Sailing in the Storm

How ideal. A picnic dinner eaten on a sailboat moored in hearing distance of an outdoor symphony. What a perfect way to spend a Friday and spend it we did one Friday when I was in junior high school.

Toward the end of the evening we turned around from watching the symphony and saw that all the boats behind our first row spot had picked up anchor and hoisted their sails back to their marinas. Then we looked up and discovered why. Huge black storm clouds loomed in the distance. We stowed our things with alarming alacrity, donned our life vests, and prepared to go head to head with the power of wind.

I had two choices that night. Climb in the crawl space under the bow or hold onto a rope while hanging my body over the side as an off setting weight to the strong winds on the sails. Hide in fear or participate in fear. Either way fear would be my constant companion. I am not an experienced sailer. The crawl space seemed scarier than hanging over the side of the boat so I clung to the rope suspended over waves.

That night quite a few boats capsized on the lake and helicopters with search lights circled. Lightening and thunder flashed. We did not capsize or get struck by lightening. No one of our party fell overboard. The storm passed and we breathed again…then we smiled and relived our near brush with disaster. A calm symphony followed by an exciting storm. Quite a night.

There are times when I enjoy the best life has to offer and then look around only to notice a huge storm coming. A frighteningly real threat. Do I hide in fear or do I ride through it knowing I might capsize or be thrown overboard? Feeling the wind and the rain on my face, being part of the team draws me out of the crawl space to live life. What if we capsize? What if I drop the rope and fall overboard? I rode. I felt the wind and the rain. Morning will come. We can find a way to right the ship. The searchlight will find me. Beyond that, I have no choice. Storms come.

But, what if we make it? Either way, swimming or sailing, I’ll have lived. Of course, I kind of prefer the calm but that rush of excitement after the storm passes…I rather like that too.


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