When I first thought about the Lake Powell trip, I had it in my mind that it would be something similar to a weekend getaway in the mountains only on a lake. Well, I was quite off the mark. It was more than I could have ever imagined. It was such a unique and wonderful experience. It was everything and nothing I thought it would be at the same time.
It never occurred to me that 12 people would be living on a boat together in close enough proximity that if you don't have a good mix, you could be getting into a lot more than you bargained for. Fortunately, it was a great mix for us. It felt like family almost immediately. I can't believe how lucky we got. But then I have been feeling that way about this ever-so-miraculous friendship with the Weisners for such a long time, that I am coming to realize it is neither luck nor an accident.
This amazing family is a gift from God to me. Ironically, this friendship started so tenuously as it was rooted in a previous failed friendship. I was so broken about it still and really wrestled with this incredible discovery. I was so excited when we found Declan. I had no idea it would blossom like it has, not just Jackson and Declan; but also for Tyler and Liam; Dan and Paul; and Shelly and me. I was still nursing my own guilt for costing my son his best friend. I felt like God was giving me a second chance. I just had to figure out a way to keep my own indiscretions from screwing this one up.
What I hadn't counted on was Shelly. She was the easiest person to get to know. And when it came down to it, my admission to her about why I had cost my Jackson his best friend was a no-brainer. Here I thought I would never admit that, but somehow I knew it was right. She accepted me for the lost soul I had become. I lived next door to someone for almost 10 years, our kids were inseparable, and yet I never really knew her. She always had her guard up. But in a few short months, I felt like I could totally see Shelly's heart. She knew my worst faults, and still she showed my love and compassion, and even welcomed me into her life. It blew me away. I really expected her to run from me. Who wouldn't have? I would have completely understood. But she didn't. She stayed. She gave me hope.
Over a year later, I am thinking about all the little blessings that have been given to me like Shelly. The fact that I lost my job, my dream job as a fitness instructor materializing, the fact that I have been so humbled and humiliated, having to reach way out of my comfort zone, scratch and claw to save my marriage, and face my worst fears-all of these things are part of the plan. I have decided to forgive myself today. I have gotten the message, and I put it on the cross tonight. Sooner or later, we all have to look in the mirror. I want to love the reflection again. I want to believe I am still a good person. I want to understand that sometimes we fall down so that we can stand up. I want to appreciate the things God has done in my life, the good and the difficult. I want to have courage and strength were I have felt weakness and fear for so long. And I am doing it. Every hour, every day, every week. And it is so hard. But I am doing it.
Isaiah 40: 28-31 continues to find me in so many things I do...
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.