Adjusting my Sails

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Are you smooth sailing? Are you ready for the squalls? Are the winds forcing you in the right direction? Are you adjusting your sails? Or do you feel ready to sink?

K.L. Hale

Prologue: After experiencing extreme drought conditions, we finally got relief. It has rained practically non-stop for the past 72 hours (and counting). The rainfall is about a Finley and 1/2 high. Around early morning, 5 a.m.”ish”, as I was listening to the rain pelt the R.V., I was thinking of all the storms ravaging our country; and not just the weather. Surely 2020 has given all of us reasons to reflect on many aspects of life. The morning progressed and the winds became strong and cold. No doubt this R.V. would make a horrible boat. As a movie buff, I began to think about Master and Commander, Cast Away (not a bad thought-deserted island?), and many historical moments on the water. But my favorite calming of the waters story (and fishing story) is from my favorite non-fiction book, THE book~my Bible.

Sailing is on my bucket list. Friends, fellow bloggers, and others I have known share stories of the adventures, dangers, and other experiences aboard their boats. Many years ago a student left the school to join her family on a year long adventure on the waters. What an experience. Later, the Mom joined our district as a secretary. Reading their logs throughout their journey was such a delight.

Although I have no experience in sailing adventures, I have had experiences in dealing with mighty waves, the fierce force of unexpected winds, and sturdy storms that have caused me to veer off course. Some caused me to feel puny, feeble, and insignificant. There were times I capsized and resurfaced with colossal common sense and dedicated discernment. My sails had to be adjusted…repeatedly.

Photo by Bianca on Pexels.com

There are typhoons and hurricanes that will continue to rage for all of us (illness, loss of relationships, jobs, money issues, unforeseen emergencies). For me, I have to adjust for haphazard halts and swift shifts. If Jesus’ simple request for his disciples to throw their net on the RIGHT side of the ship resulted in the greatest fishing trip Israel’s apostles ever enjoyed (John 21:6), then why wouldn’t a whispering wind from HIM to adjust my sail and maybe stand in a different spot of the boat do anything less than help me stay my course?

It would be naïve for me to think at this age, with new love, the search for new “boats” (I love my R.V., but my search continues for stick and brick), and other changes in life, that my sails would never adjust. Emotional, physical, and spiritual sails might get torn weathering the storms. Repair and sail on. Enjoy the fellow travelers and the loved ones in your boat (and lifeboats) that wish to tackle the open sea of life alongside you. But remember who’s course you’re on~ there’s one just for you. And I know my Captain. Do you?

Have faith 💚

Just a little nod to my old country roots⛵
Finn and Me to you 💚🎵

Rules of Engagement

“Red Rover Red Rover send Karla on over!” It was a bit scary. First, there wasn’t THAT much room between the two walls of the gym. How fast should I really go to break the barrier of my friends’ arms. Won’t that hurt them? Won’t I get hurt?

Rules were part of the game. Every game in fact. But rules were nothing new to me as my parents lined out a few when I was very young. Following the rules was important to me. It seemed most of us gave it our best efforts. But behind the scenes…

No one really liked him. I felt sorry for him. No one really paid any attention to her. My heart broke for her. Why wouldn’t anyone pick her for the team? Why are others being mean to him? I never understood it. Why are they laughing at her? Isn’t that breaking the rules?

Sundays would come around~my favorite day. We’d soon be gathered around the family table. Under the steeple I’d curiously observe other adults and kids. Bibles open, pens out, and if lucky, candy for us young ones. And the singing was my favorite. The rules were shared through stories; ancient ones and some newer. True events with major consequences for not following the rules. On one hand the fear made me sit up straight. But on the other hand, sermons about love filled me with warmth and acceptance. I learned of this man who always played fair and loved every team member. The rules seemed black and white and rules of engagement seemed… fair.

Last week I shared with my parents as we discussed current events, “Why did I, and so many teachers and parents to this day, spin our wheels trying to teach young kids kindness and civility when our own leaders do not display them?”

Rules had to be displayed when I began teaching at a young age. By the time I left education we had school-wide norms. These expectations were communicated daily in school-wide settings and individual classrooms. “Kids, I’d like for you all to be civil and respectful to one another!” “Even if we disagree let’s show courtesy and respect!” One day several young students and I were sitting in a circle in the counselor’s office. The discussion was about bullying. One girl was obviously the victim. The others, collectively, immediately developed a pack-like attitude. To try and get them to speak individually was like pulling a tooth. The pack remained intact. My own family had their experience at pack attacks throughout the years. Have you ever experienced it?

When I left Facebook a couple of years ago it was because the rules of engagement no longer seemed to exist. After learning some lessons (and still learning) I couldn’t understand why some, hidden behind a screen, could fire shots without any regard to the rules of engagement. Aside from what one might consider just general knowledge about healthy and positive human behavior these attacks seemed planned. And the rules of engagement justified me acting in self-defense right? But to whom does this really benefit?

I was a rule-breaker. There were periods of my life I only thought of myself; I had felt bullied and looked for a way out~despite the rules. I’ve lived with the consequences of breaking the rules and its impact on others. I’ve experienced heartache, hurt, pain, and joy all combined in the lessons.

Several mornings ago, while catching up with the “normally-not-so-uplifting” news, I was refreshed by the interview of two men running for governor of Utah. Their ad was a light in the darkness for me. Republican Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox and law professor Chris Peterson, a Democrat, appeared together to call for civility among voters. Cox and Peterson are running against each other to become the governor of Utah. They joked with one another and encouraged all residents to respect one another; no matter their vote. My smile got wider. This was not a hallucination of hope. It was real.

“Our common values transcend our political differences and the strength of our nation rests on our ability to see that,” Peterson said. “I’m not sure this has ever been done before…but as our national political dialogue continues to decline, my opponent and I decided to try something different,” Cox tweeted Tuesday.  “Let’s make Utah an example to the nation.” (CBS News)

I’m not distracted by false hope anymore. I’m not falling for the fake offering of freedom with instant love. The only attention I need is that which grows my capacity to level the playing field for everyone in which I engage.

I did run across the gym eventually. Although I didn’t break the bonded arms of my friends, the giggly entanglement ensured me I was safe on their team.

I’ll stay my course with my ultimate authority~to guide me and to help me set the parameters that will propel me to encourage and help others in the game. You see, it’s not the rules I focus on anymore~it’s Christ. And Christ alone.

   “There is no exception to this rule: "All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant." They say there is no rule without an exception, but there is an exception to that rule.”
― Charles Spurgeon

Have faith💚