taught me the need for extreme care and patience. The sky, the trees, and the water each bear a shade of dark grey to pitch black once the sun has slipped over the horizon. There is no way to know which way the water will lead unless you wait. At each bend in the river as the sky sends its soft grey glow to the surface of the water the way slowly comes into view. The reflection of the trees frame the banks of the river and the way opens up. It never fails. Navigate one curve this way and wait for the way to open ahead of you and follow it that way.
Some nights we became anxious. Perhaps clouds are brewing or fatigue setting in but the purr of the engines in the dark night assures us we will arrive safely at the dock if we hold steady the wheel, and keep our eyes on the sky. Ironically, before we learned the gift of the revealing night sky we used a huge bright beam to attempt to see the way only to have its white light blind us more as it reflected off of the bow. The process can’t be hurried. We can not shine a light into the darkness and not be blinded by its beam.
I feel blessed to have spent my time on this trawler. A swift vessel might have made me less confident about what lies ahead. It’s all about the journey in the trawler cruising world. Nothing happens quickly. There is only one way to navigate this uncertain path we are on. Just as the river will open up ahead of our boat so too will the path of life that awaits us in the post-Covid landscape. When? Only God knows that answer right now. So we wait. Knowing we will arrive safely at the dock if we hold steady at the helm, keep our eyes focused on the varying shades of darkness and believe that the way will reveal itself at exactly the right time.