Monday, September 15, 2014

Sabbatical Journal, Day Three


            Fog can be very interesting if you really think about it, reflect upon its movements, its coming and going as it does here.  We arose this morning and had coffee and then sat on the porch for a while looking out at the boats and birds and tide that had filled the harbor with water over night.  It was not nearly as cool as it has been in days past, but still cool enough to be pleasant—68 degrees.  It felt really nice to sit and drink in the view as we do a lot.  The fog was light, in the distance, covering only a bit of the hillside beyond the campground that is adjacent to the boatyard.  Then, as we sat and talked and watched the seagulls coming and going, suddenly fog began to roll in from the east, blocking out the bit of sun that had shown through the clouds.  The fog moved in closer and closer, soon covering the campground and the boats in the harbor so that all we could see was just what was directly in front of us.  It ended our interesting view, at least for a while, so we came inside to have breakfast. 
            Life has fog set in like that, at times.  We think we can see things clearly and suddenly our vision is obscured by life’s events and we cannot always see the path that we should follow or know the course to take.  Life’s fog is more like the kind we experience here than the kind we have back home.  This fog rolls in, with waves, like the waves of the ocean.  It comes in covering land and sea, making it impossible to see man or beast or landscape. 
            Once the fog has set in, one wonders why continue what you are doing and why not do something else.  The fogs in life send us in different directions to take courses we had not planned otherwise.  The fog may come in the guise of an illness, ours or others for whom we are caretakers, or an issue we may have to deal with—a job change, a family crisis, a new opportunity.  We may not know the course to take and we may sit idly for a while, just as the boats wait for high tide to return before they can go back into the ocean to work, but suddenly things change for us and we see what must be done. 
            The fog here clears just as quickly as it comes.  It does not linger, as the fog back home does.  Instead, the waves of fog roll on and dissipate, allowing the sun to shine once more to reveal what had been hidden by the fog.  Our lives that are fog-laden by life’s challenges are cleared as we seek hidden truth that will bring about the focus we need.  It is our seeking the way that brings about the answer.  God is always present, ready to guide us, but we often do not include God in our plans.  We want to work things out ourselves and turn to God only when the way becomes so dark that we cannot see anything that will work for us.  Then, we pray. 
            Lighthouses are numerous in places with much shoreline and with a large industry that involves boats.  Even with modern technology assisting the boating and fishing industry, lighthouses remain active in many locations to add a visual dimension to the technological inventions that make life better for those who work and play in boats.  There are several lighthouses within thirty miles of where we are staying.  Here in Parker’s Cove there is not a lighthouse in the traditional sense.  There is simply a tall pole with a blinking green light on it that comes on around dusk and turns off around dawn.  The green light blinks off and on all through the night and, I assume, it is there to let boats that may be seeking the harbor here in Parker’s Cove to find it, to know for sure that it is there, despite any other equipment they may have that directs them in the path they should go to reach shore. 
            The odd thing about the green light on the pole, though, is that it is obviously on a timer and goes off in the morning despite the fact that the harbor could be fogged in, as it was yesterday and today.  The blinking green light could be very useful to some who are looking for a signal from shore that Parker’s Cove is here with a dock to anchor a boat.  It turns off around daybreak, though, even if it is foggy.
            We often look for signs to guide us when the fogs of life set in and something they are not always there.  There are times when the usual signs do not appear to us and that are when we must raise our awareness to the world around us to experience life so that it speaks to us in our guide to know the way to go.  Things that in the past have served as markers for us, people or places or things, may not speak to us in the usual way and we may need to keep our eyes open for new understandings or relationships that may give us a fresh approach to the world around us and to our life’s situation.  We can never know what exactly may speak to us at any given time. 
            “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

            There are two islands that connect to the mainland just west of Digby.  The land that stretches from Digby is called the Digby Neck.  When you reach the western end of Digby Neck, you have to take a ferry to connect to the next island called Long Island.  Then, you must drive to the end of Long Island to the community of Freeport to take another ferry to the community of Westport on Briar Island.  Timing is everything when you reach the end of each land mass and need to get to the next one.  The ferries are timed to leave to go west so that a person can drive from Digby to the end of Digby Neck and catch a ferry that leaves on every half hour and then be able to drive to the end of Long Island and catch the next ferry on the hour.  If you miss the first one, you have to wait an hour to catch the next one because they only run once an hour from each direction.  The ferries run 24 hours a day but only once an hour in each direction. 
            This setup does not allow for any exploring on each island unless one determines that they do not need to get to a ferry in order to connect to another one in any certain schedule.  One can spend as much time anywhere one desires but with the knowledge that the ferries will be there only at certain times.  It sounds tricky but when you understand the system it is practical to have it work the way it does.  It can sound daunting to try to get to each ferry on time but it does work out well if you just drive through from one ferry to another or if you look around and not worry about the schedule and just enjoy the surroundings. 
            I have always had a time anxiety problem.  When I am pressed for time, I usually get very anxious.  When there is a schedule to be kept, I want everything to be taken care of so that the schedule will fall into place as planned.  I once would plan vacations where we had to be at one point at a certain time in order for the next thing on the schedule to work out.  It caused me great stress if we were running late and there may be the possibility that we may not reach the destination we had planned to reach.
            In recent years I have become much better at not being on a schedule all the time and allowing myself to enjoy the scenery on the journey as well as being at a certain destination at a certain time.  The journey itself holds as much satisfaction as getting to a certain place.  There is much to be seen and experienced along the way. 
            This trip, so far, has been very pleasant and low stress.  Even when we were stuck in traffic in Toronto I did not feel panic or stress because we did not have to be someplace soon.  We had plenty of time to enjoy what we were seeing around us, even if it was the rear of another car sometimes. 

            Life is sometimes a race, not a journey.  There are times when we seem to rush from one thing to another in order to reach some goal we have set.  That is not always bad but it is not always necessary.  There are times when we need to let the scenery pass by as we travel and simply admire it and enjoy it and see the pleasure we can gather from being a part of it.  We all need to stop and appreciate what and who is around us as we make our way on the road of life, giving thanks for the opportunity to be part of the great highway of life.  

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