Make Way for a Course Correction
Imagine riding on a cruise ship. All is well. The sun is shining. The ocean is calm. The partiers are partying. The swimmers are swimming. The sleepy are sleeping. There is fun and frolicking everywhere. There is nothing to worry about. Suddenly the captain of the ship sends the message to the engine room, Dead Stop. The ship stops so abruptly, people stumble. Some are awakened from their slumber. The shrimp cocktail spills on the table. Everyone and everything must take notice of the discombobulation of the ship going from full speed ahead to a dead stop. The captain comes on the intercom and says, “There is no need to worry or be upset. We have halted to do a course correction to avoid foul weather ahead.” Everyone sighs a collective sigh of relief, but they do take notice of the anomaly and become watchful for further developments. No one merely or easily slides back into their comfort zones. They are now aware something is afoot that required immediate attention.
April 4th, 2020 I will have been in the elite group know as retirees two years. It wasn’t the type of retirement that was brought on by the eclipse of time and a leisurely entrance into that world of, “I don’t have to get up early anymore, if I don’t want to.” It was the type of retirement where the captain of the ship said, Dead Stop! It was time for a course correction. There were rough seas ahead and bad weather coming. It was time for a redirection of my course in life. I was ordered by the captain of my ship in this thing called life, Jesus Christ, to learn to be still and grow to know who He is. I needed to learn the sound or feel of his voice and become disciplined enough to obey his voice quickly when spoken to.
Jesus asked me, as he asked Peter in the biblical gospel, “Who do you say I am?” This was not a rhetorical question but a question of connection and reflection. It was a transformation of relationship that went from a surface feeling of specialty of being one of the homies to become connected in the blood of the lamb. Another way of phrasing it is to go from a good time buddy to a “ride or die” friend, even when the bullet fly. We know the story that Peter had impetuously said he was that ride or die friend, but when the bullets flew, he did too.
For a year I was relegated to my room and my bible and devotions. I was taught by the Holy Spirit and I learned of him and about him. I struggled with the stillness and the lack of activity. Everything that I ever was came into scrutiny. There were many rough seas during that year. The struggle was internal, and it was very real. It was transformational. During that time, more doors closed in my face, than sprang open. I was forced to learn of the providence of God firsthand and there was nothing I could do about it, except rail and cry. And like a recalcitrant child, I eventually calmed down and began to listen.
From that time; the ministry of Connections and Reflections and the blog Meeting with the CEO were born. I met many new friends. I had experiences that I never thought I would have. I went from defeated and broken to a woman who by the grace of God was pulling together the broken pieces on her way to wholeness. Love found me. In my mind, it was “full speed ahead.” The captain of my ship recently called Dead Stop. Figuratively, my martini spilled out of my glass. Everything tilted and slid. I re-entered in the wilderness of non-activity. In other words, waiting on a word from the Lord as he makes course corrections and redirects my path.
My love ones and I are searching me. I have been one who has suffered through Dark Nights of The Soul and not always come out in one piece. This time feels strange because my soul is still anchored in the Lord. I don’t feel lost or aggrieved. I just feel a need to wait and listen. Sometimes I feel like I ought to be doing something, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what. Sometimes I want to be concerned and worried, but I can’t remember what to worry about. Sometimes I think I must have missed something, but when I check my calendar, it’s blank. It is time for a course correction to avoid rough seas ahead. Thank God for the captain of the ship of my life that sees further than I do and takes care of all my needs.
In my former life I believed everything was either up or down or good or bad. It was black or white and no in-between. This ridged mode of seeing the world caused me a lot of angst. As I sit in my room again, in good spirits, trusting in God and his promises, I see and feel the shifting shades of the colors and situations in life. There are subtle nuances like the waves that float along side the ship. The wise person learns to read the signs before they become ridged and make the needed course adjustment to allow the ship to seamlessly make course corrections and not capsize.
The one thing I know in the second month of 2020 is the one thing I have always know. There will be change. Whatever is projected and promoted for growth, prosperity and love will not and does not come without challenges of high mountains and deep rivers of adversity. Just as it takes strong methods to remove rust from metal, there will be circumstances that demand of us strength that we didn’t know we had or needed and love that we didn’t know we could give. It will call for patience and insight and a strong will to be the change we seek in the world. Know this, on the pleasure boat of our personal lives, there will be many opportunities for the ship to come to “Dead Stop.” and us to make a course correction before we enter rough seas. Pull up a chair and listen to the captain of the seas. He will guide us through.