Into the Unknown

Happy May 24 to all my fellow Canadians!! The first official long weekend of summer. For the Mitton crew, that meant heading up to the summer home… with all the Covid-protocols still in place and thoughts on respecting everyone’s distance. It also meant another weekend of boarding for the pupp-ers. He’s been once to doggie-daycare. He was fine. Yet, this mama is worse now with the dog than I was with my own flesh and blood. Kindergarten? Send them off kicking and screaming, I say. The poor puppy, though! He cowered behind us, all naked (they take the collars off for safety reasons) and vulnerable… and then off into the unknown…

“Reese”, off on another adventure!

Of course, the dog will be fine. The kindergarteners survive. The teens grow up. And the young adults move out on their own. Still, it had me thinking about that feeling. That vulnerable, alone, exposed moment we feel as we stand on the precipice of something unknown. It might be an exciting adventure that awaits you on the other side of the door. Perhaps one that you’ve waited for and dreamed of. Like, ahem, country homes and chickens. Or the valedictorian speech. Or your Nobel prize acceptance dinner. Maybe it’s the final visit to the specialist who has your medical results and wants to discuss it with you. It’s the parent-teacher interview you were asked to attend. Or the seniors home liaison who wants to discuss hospice options with your family.

Whatever is on the other side of the gate…good or bad…begins with that moment. You have never been here before. You don’t know exactly how it will all turn out. You anticipate. You might even prepare for it. You may have stumbled upon it by accident or out of no doing of your own … like a global pandemic. And yet, here we are. Living through history just trying to get to the other side. No other person has lived this day, this moment, of this hour, of your life. And each tick of the clock propels us into the unknown.

My family is giggling at me as I write up this blog post, because “Into the Unknown” is, of course, the famous ballade from Disney’s Frozen 2 where Elsa follows the “voice” in the wilderness drawing her into the unknown to a place where she finally belongs. Which, to some extent, is exactly what God does. He calls us to follow Him. He calls us to follow Him into the unknown. Into the scary, big wide world out there that whispers to us as we lie awake at night. (Not that I am comparing Disney to the Bible. I did that once. You can read about it here. But just work with me and ah, Let it Go, okay?) Many years ago, God promised His people that He will guide them as they travelled out of their comfort zones and into the unknown. Idols and false gods have no way of knowing the future, nor have they made the paths straight for those who follow them. Only God alone can do this:

“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16 ESV

Do you need this encouragement today, my friend? Are you standing at that crossroad of life? Perhaps you are hearing God’s whisper asking you to follow Him. Maybe you’ve answered the knock at the door but you need to climb back on the trail and keep marching forward. Or you’ve already been marching for a long time and are tired and in need of fresh ground. I’m imagining our dog on the other side of the kennel door running free and sniffing every friendly post along the way. Or Elsa flashing icicles at will as she glides into the unknown to a place where all the dots connect and things finally make sense.

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

It’s scary. It’s … well … it’s the unknown. All the same, the verse promises us that He will not forsake those who follow Him. Let’s turn the handle and walk through the door.

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 !