Lately, I’ve been surrounded by docks on various Southwest Florida ponds, rivers, passes and the Gulf of Mexico. The docks have caused me to think back to my father’s cherished Chris-Craft and the small “lagoon,” actually an inlet off Lake Erie, where it and a dozen or so small craft docked.
I thought about the unwritten rule that nobody else could tie up at anyone else’s dock. None of us in that small community where peach orchards grew owned the land surrounding the lagoon, but each family claimed its own space and built its own dock.
A father’s trust
My father taught me knot-tying, how to steer a boat in a storm and when not to go out in the boat. I never needed these skills later in life. But what I learned from this was the sense of security I felt that my father trusted me to dock the boat, maintain its upkeep and practice safety measures—all at the age of 13.
He and my mother also allowed my brother and me to swim and boat whenever we wanted to except on Sunday mornings when we all went to worship services together. I was allowed to go to church with my long hair dripping down the back of my dress, but Sunday church was necessary.
Blessed to choose
In our lives, we needed a dock, but also the safe haven and sheltering arms and love of Jesus. Our parents taught us that one’s life is not just physical, but also spiritual—by living examples, not just empty words.
Many of us are blessed to be able to choose our own safe havens or docks where we moor ourselves before venturing out into the daily life of the world.
Where is your safe haven in the temporal world? Is it a person or a place? Where can you dock yourself and know you belong? Is there a special place where you can also find Jesus in the quiet of your heart? Do you have a devoted family member or friend who knows who you really are and loves you in spite of—or because of—it?
Barbara Miller served on the churchwide executive board from 2014-2016. She lives in Naples, Fla. This blog originally was published in March 2015. On Sunday, we observe Father’s Day.