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.

Christmas Morning Blessings!

This post should arrive on Christmas morning! (assuming you are reading somewhere close by!) So, for today, no great insights to share with you… just a simple message to say “thank you” for following along with me and my adventures! Enjoy the beauty of the season, and may you truly sense God’s presence today as we celebrate His gift to us !


a guest post from Abbie B.

Super excited to be sharing from a friend today!  Abbie is much (much!) younger than I, and yet, I am slightly jealous of her adventures.  I asked her to share a bit of her story after seeing a photo from her Jamaican trip.  Ya’ll know I love a good photo — and this one struck something within me — there is compassion and hope embodied in it, and yet sorrow and despair.  So I knew there must be a story behind it.  I have asked Abbie to share the story.  Enjoy!

Growing up knowing that both my Nana and my Grandma were overseas missionary nurses had always been an inspiration, and created a question of whether or not that might be God’s calling on my own life. When I began my nursing journey, I had many people ask me if I was going to follow in my Grandma and Nana’s footsteps. I always replied:  “If that’s what God wants.” I never wanted to say “I don’t know”.

So, when the opportunity of doing an International placement in Jamaica came up, I jumped at the opportunity.  Being a hands on person, I knew that I needed to experience being an international nurse to know if that was where God was leading me.

I didn’t know what I was going to be walking into when I landed in Jamaica, I didn’t know how I would feel! There was a part of me that was scared to walk into a new culture that I’d never experienced, the other part of me was excited for the challenge that was waiting.  My time was split between an orphanage and a small primary school.  Both places were completely different.  Walking into the orphanage, my heart felt heavy,  it was so hard knowing that some of these children didn’t have a permanent place to call home and to feel safe. We spent a majority of our time with the babies. Some who were premature, some toddlers, some who were not able to walk because of varying mobility impairments.  It was so hard to see the needs of the children, whether it was just to hold premature babies or to take a toddler out of their crib and help them walk.  It was even harder when a new baby would come in and try to settle.  My heart broke at their cries for comfort and security.  Working at the orphanage really affirmed in me that my heart is for people who are displaced and broken. Really breaking my heart for what breaks God’s. Our days there were spent doing Head to Toe Assessments (checking all the major body’s systems to make sure that there isn’t anything abnormal), bathing, changing clothes and diapers, playing games, reading, feeding, giving medications when needed to the babies and toddlers, as well as teaching the care givers at the orphanage about the misconceptions of asthma or hygiene.  Which at times was difficult for me because I never wanted to feel like a “know it all”,  or that I was stepping on toes.  I really learned how to be collaborative with those around me.

Working at the primary school was a good break from the emotional roller coaster (not that I didn’t love the orphanage) because I got to use a different side of my brain and skills while at the school.  It was more of “health teaching” with the children there. We brought down nurse and doctor costumes and I got to explain what the different instruments were and played games with them.  It wasn’t a large school by any means, but it felt like a family there — which was such a different feel than the orphanage.  I took the teachers’ blood pressures daily,  to see patterns of increase and decrease, answered their questions about what diabetes, heart failure, asthma etc. all are, and how some can be avoided, and that some is just up to genetics. So many amazing conversations about what health is and what it means to people either physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.  It amazes me how we can be from different parts of the world and find a common ground — and from there — relationships are built.

I loved my international placement,  and in a lot of ways I’m still decompressing and sorting through the lessons I learned.  The one thing that I will always hold with me is when I was leaving, the woman that we were staying with, said to me “You have a beautiful heart, don’t ever lose it.” God’s given me passions, He’s created a heart in me for people to feel safe and secure, to have a place where they feel like they belong.  By the end of my placement, I had a whole new appreciation for my grandma and Nana. Their faith, their consistency, and their commitment to serve God in the unknown. The whole time I was there I was asking God:  “Is this what you want me to do? Is this where you are leading me?” By the end I realized that being a long term missionary isn’t something that God is calling me to.   I think short term trips are still an open door that God isn’t going to be closing anytime soon.  I know that community is where God is calling me and I’ve really seen that in Toronto.  There are so many who are broken and displaced for varying reasons.  My heart breaks for them, and all I want to do is step beside them and walk with them through the hard times.  I’m excited to see where God leads me, as scary as that is,  I trust that He knows best and He will be faithful in giving me the strength to follow through.

Indeed He will, Abbie.  I wish you much joy in the adventure!