Like many others over the past few months I have been very hesitant to leave our home.
Even when businesses re-opened and “bubbles” began to expand over the summer months, I must admit that my personal comfort level remained low. At times, I have been very content to putter around my house and enjoy new ways of contacting people at a distance; occasionally, however, I have felt like I am at the end of my rope.
My exposure to others outside of my immediate family has been distanced (boy, I miss hugs!); however, I have worried about my bubble growing too big, too quickly, and have allowed panic to set in. I know I am not alone. I suppose we’re all just waiting for “the” text, phone call, or email to arrive, telling us we have been exposed to COVID-19.
My husband really wanted me to get away for a weekend of camping before the start of school. He loves tenting and has gone a few times this summer while I hunkered down to paint and do other chores around home. On Labour Day weekend, I finally agreed to accompany him.
We had a beautiful campsite, right on the lake, so there were no crowded beaches. The sunsets were gorgeous, the weather was warm, and the company of my husband and our two youngest children was superb. It was a wonderful, socially distant diversion from the days of the previous weeks when I had been planning – and stressing – about the return to school.
A little family of ducks made its rounds a few times each day and I couldn’t resist posting a photo collage of them on social media with the caption, “Morning visitors to remind me that, in 2020, I’m never going to have all my ducks in a row.” All joking aside, I really need reminders like that to help me let go of the desire to have control.
As it turns out, the ducks were not the only signs God would send me over the weekend. As forecasted, a windstorm hit us Sunday evening. We had prepared as best we could, packing up loose items and hammering tent pegs even more securely. We settled into bed, listening to the waves and winds growing stronger outside the thin walls of our tent.
Within half an hour, the wind rendered our tent concave. Ready to quit, I suggested we pack up and leave. My husband took things in stride. Together, we added extra ropes to the fly of our tent, securing it to a tree. One rope’s end had been too thick to pull through the loophole on the fly, so my husband cut off a small piece. I made a mental note to pick it up before it blew away, but in the chaos it slipped my mind.
We endured a night of 50 km/hour winds but awoke in safety. As we battled winds while dismantling our tent, I discovered to my surprise the small piece of rope that had been cut during the night, sitting right where it had landed.
It was not tied to or caught on anything. It must have been low enough to the ground to avoid the wind’s path. Even as we rushed around packing, the rope stayed put. I thought of Jesus in Luke 8:24, calming the storm: “He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.” I picked up the remnant, stowing it in my pocket.
In her article “God Remains with Us” on Blessed is She, Laura Kelly Fanucci reflects, “So we cry out in the darkness. Waves crash at our feet, and we wonder how we will survive – as individuals, as a family, as a Church, as a country. We want to scream to God, ‘Do you not care that we are perishing?’ But before the cry has left our lips, God is already quieting the storm and calming the sea.”
I can find many idioms to reflect upon during 2020 and I will never truly have all my ducks in a row; however, I do know that, even when I am at the end of my rope, God will keep me grounded.
And, I still have the literal “end of my rope” to remind me.