Last month I was able to enjoy a get away with my hubby and several friends. We chartered a boat, and Scott (aka: hubby) captained it for us in the British Virgin Islands for a week. Which is how I came to be paddling a kayak around a place called Soper’s Hole Wharf and Marina near Tortola.
Soper’s Hole has an active marina, but it is also home to a very busy boat yard. As I paddled along the outer edges of the inlet it was clear that this was also a place where old boats go to die. Just below the surface, in the shallow water, several boat carcasses could be seen in various stages of decay. Further up the shoreline, and closer to the actual boat yard, larger boats (mostly old sail boats) listed awkwardly at anchor. They seemed eerily abandoned and definitely lacked upkeep of any kind. Just beyond these were the boats currently being serviced I supposed. A handful of boats sat at anchor near the shore with the tale tell signs of being “mid project” with scattered oil cans, rags, spare parts and open hatches and doors. From the amount of marine growth on their hauls, I think it is safe to assume that no one was hurrying to complete repairs.
Once I passed the boat yard area I noticed a small waterway heading off to the left of the marina. I was overwhelmed with curiosity…I thought the inlet ended at the boat yard/marina. I paddled slowly as I rounded a small bend, unsure of what I would find and certain it would be a dead end and I’d need to reverse paddle at any moment. Instead, what I found was a waterway that continued to get progressively narrow….narrow, but still inviting.
I was hesitant to continue along the passage. I could see there was a small bridge to pass under ahead, but could not see beyond that. I was concerned I’d get to an area too narrow for me to turn the kayak around if needed. There was a gentleman working on a small boat nearby. I called out to him and asked if he could tell me what was “down that way” as I pointed toward the tiny bridge. He stood and stretched, then wiped his brow with a greasy hand leaving a black streak. Belatedly he wiped his hands on a rag he took from his tool box as he looked to where I was pointing. Then he said it….he uttered what is perhaps the MOST unhelpful yet Most profound statement I have ever heard. “Well, you go under the bridge, and you will be in a different place.”
Um, Thanks? I shook my head in confusion, but continued to paddle. I had to see this “different place” for myself.
I mentioned the bridge (the one I had to paddle under, the one upon which cars and small trucks were passing over regularly) was tiny right? Not only was it narrow and low, but I also noticed upon closer inspection that it was being held up by rocks and numerous, worn and threadbare, bags of sand. But I kept going….after all, the “different place” was just on the other side!
Well, the World’s Most Unhelpful man was right, I had indeed found myself in a different place! It was a large cove on the back side of the island. It was expansive and impressive. It was devoid of any boats, and waves rolled up into the cove and broke in white peaks beyond the shoreline. Homes were nestled up in the surrounding hills and more mangroves filled the water’s edges. It was shockingly different from the busy, boat filled area I had just left.
As I paddled back toward our boat I could not keep from thinking about those unhelpful words… “Well, you go under the bridge, and you will be in a different place.”
I think that is a good way to consider any life journey….When you go, you will end up in a different place. We may not know where we are going, but it will not be the same as where we are now. We will not be the same. Going, doing, moving, and living life will always bring us to a different place. I may not always welcome the difference. But I love knowing that my God journeys with me as I enter every new and different place and phase of life.
The God Who went before the Israelites as they wondered in the desert, the God Who parted waters and the God Who brought them to a promised land, is THE SAME GOD who created me, the same God Who set my journey in motion and the SAME GOD Who guides me to “a different place” every day!
“And the Lord is the one Who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Duet.31:8)