Top 10 of the Florida Keys #3

Our family’s Top 10 of the Florida Keys continues with Michael’s favorite mode of transportation.

Number Three: Sailing

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6

I’d be remiss if I led you to believe everything about our vacation — or about our family in general — is all blue skies and sunshine. It’s rarely ever smooth sailing. And it certainly wasn’t smooth sailing the morning Michael set off for Keys Fisheries.

There he rented Chiquita, a 24-foot banana yellow sailboat. He was so excited.

The sailing itself wasn’t bad. We had no stormy seas to fret about. No high winds. Instead it was my attitude that was rocking the boat.

First, I must disclose that I’m married to a sailor, a boat lover, a former dock hand for the marina in our hometown. Michael loves anything remotely nautical. Me? Well, not as much. I do like to sail on picture perfect summer days with a gentle breeze. But other times I go along — often way out of my comfort zone — because I love him dearly and because I’m really good at hiding my fears of being shipwrecked or eaten by a shark.

By Florida standards, the weather was chilly that morning, especially on the water. Maybe that’s why I was grumpy. I had envisioned sailing in warm, summer-like weather when I agreed to this outing! If I wanted to be cold, I would have stayed in Minnesota.

I should also mention that I literally started off on the wrong foot. Three adult men loudly instructed me how to climb off the dock, climb up to another larger sailboat, and then very carefully climb down to the Chiquita, which sat several feet lower in the water. Turn around. They called. Hang on to that cable. No, not that one. No, don’t try to go under that rope. You’ve got to turn around. See, your legs are long enough after all. All the while I was trying not to drop my camera bag into the murky water, trying not to trip on my flip flops, and trying to oversee the safety of my two small children who were already aboard the Chiquita and way out of arm’s reach.

No. That was not a good way to start our voyage.

To make matters worse, deep down I didn’t fully trust my husband on this endeavour. Sailing with him on the lake on our very own boat is one thing. Sailing with him on the ocean in someone else’s boat is quite another. What if the boat capsizes? What if one of the girls falls overboard? Even worse, what if he falls overboard? Sharks live in these waters. And I know sharks live in these waters because I’ve just seen firsthand what their nibbling has done to the sea turtles nearby. Plus the boat’s owner just instructed us to watch for dolphins and sea turtles in our path as though we were watching for deer in the road up north. So many things could possibly go wrong.

Why does he look so calm? My husband wasn’t just asking me to trust him to keep my camera dry. He was asking me to trust him with my life. And, more importantly, he was asking me to trust him with my children’s lives, too! 

Or was he? 

Looking back, I see I was being a little melodramatic. I was leaning on my own understanding. Looking back, it’s easier to realize that risk is how you perceive it. Whether we travel in a sailboat or an airplane or a rental car or our own minivan, we take risks every day. We don’t really have control in what happens to us. We can’t really trust each other fully. And we can’t be calm when we lean on our own understanding. 

But we can control how we respond to what happens to us. And there is Someone we can trust fully. Someone who cares about what happens to us. Someone who does have control in every circumstance, even shipwrecks.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Eventually, Michael set the sails back toward land. The wind was at our backs, and the sun was higher. We felt warmer.

The girls relaxed. And Michael was already relaxed because this was his favorite part of the Florida Keys.

So I let go. I relaxed, too. And don’t tell Michael, but I did have a little bit of fun after all.

Florida Keys Top 10 Series

Number 10: Sunsets

Number 9: Tranquility

Number 8: Seascapes

Number 7: Swimming

Number 6: Sand Castles

Number 5: Key West

Number 4: Seashells

Number 3: Sailing

Number 2: Dolphins

Number 1: Sea Turtles

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