Wednesday, December 18, 2013

One Marker at a Time

St. Augustine - Daytona Beach, FL
December 8

We noticed fog rolling in from the ocean as we cast off lines to leave St. Augustine. No problem, we thought. It should burn off in a half hour. Wrong! Saturated, soggy air condensed above the water into a thick pea soup that lasted for four hours. We strained to make out each marker, one by one, to avoid straying into shallow water.
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Compounding that, it was low tide. When we saw the first sailboat grounded outside the channel, we wished we could assist them without becoming stuck ourselves but had to continue on.

Then a tiny fishing boat emerged from the mist, loaded with camping gear, a cooler, and a man, woman, and little boy. The woman called out to us, asking for a tow. They’d camped on an island overnight and in the morning their engine refused to start. The boat landing was two miles away—a long way to row with two undersized paddles. The little boy said we looked like a pirate ship appearing out of the fog. When we dropped them off close to their destination, they were so grateful and we were just as thankful to be able to help.

 Clawing through near-zero visibility, we kept going when suddenly we pitched forward, aground. We’d heeded a guidebook recommendation to give the red marker wide berth and ran aground toward the green side. Keith rocked us free (whew!), and soon we got stuck again, pushed by the current (oops!). And again (yikes!). Persistence paid off; we found the deeper water and glided on.

Around the next bend, we came upon a motor yacht with a draft of three-and-a-half feet hard aground where the charts indicated ten feet of depth. The captain stood in waist-deep water coaxing his vessel back afloat.

In spite of our best efforts, we got into trouble in the fog. With our limited visibility, we had to depend more than ever on our GPS, chart plotter, and paper charts. It was an illustration of the times we find ourselves in a fog and can’t see beyond our limited understanding. That’s when we need to depend more than ever on the One who came at Christmas to be our Light and show us the way. One marker at a time.
 Through the heartfelt mercies of our God,
God's Sunrise will break in upon us,
 Shining on those in the darkness,
those sitting in the shadow of death,
Then showing us the way, one foot at a time,
down the path of peace.
Luke 1:78-79 msg

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