We have become accustomed to the ocean tides constantly ebbing out and flowing in. It is a pattern that repeats day after day, but each repetition is unique. Depending on the phase of the moon, the tide may be extra high, or extra low. The ebb and flow of the tide also creates strong currents of which we need to be aware. If we are traveling with the current, we can pick up some extra speed (and travel faster than our maximum 7 mph). But if we travel against a strong current, our forward progress can become agonizingly slow. Hence the phrase, “Don’t buck the current.”
When we look at the big picture of our lives, we also see an ebb and flow. The biggest flow, of course, was the flow of hours and energy devoted to our work lives. We had regular ebbs on the weekends, and occasional ebbs on periodic vacations. The largest ebb in this context has been our retirement from work and busy schedules.
If we dial the microscope in on our current life, we also notice an ebb and flow: 8 months of the year are spent at our permanent home, where we engage in the flow of daily life, relationships and community. Then we spend 4 months at ebb as we draw away from schedules and enjoy the anticipation of awaking every morning to a new and relatively unplanned adventure. We adjust our lives to the rhythm of nature: We sleep when we are tired, wake up when we are rested, eat when we are hungry. Clocks and calendars don’t disappear, but they are no longer at the forefront.
“What do you do with your time?” is a question we are frequently asked by our friends. For those who’ve never experienced boating life, it may seem that we could get bored with this lifestyle. If I am honest, there have been a few times when I think, “What shall I do?” Mike is busy with a project, I don’t feel like reading, we aren’t near shore to go for a walk, I miss my friends, etc. But these times are infrequent.
Generally, the day includes an over-breakfast discussion of the day’s options. Shall we stay here, or go elsewhere? Sometimes we stay put for a few days. Other times we travel to a new destination. There are many attractions, and we will never run out of new things to experience. Nature surrounds us each day, and there are spectacular sunsets. Plants, animals, birds – we enjoy them all. As the honking geese fly overhead, we can hear the wind in their wings. It’s amazing! Paths through the forest open up to breathtaking views of oceans and mountains. Small seaside towns provide a fun diversion as we stroll along the sidewalks to find unique shops and restaurants. People we meet along the way are friendly. Who has time to be bored? Contentment is a great blessing, and we are content with whatever each day brings us.
This year’s boating season brought us a new ebb and flow of visitors! We have had 21 people visit Voyager during the past couple of months. Some stayed briefly, but most stayed for a few days, and some as long as a week. We have taken great pleasure in sharing the boat blessings we’ve been given. It is a joy to watch people transition from busy scheduled lives to a state of relaxation and a feeling of well-being. We think of it as offering a retreat from normal life, where our guests can experience a “re-set.” There is rest for the soul in beautiful surroundings. A sentiment that is often expressed by our visitors is, “it doesn’t get any better than this.” We agree!
Now, as we enter the ebb of concluding days of our summer away, and prepare to flow back into life at home, we count our blessings. We have a couple more weeks to enjoy here before we pack up Voyager and put her to bed for the winter. Life is good. We are grateful and content. We thank the Lord of Creation for beauty, safety, provision and good fellowship.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain; a time to get and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silent, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace”. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
A time to ebb and a time to flow…