Saturday, September 1, 2007

run with the wind

I grew up sailing with my dad. As his First Mate for racing and the like, I grew to love life under sail. Harnessing the power of wind and current always thrilled and amazed me. Celestial Navigation and Piloting were favorite subjects of my science fair projects. Sailing remained in my blood long after leaving home for an ill-fated marriage at the age of 19. Last night Jake and I were invited out for an evening sail with some friends. I silenced my urge to warn Jake of the dangers of arousing this sleeping passion. I merely agreed to go.

Sailing is a sport that humbles control freaks. When pursuing a destination upwind, since a sailboat cannot sail directly into the wind, the course must be slightly off the wind, and the destination is reached by several zig-zags. This is called tacking upwind. So if the wind is coming from where you want to go, you are in for a bit of effort to reach your destination. But this can be an exciting sailing position because you can heel, or sail with the boat leaning over dramatically as the sails are trimmed tight against a strong wind, a sure fix for adrenalin junkies. Fun stuff. But reaching your destination can be a different story. Last night our destination was right where the wind was coming from. But the weather was perfect, the company was good, and no one really seemed to care where we wound up. So we tacked back and forth across a good stretch of water into the wind, and then we were treated to a run back to the marina by sunset.

A run can feel so effortless that you need to look at bubbles or debris in the water zooming past you to be reminded that you are actually moving. And at a good clip. You no longer feel the wind against your face, and since you are running with it, don't sense any resistance to the wind by the boat or sails. The over-all sense of it is peace... calm... REST. Surrender. While the upwind course can spell adventure to many, running with the wind lacks all the outward display of sport, of risk, of skill. It is a place of resting while the wind and current just carry you along.

Jake and I are currently in a place where trusting the Lord is a huge focus. We are suspended in a place of waiting, with several opportunities to make a false start, think we've figured out God, every new perspective threatens to convince us that THIS SURELY MUST BE IT. Now, with the sleeping passion of sailing awakened, we are considering ways to stay in the Great Lake State... But the Lord has very clearly demonstrated to us that when it is time, and when it is really IT, He will make it clear. Part of the discomfort of this new place is the lack of busyness - the lack of stuff to do. What that really equates to is a lack of importance - the loss of being needed for MY OWN contributions.

After a season of working to prove to myself that I was saved, (and undoubtedly others as well) I'm beginning the learn how to run with the wind, instead of against it... opposed to it, even if well intended and "only a little". It really looks like I'm not accomplishing anything at all, you know? My planner is not plastered with ink. There are openings in my schedule. Many, in fact. I'm currently out of work, and must remain so until after I've recovered from hand surgery that is scheduled for next Friday. That probably will not be until January. I have no committee meetings, no leadership meetings, not even any "official" discipleship involvement. I'm really not serving in an "official" position with my church, as the Lord has said "no" to many requests placed before Him. I feel like I really bring nothing to the party, you know?

There is really nothing left for me to bring, or do, or lead or plan, because He has already done everything that matters. The only thing left for me to do, is to follow. To respond. Not passive indifference, but a poised readiness, that refuses to indulge in a false start to relieve its discomfort.

From this place I'm learning some things about myself.

  • I'd rather study God's Word deeply and thoroughly than pursue a new career.

  • I'd rather learn to pray well than learn better time management so I can fit more in my schedule.

  • I'd rather learn to love well than to lead, or plan, or direct, or whatever.

  • I'm getting comfortable - slowly - with "nothing to show" for "who I am". That's a biggie. During the seasons past, it was all I had.


Elder's Wife said...

Great post, Dinah. "The only thing left for me to do, is to follow."
That is still a hard lesson for me to learn (apply), even after all these years.
Since I'm still "in recovery" after my own hand operation a couple of weeks ago, I'm having to wait to have other people do things for me...and then see that they don't do them the same way I do. Today was not a gold star day, I'm afraid.
"I'd rather learn to love well than to lead, or plan, or direct, or whatever" was what I needed to hear. :) Thanks.

btw-I'm not a sailer, but after reading your description, it sounds like fun. Can you do it one-handed? I'm praying for your surgery on Friday.

Dinah said...

Kat, the hand thing is no easy surrender... The realities of living one-handed in a two handed world are profound. Even more profound is how the Lord uses the experience to reveal... to refine...

Sailing would be out of the question with my "bad hand" - but the whole concept of the surgery is to have greater potential. My post op hand acutally did OK on the boat. Jake and I are actually thinking about buying a sailboat!!! And I hope to return to winching sheets... without wincing... :)

I appreciate your prayers. God is good.