Five Years Sailing These Seas

Danny Silk once said something in one of his teachings about how storms, not calm seas, are where we really learn to sail a ship. I later discovered that the idea came from an old English proverb:

“A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.” – English Proverb.

Regardless of its origins, though, the idea of embracing storms because they force us to learn to navigate deep waters encouraged me at the time (and still does), particularly because the seas of our marriage have been anything but calm.

Yesterday Derek and I celebrated five years of marriage. As I reflect on these five years of sharing home (five different homes, in fact) and life, I feel a deep sense of appreciation for the storms we have encountered (hard though they have been) because of what they have taught us about communication and forgiveness, about addressing our past wounds and walking in more wholeness, about loving unconditionally and giving vulnerably, and about trusting the Lord in every season and process.

Out of that reflection, I wrote this poem for Derek and gave it to him for our anniversary:

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Stormy Seas and Skillful Sailors

To the one who has sailed stormy seas
with me.

We embarked in a burst of champagne
and the resounding cheers of well-wishers,
glided out of safe harbor
and into roiling waters.

We felt the deck roll beneath our feet,
lost our balance,
fell flat on our faces,
our breath knocked out by the gale,
the salt of these seas on our tongues,
our first taste of open waters.
We wondered if we would ever rest
on solid ground again.

But in the churning and tossing
we learned the rhythm of these waves,
tuned our ears to every creak of this ship,
unfurled our sails to harness these tempests.
Our hands learned to grasp at solid wood
or a swinging rope
each time the ship threatened to fling us down.

And we came to trust our Captain
the One who steers this ship
and calms the seas.

Now, side by side,
we gaze boldly into the sunrise,
fiery hope spreading
rosy and golden on the horizon,
Heaven above reflected
in smooth seas below.

And we are not afraid
of the storms yet to come
for we are learning to sail this ship.



My Weekend (In Case You Wondered)

I started listing off my weekend in paragraph form, but then, this seemed better to capture the feeling of abundance in this season and this weekend in particular:

a short walk down a
leaf-littered sidewalk
crisp underfoot
to a sunny picnic table
an open bible
a half-filled journal
a stack of questions
and a breeze that tumbled
vibrant red leaves
around the slide and
across the lawn

Back home
Applesauce making
juicy hands (and sore wrists)
stirring a simmering pot of
sweetness and spice
and a shiny new pressure canner
(a birthday gift)
hissing and steaming
And while it cooks

Lesson planning and letter writing
twisting long strings of words
around the frame of a full life
folding them into an envelope
to send over seven hundred miles
to my sister sister

That evening
a mini van to a rodeo
and a top row of bleachers
dust churning below us
at the edge of our seat in appreciation
for the majestic strides of the galloping horses
the powerful kicks of the bulls
and the fine art of lassoing a cow
(perhaps less appreciation for
sequins, drawls, and presidential jokes)

early morning drizzle
coffee, prayer, worship
then song singing
playdough making and
treasure hunting with kiddos
with the treasure of Jesus in their hearts

Afternoon drive with the girls
to a pumpkin patch
hillbilly golf and cornhole
(and “tic tac toilet seat for those who dared)
bleating goats and laughing kids
the rumble of a hayride
and chatting in the afternoon sun

Home again
to roast vegetables and
talk homeschooling

collaborative gathering
bearing a savory celebration of fall
pumpkin, chard, cheese, turnips, bread, wine
and laughter
more laughter
rolling deep and often
into the darkness of evening
with the smell of fall through the window
and finally
goodbyes on the porch
bags of pumpkins, pears, apples
(genuine Wisconsin gown)
swinging in hand

And home
to talk of our house and
chat with Abba
about His plans for this family
and finally
reading time with my husband
snuggled under the covers
Harry Potter and hobbits until bedtime

(Normally this is where I would end with an artsy fall photo –  or, more likely, a whole string of photos – but alas, my camera died a couple weeks ago :-( so for now the word pictures will have to do)