When Darkness Comes

I think we all wish we could erase some dark times in our lives. But all of life’s experiences, bad and good, make you who you are. Erasing any of life’s experiences would be a great mistake.
Luis Miguel

The recent disaster at the marina really got me thinking about our summer. At first, I remembered what is probably the saddest post I’ve ever written, when I thought our dream was over. I thought that something that could have been wonderful, that could have brought our family closer together, had become a total waste.

But, then, as I read our posts from earlier in the cruise, I realized that we were not headed for a destination as great as the one we found.

Our marriage wasn’t where it could have been. The night of our anniversary, we had a bad fight, mainly due to my suppressed stress and grieving, from my mother-in-law’s sudden death and the risky surgery my dad had had that day (it was successful!). When we sailed, I clearly did not trust Rob, as my trimsman and navigator. If the water was rough, I was constantly yelling at him to hang on, questioning his choices, and sometimes outright refusing to follow his commands. Yet, I did not trust myself to yell the commands or even to disagree with him and state my reasons why.

This began to change when we encountered our first storm. I trusted my judgment enough to tell Rob to release the jib. Still, he didn’t trust me enough to do it right away. Thinking I was panicking, he kept telling me to change course. When he saw what was happening, he trusted me more. But we weren’t there yet.

Our downfall was that we didn’t take it seriously enough. We were out on the Lakes, where you sometimes could not see land, where help was nowhere nearby. Our lives depended on a 44 year old fiberglass vessel, and we needed to respect that. We did not.

That is why we went on the inside of the #13 marker. That is why we failed.

Navigating in the fog, when we could see nothing, I realized my life–and the lives of my family–depended on following Rob’s coordinates. Exactly. There was no room for mistakes.

In doing that, I began to trust him. As a navigator. As a husband. As a father for my child.

He trusted my helmsmanship. On that boat. In our lives.

It was a long journey from that day. But we were able, because of that day, to articulate who we are as a family, and where we want to go. For the first time, we were on the same page with our dreams for our future.

Last summer was the best summer of our lives. Yet we do not pine for it. We would not want to go back.

We lost Ithaca. But we brought Moonraker home.

And Moonraker is the metaphor for our dreams. We lost our destination. But we found ourselves.

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