I hadn’t thought of that old row boat for years. When my dad bought it, I imagine he pictured warm afternoons out on the water enjoying some peace and solitude. He probably saw himself rowing out on the lake, dropping a line in the water and bringing in a great big fish. As he pondered the purchase, did he hear the sounds of a fishing rod being cast and reeled in? The sound of a fish flopping against the metal bottom of the boat?
I somehow doubt he was able to picture what a little girl could do with a rowboat, the potential for fun she would see in it. Like turning it into a backyard swimming pool. I remember so clearly the summer afternoons I did just that. I clearly recall the rubber stopper that plugged the drainage hole on the side of the boat, it had a little gold chain attached to it. I would make sure that the stopper was firmly in place, then drag the hose over and fill that boat to the brim. Then my Barbies, a whole lot of other water toys and I went into the “pool.” I think I even invited friends over to “swim” in the boat.
I found myself thinking of that old row boat the other day. I was out walking and got caught in a downpour. I was soaked to the skin within minutes, with wet hair hanging in my face and my hems dragging with the weight of water. It reminded me of a day spent in the little rowboat. My dad had taken my sisters and I out for a day of fishing. I don’t know if rain had been predicted or if the storm blew in unexpectedly but it caught us out in the middle of the lake. This wasn’t a gentle summer rain, this was a deluge of water falling from the dark sky, which was also crackling with thunder and flashing with lightning. I remember my dad moving quickly, rowing furiously, trying to get us to shore. He knew what I didn’t know at that age, that being in a metal row boat in the middle of the water with a sky full of lightning isn’t the best idea. His memory of that day is probably very different than mine.
Do you know what I remember? Laughter. I remember my sisters and I bailing water with little Dixie cups and I remember lifting my face to the sky as the drops fell and just laughing. What I don’t remember is being afraid.
I was with my dad. So far, he had never let me down. It didn’t even enter my mind that he didn’t have things under control or that he couldn’t keep me and my sisters safe. I trusted him completely so I was able to laugh in the summer rain.
I’m so grateful that memory surfaced as I walked in the rain a few days ago. It turned a gloomy day into a holy moment as I asked God to help me to trust him that same way. When the storms of life come, when thunder booms and lightning splits my world, I don’t want to be afraid. I want to know my Father has things under control, I want to trust His amazing love for me. I want to do my part, even if my efforts seem puny and ridiculous.
But then I want to lift my face to the heavens, trusting the Father who has never ever once let me down, and laugh.