When you feel the wind on your face and it helps you breathe a little deeper, that's a piece of this beauty. Then, you remember any sunset or sunrise you've ever seen, which you've instantly loved, and that's another piece. Next, take a challenge of any kind, big or small, scary or safe, and each time it's new. The warmth of the sun and the painting of a blue cloud-spotted sky with choppy bay water; add-in the occasional buoy and swooping seagull. It's lined with sugary white beaches, sleek and graceful boats fly around you. Everyone of your senses are satisfied with the salty air and the sound of your boat cutting the water's edge. Your arms are sticky with sunscreen, and your hair is all kinds of mangled... this is the beauty that my dad allows us to be apart of, and he some how still claims it's all for us. But I know the truth, I see it each time we go out. It lights him up inside.
Traditions are set in these outings. One includes me messing up some part of the operation, and my dad quickly turns it into a teaching moment, Danny Tanner style. Other traditions I can count on each trip: instructions on how to throw the life line in case someone goes overboard, reminders for more sunscreen, a walkthrough on how to operate the head (toilet on board), everyone getting their turn to steer the boat, and a run-down of the proper terminology for boating. These terms include, but are not limited to: knots, jive, tack, aft, come about, trim the sails, luffing, starboard, port, fall off (the wind, that is), and a new one I learned... balancing the wind.
My favorite tradition is when we have thoughtful, inspiring conversations. It starts with my dad stating, "It doesn't get any better than this." The work is done for the moment, and the sails are tightened and trimmed just right to allow us to cruise along, only by the power and freedom of the wind. Then, like today, the deep thought is shared. Today, it was my turn. When I heard him say balancing the wind, it struck me, and I could see the parallel to life. We're taking the very best control we can of the wind, using everything we have, to get the most effective amount of power to push us along. Then, all of the sudden and unexpectedly, the wind changes, as it often does. The avid sailor does not get tousled the least bit, instead he's in tune with the occurrence of change in conditions, and immediately makes the right adjustments, only to once again operate at full capacity. The ability to act quickly in these situations is what makes you a better, faster sailor and you get even more thrill or satisfaction from your vessel.
The balance is between the unknown and control. When you take something so unbelievably unpredictable as the wind, and attempt to still have it push you, and power you with nothing else. The winds are our experiences and relationships that God uses to push us along, so we fly with freedom. He trims our sails just right. He fills our sails with power so that we move along the water's edge with grace. Then, in an instant, the winds can change. The winds do change, people come in and out of our life, we get a new job, or we might experience disappointment. Our best choice is to allow the God to flip our sails, adjust the lines, and change our perspective. We could so easily turn on the motor, and steer straight to our destination... no problem. That's the easy way out. BUT motors run only up to certain speeds, can over-heat, and will eventually run out of gas. These are the side effects to having full control over anything in life, don't you think? I sure do, I know first-hand. God demands the control instead, which will result in sheer beauty. You will then hear yourself say, "It doesn't get any better than this."
Sailing can really touch your soul at a deeply, clear your mind, and open your heart. Taking a trip out on the water in one of these vessels is literally like taking a breath of fresh air. And especially if you get the opportunity to ride with someone who knows what they're doing. It's no doubt this sailing trip allowed me a little more freedom in my venture to find control in life. Sailing is all about the journey, just like our journey along this life, to know the Lord.