A Way

The sun was beginning to rise on the horizon. Its bright orange light reflecting off the water could be seen for miles. As it rose above the earth, the birds began to sing. In unison, the flowers released their beautiful fragrance into the air to bid the world an exuberant good morning. From the cottage, Kate stood peering out the window, watching as the waves rolled into shore. She had awakened rather early this morning. As had become her custom for thirty years, she found herself standing at the window waiting for the sun to rise bright enough for her to see the green and white boat sitting on the shore. For years, it seemed to sit waiting to give passage to any passerby who might show the slightest interest. However, in all the years that she had sat and watched from her window, nobody ever paid it any mind. She watched, as her own children would skip by it without a glance in its direction. But, there it stood for three decades. It defied the blistering heat of the summer year after year as well as the blizzards of winter. Even through the harshest of winters, as most of it laid submerged beneath the weight of the snow, the green and white stripe could always be seen from the window through which Kate gazed. This morning she reflected on the boat and how through the years its colors had never faded. Even as her eyes began to age and life around her became blurred, its image was always as clear and crisp, as it had been the first day it washed onto shore.

Startled by the knock on her door, Kate’s attention was diverted to her granddaughter calling for Grandma to allow her entrance. Unable to wait, Rachel, Kate’s youngest grandchild, burst into the room with a jolly hello and a hug. Still standing by the window Kate gathered five-year-old Rachel into her arms, as Rachel asked, “What are you looking at Grandma?” Holding Rachel’s cheek against her own and looking out the window she replied, “See that green and white boat on the sand? I am amazed that after thirty years, it hasn’t changed at all.” Following her grandmother’s gaze, Rachel looked out the window then back at her grandmother. She looked out the window again before turning to her grandmother with a puzzled expression on her face and said, “Oh, Grandma, you’re so funny.” She jumped down out of Kate’s arms and announced, “Mom said it’s time for breakfast!” With that, Rachel skipped out of the bedroom.

At breakfast, Kate sat down at the long wooden table admiring her children and grandchildren. It was the first time they had all been together in years. After helping herself to a small portion of scrambled eggs, she said to her oldest daughter, “Lauren, tell me. While you were growing up, why didn’t you and Chance ever play on the boat sitting out on the shore?” Looking up with the same perplexed expression as Rachel wore earlier, Lauren asked, “What?” Kate repeated the question and watched as her son, Chance, and her daughter exchanged worried glances. In unison they replied, “Mom, there is no boat on the sand.” “Of course there is!” said Kate with a touch of laughter in her voice; “It’s been there for years!” With a look of concern on his face, Chance said, “Mom, there has never been a boat down on the shore. Are you feeling O.K.?” Feeling increasingly disturbed; Kate chuckled nervously and reached for a piece of toast. She quickly changed the subject and reassured them that she was feeling fine. Kate watched as the concern on their faces subsided before her mind drifted back to the boat.

Having finished breakfast, Kate entered her bedroom. Her legs, steadfast and strong all of her life, had begun to shake as she neared the window. With her eyes squeezed shut, she kept telling herself, “It must be there. It must.” As she hesitantly opened her eyes and looked, a smile spread across her face. It was there. She walked away from the window, and remembered a chorus she used to hear in church. The words were taken from the Old Testament scriptures. She was surprised that after all the years she could still remember these words, “God will make a way where there seems to be no way. He works in ways we cannot see. He will make a way for me. He will be my guide. Hold me closely to His side. With each new day, God will make a way.” Astonished by the words, she scrambled back to the window to once again find the boat. For the rest of the day, she alternately laughed and cried as she looked out the window at a boat that was placed there for her eyes only.

Chance and Lauren were indeed correct. There had never been a boat down on the shore patiently waiting to make passage for them if they were ever in need. It was only visible to Kate. She now realized why the snow never completely buried it, why the colors never faded despite her failing eyesight. She understood. Sometimes, in the midst of the most difficult seasons of life, when the waters are running too deep, the blizzards too overwhelming, the fires too great, all we really need to know is there is ‘a way’ of escape. Such knowledge of ‘a way’ gives us the courage and strength we need to overcome in the midst of adversity. The vision of that green and white boat before her on the sandy beach had been the anchor that Kate held onto when she felt the need. It was God’s way of saying, “Kate, I will make a way for you where there seems to be no way.”

Sharon Buhman
August 2000