Smooth Seas do not make Skillful Sailors.
I recently started working on a new project for my work. It was an old hospital, so you get to see all of the old rooms from the Psych ward, to the maternity area and so on. I found it interesting that the stairways had pictures of calm scenes and the walls along the steps were lined with quotes. Of all the quotes, this one stood out to me the most. I'm no sailor by any means, although I think my cousin is, but this quote really applies to all of us in more ways than we think. In a lot of cases in life, we learn the most through hardship. Not always, but a good portion. Sometimes we have to be taken down an unexpected path in order to realize something about ourselves. Something that has maybe always been there, but now plays a bigger part due to the 'rough seas' you just encountered. There are other times when we learn some life skills through calm events, but I'd go to say that it is not as often. Here are some areas where the rough seas have taught me some valuable lessons in life.
COLLEGE was not a smooth sea for me. I knew, in the back of my mind (way back there), that the college I chose was the right path for my life. The hardships included; being hours away from home, keeping my relationship with my girlfriend going (who is now my wife by the way), waking up at 6 am to start each day and keeping my grades up. This was not your typical college either; it was actually a trade school for guys only. I went for three long years and it seemed much longer than that. Every so often I would have to remind myself that it would be over soon and it would all be worth it. Deep down I was learning how to handle the rough seas and become my own man, on my own. At the end of the three years, I landed a great job that I would have never imagined and I married my longtime girlfriend a few months after that. I thought the seas would be smooth from then on and boy was I wrong.
MARRIAGE was a sea that I had never sailed before. For years I thought marriage would be the answer; I'd have the woman of my dreams and I would have a great job. We quickly found out how hard marriage was and also how selfish we were, and the storm waters were rising. As we walked out our life, it became more of a blame game marriage. Each month was new problem and a big fight. These calm seas were getting mighty rough, and quick. After a few years of struggling, I wanted out of my marriage. I thought I had got it all wrong and that going back to the single life would be the answer. Low and behold, we only had to look in the mirror to see who the problems were; it was us. It was shortly after this moment that Christ started to intervene in our marriage and started to show us what real marriage meant. Real marriage starts with Christ! It all starts with Him! As the clouds moved away and the waves calmed down, we both realized how wrong we had been for so very long. These were some rough times in our marriage, but it made us stronger and a better couple. We didn't give in like most couples are doing these days and we are better off for it. We have become some pretty skillful "sailors" in our marriage, but it took work to get there and it takes work to maintain.
The point is that sometimes we have to go through hard times in life and learn from those hard times, before we can really appreciate what life is all about. I always have to refer back to Jesus and all the hard times he encountered during his time here. He was mocked, beat, betrayed, lied to and so much more. But he reigns victorious! He is there during those rough seas and he always will be. Don't forget it.
Share your story of how some rough seas turned your life around.