Saturday, August 26, 2017

End of Summer Delights

Why am I surprised at how the most “insignificant” moments can bring about some of
life’s greatest pleasures? 

A few weeks ago, while grocery shopping, I ran into a sweet friend I see often at church. But because our lives go in different directions we hadn’t connected in a while. We stood in the produce section and talked…and talked…and talked!  (Seems to me like a good place to do some catching up!)

Out of that conversation, came a plan to go kayaking together. The summer is winding down which made putting our plan into action feel somewhat urgent.  After a few missed attempts, we made it happen. It was a windy day…not the best introduction for Jamie’s first time kayak experience. But we were determined.

On the designated day we loaded up the kayaks and headed the 4 blocks to the lake. Because of the wind we chose our launch spot carefully so we could quickly get to the protected area of the yacht harbor.

Oh my goodness!  What a great time we had just talking and sharing life as we floated with minimal paddling effort.  You see, Jamie and I share a faith in Jesus and a love for life.  It made no difference that she is a young mom and I am at the grandmother stage of life. Our shared Christian faith broke down the age barrier.

Eventually we decided we had better head back toward our launch area; we had been out for a long time and it was REALLY windy!  Ha! We didn’t care.  We leaned into the wind and away we went.

We paddled like crazy, laughing and encouraging each other all along the way.  Our return route took us under a bridge that acted like a wind tunnel. Before I got to the other side I heard Jamie whoop and holler as she came out the other end.    

As I write this, it is the end of another day (later in the week) and I had yet another wonderful experience out on the water, in my kayak, with six extraordinary women friends.  This morning we all met at a convenient spot and headed north toward Lake Superior.  I had heard about the Au Train River for years and was excited to finally get there!

What an amazing experience.  The day started out brisk and chilly (in the high 30’s this morning!) but we persevered. The weather report called for sunny skies.  

This river was beyond beautiful.  There were a few lovely homes along the way but mostly we were treated to God’s amazing flora and fauna.  We navigated around logs from fallen trees, paddled across shallow areas and circumvented a few large rocks.     

Sometime into our journey, we found a place to stop for lunch. Debi, the organizer of this excursion, opened a devotional book. It was a brief but sweet time of focusing on God and His Word.  Blessings abound.

I believe those kayaking experiences are exactly what God has in mind when He encourages us in His Word to fellowship with other believers. Or maybe it’s about encouraging one another (as Jamie and I did as we battled the wind that day).  Perhaps it’s about having a time of rest, a time when we can pull away from the world and enjoy God’s beautiful creation.
 In Matthew 11; 28 Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Jamie, Julie, Judi, Debi, Elizabeth, Cathie, Brenda and I all live real lives, complete with challenges, heartaches and joys.  But God, in His infinite grace, provided those moments on the water to allow us to fellowship, to enjoy His gift of creation and to provide us with rest and retreat from the daily stuff of life.

Please don't miss those moments, those gifts God provides for our mental and spiritual health.  From time to time, consider putting daily life on hold to do something fun or restful or adventuresome.  Connect with others in your community of faith.  You WILL be refreshed!