I was raised for 10 years of my life in the rain capitol of the world, Ketchikan, AK. Summer usually was for 7 hours sometime in July. The rain there doesn’t fall down straight, but rather very much horizontal, which means that even under the cover of a doorway you still get hammered by rain. Very fun.
My Dad raised us boys right – he let us get some dirt on our underwear. We often went fishing, hunting, and played every sport we could. Hunting blacktail deer in Ketchikan was something we lived for. My Dad would load us boys up in our 14-foot boat and we would head out to one of the islands surrounding Ketchikan. I have been in more bad weather in that little boat then I would ever have time to expound upon. I have been in waves that were every bit as big as our boat, and my Dad would masterfully navigate through the troughs of salt water that were trying to swamp our hunting endeavor.
About those times … if you don’t know what fear is you ought to try this out sometime. Take a small boat into big waves and enjoy the feeling.
Years later, my twin brother shared some thoughts about those times so many years ago. I want to share them with you. My Dad was a master at taking us through the storm.
How Dad handled storms:
1. My Dad would never let us sit looking at the oncoming waves, we were always turned looking at him working the motor and navigating the boat. Dad would be soaking wet, but he was always smiling at us. Storms were always easier when our focus wasn’t the waves but our smiling Dad.
2. My Dad never wore his life jacket. Of course he made sure that we had ours on at all times but he never wore one himself. It always seemed to us that the storm can’t be that bad because Dad isn’t even wearing his life jacket. Storms are not as scary when they aren’t scaring our Dad.
3. Dad was out in the elements, while a covering always sheltered us. Dad would be soaked to the bone while we were dry and warm.
4. Anytime the boat was battered too much, my Dad could sense this and would pull into a bay for a while. There the rolling waves were tamed down to bearable bumps. After a little bit we would head back into the waves. With a little reprieve from the storm we always made it a whole lot further.
5. Us boys always sat together on the same bench. It was warmer that way, we could draw courage from one another, and we didn’t feel as vulnerable to the elements.
6. Our boat was pretty much clutter free. The last thing Dad wanted was a flying coffee mug to cause damage that the storm couldn’t inflict. Dad let the storm be the one big challenge that we were facing, and not 10 different troubles with their own trajectories.
7. Dad made sure we learned to swim long before we ever encountered our first storm. We knew that worst case scenario: we could still make it.
If you are going through a spiritual storm right now, maybe you need to spend some time looking at Dad.