Last week’s tragic loss of life on the Italian cruise ship was so unnecessary, there wasn’t even a storm. I had one stormy sailing experience I care never to repeat. I wrote this account a few months later.
As Diane picks the next song, I recall Pastor Glenn’s sermon from several months ago. Diabetes…discouraged…He went for a walk…and sang….When life is hard sing! Sing praises to God! Yes Diane, let’s keep singing!
My husband and I are traveling in Greece with our niece Diane, and her husband Rich. Last week we toured by car. Now we are on a 43′ sailboat touring the Cyclades Islands. This portion of the trip is rapidly deteriorating. The meltemi winds, incessant blowing north winds, are uncharacteristically continuing into mid-October. Mornings I serve Dramamine at breakfast. Sailing is not fun. Nights feel like sleeping in a washing machine. The constant howling wind makes me edgy.
Today sailing across the Aegean Sea conditions grow
worse as winds increase: steady at 28-30 knots,
gusts of 35. Waves build 10 and 12 feet high. Water
splashes over our bow. Wind and waves combine to push the side rail under water, as the boat bottom rolls up. Even with a life jacket and tethered to the boat, I feel vulnerable. My husband’s face is stern as he works to keep the boat on course.
Diane and I sing every song we can think of: Great is Thy Faithfulness, Joy to the World, Jesus Loves Me. A wave. Something bangs down below. The boat lurches. My body hurts from bracing. A few seconds rest. Next wave is big — too big. It crashes over the cockpit. Rich wraps his arms around the backstay to hold on. The wave totally engulfs him. It rushes past the rest of us. Everyone okay?
We continue singing. “Shout to the Lord all the earth, let us sing…” We laugh at our strained voices. Are you hearing us, Lord?
“In the stars His handiwork I see, in the wind He speaks with majesty…” What an awesome storm. How amazing it must have been when Jesus calmed the storm with a simple “Peace, be still.” This mighty God loves me. He knows I’m afraid. Even in the midst of the storm I feel an inexplicable peace.
The hours go by one long minute at a time. We sing as much as we can. It isn’t easy, but Diane and I feel panicky when we stop.
The island draws near. Finally in port, peace and bravery disappear. I sob in my husband’s arms.
“It’s okay. We’re safe now,” he gently croons. I ignore the curious Greek sailors watching from the pier and cling to my husband.
The Lord does not promise a life free from storms, but He does promise to be with us. We can choose to sing praise even when we’re unsure about life at the moment. One day when all life’s storms are over and each of us arrives at the journey’s end, He will wrap us in His arms and say, “It’s okay You’re safe now.” And then our purest praise will just begin!
|Worn out by wind, sea and my tears, a nap was in order
|Feeling better on shore by the Aegean