Thursday, November 1, 2012

Smooth Seas

Smooth Seas do not make Skillful Sailors. 
-African Proverb

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.


  1. Amazing article. Rough seas for me was having or first daughter...born unbeknownst to us with down syndrome. Took a good year for me to come to grips with That. I still have trouble sometimes when she just can't do some things when or other daughter is excelling At them. I had to realize that she has such a gift from god for leaving happiness everywhere she goes.

  2. Thanks for sharing Ryan! God truly sends us rough waters right where we need them the most. But, again, he is faithful to bring on the calm waters and teach us through the process. Your story is a great inspiration to me and so many others.

  3. Please bear with me as I write this. It is still very difficult for me to tell. Approx. 4years ago, I was diagnosed with Myotonic Dystrophy. It is a form of Muscular Dystrophy that causes the muscles to spasm and not release. I have been told my specialists that, due to progression estimates, I wont reach 50. That is rough to hear when I turn 30 next year. I used to be crazy hyper because of ADHD. As you can see, this combo of disorders makes for a depressing day. I am always hyper but yet cant exercise because it will exacerbate the condition and deteriorate the muscles faster. I often have questioned God. Why me? Why my Dad? You let him die from this. Why?? I dont have any answers and they are not for me to know. If rough waters makes a sailor better, then I must be becoming a master sailor. I dont know what God has in store for me, but I will continue to seek His will and try to be to the best of my ability, the Godly man that I am supposed to be. That is the only purpose I can find but oh what a purpose to have.

  4. First off, thank you for sharing this. This was powerful to read through and an encouragement as well. To imagine what you are going through and what could go through, should make every man more humble. You are stronger than me brother and, yes, quite the sailor. You ended your story strong which is the great part. Even through all the turmoil, you still seek God. That's what matters! Continue to have Faith that God DOES have a plan and purpose for your life. And he WILL use the rough waters to change other peoples lives. Stay strong brother!
    Hit me up by email, I'd like to talk more.