For most of my childhood, my parents owned a sailboat. First a little daysailer on
White Bear Lake, then a cruiser that they kept on Lake Pepin. When the weather
was nice and the wind was good, we’d spend the better part of a Saturday sailing
around the lake, enjoying our time together out on the water.
Before we even got to the boat, we could tell a lot about what the day might hold.
As soon as the lake came into view, we were checking out the other boats. If there
were lots out with sails up, that promised a good day. Just a few usually meant that
the conditions were less than ideal (or that you were playing hookey and had come
mid-week). We’d grasp at every detail we could get: Are the sails full or reefed? Is
anyone flying a spinnaker? Are they heeling over and making way or just bobbing
along? Even now, years since they sold the boat, I still like seeing sails out on the
lake and trying to figure out what the wind’s doing out there.
The fun of sailing in the Midwest is that the wind is almost never consistent. Even
when it’s good, the wind speed varies, seemingly at random, and the direction can
swing through 180 degrees, often with little warning. On the ocean, in contrast, a
sailor can sometimes set the sails, lock the wheel, and let the same wind carry her
along for hours or days. But on the lakes around here? Not a chance. You either sail
where the wind blows you—a varied and twisty path—or you keep to a straight
line by constantly adjusting rudder and the sails. Smooth sailing takes a fair amount
Maybe it’s just life with a preschooler, but sometimes it seems like it takes lots of
work just to keep things humming along. When I find myself wondering at how it
can possibly take so much work just to keep things going on an even keel (so to
speak), I remember the boats on Pepin. Whether they’re racing, or trying to get
somewhere, or just out for a sail, the crews are all pulling together to keep their
boats heading in the right direction.
When I find myself worn out or overwhelmed, I think of those boats sailing along
in the distance. I remember how their steady motion hides the tireless work that
such smooth sailing requires. And I offer thanks for this community of love,
support, and prayer that helps carry me along.
Yours in Christ,