This mother’s day we were joined by our good friends, the Catindigs, for a day of kayaking. Myself, my hubby, Pam, Troy and their daughters, Taylor and Haley launched 4 kayaks and a tandem kayak from behind our house and paddled into adventure! This day will hence forth be known as the Great Mother’s Day Marsh Maze!
Our house backs up to an inlet off the Chesapeake, off this inlet are numerous water trails that snake though what is known as Salt Ponds/Marshes. The weekend prior to this, while kayaking with Troy and Pam, we discovered a nice waterway that circled us back around to the house. We planned to repeat this journey on our Mother’s day endeavor….but it was not so easy.
We knew the direction we needed to paddle, and THOUGHT we remembered which of the many turns we should take to find our way home…..but this is where things got out of hand. After paddling down one way for a while we found ourselves at a dead-end. Everyone turned around and we retraced our path and attempted to correct our mistake. We thought we were on the right path at last. We soon found ourselves scrapping the bottom of our kayaks on the VERY shallow/ oyster lined sea bed. After a bit of scootching( I know this is not a real word, but it is the best way to describe this particular Kayak technique) and using our paddles to shove off the ground, we turned back again to find deeper water.
We each took turns picking the next route. We could see just above the tall marsh grass, and knew we were close to where we needed to be, but seemed to be off just a bit each time. At one point our paddling took us behind a cluster of townhouses whose back decks overlooked the marsh. As we paddled by, I looked up and noticed a homeowner standing on their deck, no doubt entertained by our motley kayaking crew. From his vantage point I suppose he could see which path would actually connect to the way out of the marsh. How funny we must have appeared as we maneuvered through the maze of marsh grass. It would have been nice if he would have yelled out a hint or two. We eventually discovered the way home. It was a beautiful day and, even though we were lost for part of it, we enjoyed the journey
Today I am thinking of another kayaking adventure I once encountered. Years ago, Linmarie, the daughter of our good friends, and I took off into the great unknown in my tandem kayak. “The great unknown”, was nothing more than a tiny creek just off the Potomac where we had been boating. We were paddling along the shoreline when she saw the small creek heading inland….we HAD to explore it.
The tiny creek got increasingly tinier the further we went. Eventually the water was so shallow we became wedged in a bank of sludge/sand. The creek was too narrow for us to turn around, so backing the kayak up was our only exit option. Now, Linmarie was an experienced, collegiate, rower…so I had expectations for her abilities. This situation called for creative maneuvering and Linmarie had it under control! Yep, as I sat in the back and pushed off the side of the creek bank for all I was worth…Linmarie stood up, leaned over, and grabbing the bow of our kayak began to rock us back and forth! Mud and grass flew in every direction as we pried ourselves free. By the time we reemerged from the creek and back to the Potomac, seaweed and mud dangled from our hat brims and my sides hurt from all the laughing we did! This is forever one of my favorite memories of my time with Linmarie.
Linmarie battled an aggressive cancer this last year. Yesterday we learned she had found rest in the arms of her God. She was too young, it was too soon, it does not make sense, why her? Even as a Christian I find myself asking God those questions. It is always a struggle when we see those we love suffer, or when life is unduly difficult, unfair or unjust. There are so many times in life when I just do not understand WHY things happen….then I consider our kayaking adventures.
Our vantage point in life is limited by our circumstances. God is like the man on his back deck overlooking the marsh. God sees the bigger picture, He is the bigger picture. Sometimes, when we seek to understand the way, purpose or pattern of life, God gives us peace, direction or understanding…..but sometimes He allows us to travel down various paths trusting He knows the way, even if we do not. We may get stuck or need to turn around from time to time. We may be frustrated by our lack of a better vantage point, or wish we had all the big picture in which to make our choices. But in all things we know God has a plan and purpose in all that He allows in our lives.
Sometimes in life we just keep paddling, knowing God’s plans are best. His love for us is beyond all understanding and His ways beyond our comprehension. Paddle each day confident in His love for us, His provision and His grace. He is beneath us, above us, beside us, in front of us and behind us. Even when I do not understand, I will trust in Him. He is with us in our journey, keep paddling!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6