Disappointment at Tobermory

Have you ever been disappointed? Not the average, my-ice-cream-scoop-just-plopped on-the-ground disappointed, but really deep, dark, down sad? Admittedly, it’s not an emotion I struggle with too badly. Introverts tend to shy away from anything that might grip us with disappointment, so throwing ourselves out there any farther than picking a favourite ice cream at 31 Flavours, doesn’t happen often enough for us to worry about. I hear it’s not the same for people pleasers. My hubby suggested this post, so I have a full disclaimer that it’s his story.

Anyone who knows my beloved, knows he loves a good adventure. Few years back, he wanted to tour a little town on the harbours of Georgian Bay. A boat tour of FlowerPot island near Tobermory, Ontario was the goal. Esteemed hiking trails, breathtaking scenery, the cool waters of Georgian Bay — a road trip adventure for the family. This was the plan for us. Tickets on the tour boat were secured, good food was consumed, and shoppes were browsed like the adept, adventure seeking tourists we were… all was ready for our great adventure to Flowerpot Island. Until the hurricane.

Seriously. We woke up the next morning to crazy high winds, rain, hail and a deluge of weather that was unusual enough to slightly worry about our safety in the hotel, let alone out on the water. Needless to say, our boat tour was cancelled and refunded. The hubby was disappointed. We made the best of it, but I knew he was slightly crushed.

Fast forward to this summer, where yet again, my adventurer and his nobel followers embarked on another trip to Tobermory in search of the allusive FlowerPot Island. Tickets for the tour boat were secured, good food was consumed, and shoppes were browsed — and weather was monitored. We looked good to go! No sign of rain. We sat in a quaint, greasy spoon diner, munching on toast and eggs, when the cell phone went off… “I am sorry, Mr. Mitton, the winds are predicted to be too strong to dock at Flowerpot Island this afternoon as scheduled. We would be happy to have your family on our tour of Georgian Bay, but for your own safety, we will not be docking.”

My poor, forlorn, Beloved sat dumbfounded, half eaten toast halfway to his open jawed gaze as he peered out the window to the absolutely clear blue sky. His slightly less adventurous wife just laughed. I did. I giggled at the upset and pure absurdity of it all. We simply could not understand how this was happening again! It was laughable.

In the end, we did enjoy our “non-stop” tour of Georgian Bay. And yes, the winds were quite high, and the boat company was completely within their rights to ensure the safety of their passengers by not docking in the narrow, rock encrusted alcove, so we could simply have an adventure. Were we disappointed? Sure. But: we did meet a lovely couple from the States who were also sidetracked by the bump in plans. And we did learn some fun facts about the Niagara Escarpment, and we did ride the waves and dream of bigger things.

Perhaps boat tours are only a step up from fallen ice cream cones on the scale of disappointments in life. Maybe your journey includes lost loved ones, betrayal, heartache and deep disappointments, that in no way compare to this little story. Perhaps you have rode the waves of cancer, job loss or other pain. 1 Corinthians 15 reminds us that God knows our disappointments, and He gives us hope to overcome them all! So, be encouraged that even when our plans are thwarted in what seems to be clear, blue skies, sometimes the Captain of the ship is simply protecting you from the rocky shores, and wants to just give you the tour ‘around’ instead.

If the Shoe Fits

It’s only a week back to school and I’ve already heard “Where’s my other shoe?” twelve times already! Can I get an amen from any other moms out there?! Now let me explain: we have a very small entrance to our front door that spills out into our ‘open concept’ kitchen and living room. I do not have a mudroom. I do not have an enclosed porch. There is no room for shelving, no hooks or fancy baskets. I have a few shoe trays and a small closet that homes our collection of winter coats and boots, and a large amount of hockey paraphernalia. I have tried to organize and tidy our shoe collections… but we have six people in our family, and live in Canada, where all four seasons can accumulate into one week, so we have a giant pile of shoes at our front door. And it seems to be growing.

Believe it or not, they are not all my shoes, either! Despite being the prime aged woman, I do not have a large collection of shoes. I have worn the same plastic sandals since April. For every occasion. It’s the rest of my family that has created the pile! Elementary school requires two pairs of shoes per student: one for indoors and one for outside. Then there are flip flops and hand-me-downs, and dress shoes, and athletic shoes that are only for this or that sport, or running, or “the lucky pair” only for games or tournaments, or the ones that still fit but have a giant hole or broken shoe laces. Oh, and then the hubby has a casual dress pair and a fancy dress pair. Plus the hiking sandals, and the green stained ones for cutting the grass. Seriously, we have shoes for cutting the grass.

I also have teenaged sons. Yes. Those of you who have lived this stage know what I am talking about… the stink. The lingering odour of one-too-many-soccer-matches or the accidental slip in the creek that allowed some feisty bacteria to breed a large set of offspring. I could run a level 4 biohazard lab at the World Health Organization headquarters with the contents of those shoes. Those blessed runners rest outside for a day or so before they are allowed to find refuge in the pile.

And so I have been musing. One about how blessed we are for gracious people who share hand-me-downs. Two, about how fortunate we are to live where seasons change and how lucky we are to have multiple pairs of shoes and boots that accommodate the weather. Many suffer for basics, let alone for a set of shoes for “special occasions” (or cutting the grass). My mind has wandered through phrases like “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” or John the Baptist’s statement about being “unworthy to untie even the laces of Jesus’ sandals”. *Giggle* I even watched some Youtubers trying to recreate Cinderella’s glass slipper run down the stairs. (Technically glass shoes are very hard to run in!)

photo from Disney.fandom.com/wiki

I’ve concluded that shoes may give us a glimpse of our deeper selves. Our “journeys” so to speak. Biblical shoe references speak of ties that bind (pun intended) and of contracts. Athletes claim the shoe can make or break a performance, as do ballerinas who spend hours breaking in their slippers. Cinderella and glass slippers indeed. And you, my friend? Where have your shoes taken you? What journey have you walked through that has made you who you are? Who’s sandals are you not worthy to untie? Are you blessed to have a full closet? Does it inspire you to see others in a new light?

For these reasons, I will remind myself to rejoice as I tidy up the pile at my front door…or yet again…search for the lost shoe that has run off on it’s own under the couch just before we are off to school. And contemplate the day when the pile will be diminished and only my plastic sandals will sit at the door, and then, it will be tidy, but I will be sad.

A Bouquet of Flowers

Well. Here it is. First day of back-to-school week, which means summer is officially over. If you’ve been following along through my summer posts, you know it has been an interesting summer… full of ups and downs and failed plans. So, I am marking today with a big bouquet of flowers. A celebration of sorts, a chance to move forward in the adventure, and see where this next “new year” goes.

Our little urban garden is starting to yield its last of the produce, but we are still waiting for the sunflowers to bloom. They are strong, and very tall… but have not presented their happy, seed-filled faces yet! Did we plant too late? Did we forget something? I’m not sure. Perhaps they are just late bloomers, and we will simply have to wait and be patient. We also planted nasturtiums, an edible plant that I was hoping to pretty up salads with… but they didn’t grow at all! What did grow was a huge goldenrod bush… basically a wildflower… better known as a weed. It flourished mightily. Although, I hear you can make a really nice goldenrod tea… when life gives you lemons and all that… At least the bees enjoyed it.

photo by kilarov-zaneit via Unsplash

I was never a big flower fan when I was younger. Of course, I loved a bouquet of roses as much as any romantic teen, but gardens should be practical and contain something “useful” like vegetables. But I have grown and matured and have come to appreciate flowers. The simple diversity of blooms and variety of colour, alone, makes them worthy of pondering. As I read more on gardens and foraging, the medicinal use of things like echinacea, camomile, and lavender, have peaked my interest in the practical characteristics of the “pretty” plants. So, forgive me if you are a flower fiend, and have tended the perfect English rose garden for years. I am still learning.

As a scientist, I’m aware that flowers also have quite a deep history. I’ve already alluded to the medicinal uses of flowering buds. Still, have you heard of this thing called the Fibonacci sequence ? Flowers have such. Repeating patterns in perfectly mathematical sequences that bear the mark of a unique and complex Creator. Cool. And let’s not forget the simple fact that flowers are the lifeblood of the plant… seeds and fruit that perpetuate the next generation! Not just pretty faces, indeed.

And so, on this first day, of this new fall year, be encouraged by a “simple” flower. Pick a bouquet for yourself or someone else and share the love. Tag me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! I’d love to see how you are choosing to bloom today!