by Fran Caffey Sandin
A friend loves at all times… Proverbs 17: 17 NIV
“Me? Become a first mate on a sailboat? You must be kidding!” Those were my thoughts when my Swedish husband said he wanted to learn how to sail. He would be the captain and I, the first mate.
Really? As an East Texas farm girl, the largest body of water I had seen was Uncle Charlie’s stock pond or the log ride at the Six Flags amusement park. The very thought of the ocean launched a sinking spell in the pit of my stomach as I envisioned myself wearing a large life preserver, clutching a pill for seasickness in one hand and a bucket in the other.
My husband’s enthusiasm escalated, so we packed our bags for the Offshore Sailing School in Hilton Head, South Carolina. To be prepared, I saw a yachting magazine featuring ladies wearing blue and white striped tops and white pants as they lounged on the deck. OK, I can do that!
Upon arriving, Buster, our bearded and tattooed sailing instructor, explained that our 28-foot Soling racing boat was guaranteed not to capsize. The rounded bottom meant poor initial stability but good ultimate stability. I was all set to raise the sails and enjoy the ride, but Buster had other plans. He assigned each one of us a task, and I quickly learned to “crew.”
My head was spinning from all the nautical terms: Ready about? Hard-a-lee! Jibe-Ho! Watch out for the BOOM! Each time the Soling rolled from side to side, I lost my footing and kept losing my balance causing me to fall in the cockpit off and on all day. I began yearning for solid ground. My amateur appearance confirmed my naiveté about sailing.
When we finally sailed back to the port, my hair was a mess, fingernails broken, rope burns on my hands, my legs were sore and wobbly, and my beautiful outfit looked like a zebra that had splashed through the mud. As I stepped off the boat, Buster grinned, gave me a hand, and quipped, “See ya in the mornin’!” Evidently my yachting magazine failed to make his reading list.
When Jim and I reached the condo, I made a valiant effort to walk up the stairs but began pulling myself along the banister about halfway up. I stumbled to the bedroom, flopped across the bed, and wondered, Will I ever try sailing again?
Jim had a wonderful time. It would have been easy for me to wimp out, but I realized that if he was going to be the captain, he needed me to be his first mate. Thankfully, I put on a pair of jeans, and prayed Philippians 4: 13: I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Every day had its own stories, but I did survive and complete the course.
It takes an act of the will to put aside our own selfish interests and enter the hopes and dreams of our spouse. As a wife, I’ve discerned that having fun with my husband is more important than keeping every hair in place or having perfect fingernails. In the challenges of sailing, I learned more about God’s unconditional love for us and our love for one another. I have learned that in the good times and the hard times, too, a true friend always loves.
This article brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Fran is a retired nurse, organist, mother, and grandmother living in Greenville, Texas. She has authored See You Later, Jeffrey, Touching the Clouds, and has contributed to thirty books. She and her husband, Jim, have traveled to many countries and states. Her latest book, HOPE on the Way, Devotions to Go— contains 52 devotionals for those who love to combine faith and adventure. HOPE on the Way was acknowledged for outstanding Christian Literature both in the Devotional and Christian Living sections by Joy and Company in Arlington, Texas. Visit Fran’s website at www.fransandin.com.
Join the conversation: Has there been a time you have sacrificed your own agenda for the sake of someone you loved? Please share!