Letter to my Dad, 8/02/11
One would think that the hardest part about starting
cruising would be the leaving. We didn’t find it so.
Once we decided to go, leaving was surprisingly easy.
We said goodbye to our friends and families, but
either they were as excited about our leaving as we
were or our interests had already begun to diverge
long ago, and so the goodbyes were already begun.
The boat was not cooperating. Replacing the lining of
the refrigerator turned into rebuilding a rotted out
bulk head; replacing a leaky water tank turned into
moving the fuel tank. A weekend project dragged out
for six months. Maybe the fight to get the boat ready
kept us from dwelling on what we were leaving.
It was hardest for our son Tim. Teenagers should not
have to give up their friends. Was taking him away
from high school a mistake? Yet even as we worried
about this, those around us encouraged us to continue.
It would be a wonderful learning experience for him.
We were living their dream. The dock even arranged
for us to adopt a dog to keep him company.
No, leaving was not the hardest part. Fed up one day,
we just headed out to San Diego. The hard part was
after we had been sailing for a few days, when the
head (toilet) broke and the weather tossed all the contents of
the boat onto the sole of the boat. We had to crawl
from place to place in the boat. The engine exhaust pipe
burst, and we could not find the parts to repair the
boat in Baja Mexico. Then it became difficult to
continue. We thought about turning back. Starting
out was not the hardest part. Keeping going when the
going got difficult, that was the hardest part.
Perhaps that is why it took so long for God to give
Abram and Sarah a son. The true test was not the
leaving home. It was the continuing on, to continue
to trust God in times of difficulty. Don’t we all find
that true? It is not the joyful high of the original
confession that demonstrates our faith. It is the
continuing to live in faith day by day. The journey
is where our confidence is built and our faith
strengthened. How hard it must have been for those
archetypal soul sailors, Abram and Sarah, to have
left home. How much harder it must have been not to
have turned back?