Monday, August 22, 2011

Back at Last!

A long and weary time has passed since I loaded my boat and headed for the lake. This spring, what seemed like a mystery illness spiraled out of control. Bit by bit I lost ordinary things: kayaking, driving the car, walking briskly, crafts, concentration enough to read serious books.  Test after test came back positive. A friend said, “I’ve never seen anyone cry because their blood work came back normal!”  My sister took me to Florida to visit Mom. I had to borrow my step Dad’s walker or lean on a shopping cart. Only short trips were possible, not much energy, not much stamina. Time for “finger nail faith.” The chorus that starts “Father I adore you…” kept running through my head.

In early July I saw a neurologist. I handed him four pages describing the history of the illness. He said, “I think your sleep study was read wrong and you’re not getting the deep levels of sleep that you need. Take this pill in addition to what you’re already taking and do nothing for the next five weeks. Chet drove me to the pharmacy and then home. Finally, a glimmer of hope.

Today, after the five weeks were up, I loaded my kayak and headed for the lake. I paddled slowly, but enjoying every moment, at times, I just drifted. Enough hope to float my boat, thanks be to God!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring on the Lake

I went out paddling in the chilly breezes on Friday afternoon. Each trip has some beautiful moment to treasure. The secret is keeping open eyes and ears. Friday I didn’t see many birds. Most of them are busy with nests and young families. But I did see a tiny, silver-green beech leaf just unfolding from its copper sheath. It was breathtakingly beautiful and I could have easily missed it.

            Sunday afternoon was warmer, shirt sleeve weather. I counted fourteen motor boats, a row boat, three kayaks and a canoe. So I headed east towards one of the inlets, too shallow for the bigger boats. On the way, I saw something I’d never noticed before, beech trees in bloom. The blossoms were hung like small, fuzzy cream colored cherries. Even though I’ve paddled around the lake for over three years, there’s always something new to see or learn. Last fall, I encountered beech nuts for the first time. I knew in theory they existed, but the squirrels always got there first. These were hanging over the water. Inside the bristly husk, the nuts were tiny equilateral triangles on all sides. (I’m sure there’s a proper term for this figure, but I never took geometry!) Only the size of half my small fingernail, they were delicious. Maybe there will be more this fall.

Over the years I’ve found that if I don’t look for the small miracles, my eyesight gets distorted and I miss the big ones. Practicing thanksgiving for small things helps me weather storms and be ready to praise God for the big things. What’s lovely in your world today? What are you praising God for?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Uphill Both Ways

I made it to the lake three times last week. Friday was amazing. The forecast was for partly cloudy, but instead it was a deep blue sky, cobalt blue water and a brisk wind coming out of the north. I struggled east against it until I paddled into a sheltering inlet.

Coming back, I decided to change my route plan so I would be in the lee of the trees on the north side. I pulled up my neck gaiter, fastened the top of my paddling jacket and headed into the wind. As I came around a corner heading west, there was the eagle. Not circling or soaring, but diving on a flock of ducks. I stopped to watch. He’d drop out of the sky and the ducks would come up off the water quacking in alarm. The eagle would swoop up. The ducks would re-assemble and the eagle would drop towards them again.

An eagle will eat duck, but this one looked like he was just harassing them. He flew off west and I resumed paddling. I saw him again later, perched on a dead branch near the water, looking like he was posing for a wildlife magazine: “See my noble profile!”

Out of the sheltering tree line, I discovered that the wind has shifted around to the west, north-west. So I had a challenging paddle back to the boat ramp, uphill both ways, as it were. Just when I think I have figured out which way the wind’s blowing, it changes.

Isn’t life like that? Just when we think things are going well, something comes along. But no matter which direction the wind blows from or how hard it blows, Jesus’ love for us never changes. He knows the storm and he knows us. I love the line from a song, “Sometimes he calms the storm and sometimes he calms his child.”