One early morning in 2008, I was crying out to God feeling most afflicted by my Divorce, Depression, and losing my Dog. I call it my 3D year. I was in a state of great fear about my future, and at the same time, grieving my great loss. I was afraid, and I was sad all at once. Fear and sadness are just not good things to mix together.
That same day God heard, and answered me. He sent me a postcard.
It was a brochure from the monastery located in the Monteagle Mountain, inviting me to their upcoming retreat program. It wasn’t the retreat that intrigued me. It was the verse they printed at the bottom of the brochure. It read: And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing.
I was a new Christian then, and even with me, that verse was familiar. Ever since then, lilies held a very special place in my heart field.
Fast forward three and a half years. I found myself in Hawaii. God did provide so much more than he did for the lilies. He always sent me a new job, a new friend, a new therapist, and a new rental studio in time and even though I had nothing to fear since God was taking care of me so perfectly, I feared. Anxiety runs in my blood.
I had been living in Hawaii for about two and a half years by then. I was quickly entering into my yet another depressive episode which would last almost a year. Fear. Sadness. Sense of isolation. Total darkness. Dreadfulness. Hopelessness. Extreme desire of ending my life. Deep anger- so deep that I did not even realize it was there. I don’t need to pull out my depression check list that my first psychologist provided long ago.
Your mind feels like it’s intoxicated by 100 Nyquil pills. Your heart is just… indescribable. Imagine waking up on a deserted island. Imagine Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away. Imagine the fear you must feel in your heart when you realize that you have no way out. Imagine you don’t have the functioning brain to process that dreadful input and figure something out. Imagine waking up on an isolated island alone every morning like it is your first morning there.
On one of those mornings, I made myself go to the Sunday Mass. Driving to the first morning service around 7 am, I studied the car right in front of my Jeep. I was trying to decode the license plate. This car had a license plate number <GAS 830> So what did I do? As soon as the mass was finished, I drove to Costco to get Gas at 8:30.
Once I got there, I pulled into one of the pumps. I parked my car, and to my surprise, Dave, my neighbor paddler, was pumping gas into his pick-up truck right in front of me. Naturally, I walked up to him and after exchanging hello, I asked the question I always ask him when our small talk came to an end. “When are you going to sail?”
Dave has a small sailing boat that he purchased when he first moved to the island. He dreams of sailing in his little boat one day, off to Maui, and he has been fixing his boat for the last six years or so. When I first met him at the canoe club, he was finally putting a new engine in. That was two years ago.
“Well, you know, I am still working on the boat!”
I thought once you get the engine in, it’s set to go. But clearly it’s not that simple.
I was driving to work the next morning at 5 o’clock. It was still dark, and on the quiet Ali’i drive, I was crying, praying and driving at the same time. Oh and I was listening to the music, too. I think it was Hymn by Magna Canta.
Then I heard.
I heard a quiet voice asking me a question. It was breaking through the upbeat rhythm of the song I was listening.
‘When are you going to sail?’
It was asking. My heart sank for a second. It was so sudden. I wasn’t planning on sailing.
‘But… I don’t have a boat,’ I was listening to myself answering the voice.
‘You are the boat. You are your own vessel.’
Our brief conversation ended. It was short, but powerful. So powerful that quickly, I decided to set sail and leave the island. And to validate my decision inspired by that quiet conversation that took place on that early morning commute, I sold my one-man canoe; My beloved canoe that had daisy flower drawings on it. I sold my Jeep and paid off my car loan. I used whatever money I had left with in buying a plane ticket to fly back home. My remaining money was to be spent while I searched for my next move. But soon, I found myself in the field. I had become that seemingly helpless lily flower once again. No job. No savings. No future. No house.
In searching for meaning to sustain me in my confusing times, I started this blog and named it Lilyboat. I couldn’t think of any better name.
These are my quiet letters. Letters I must write just because… they keep me alive. These broken letters keep me afloat.
I will tell you a secret.
As much as I once wanted to die, I so desired to live. As much as I once wanted to disconnect myself from the world, I so desired to find me a home in this broken world. I am a castaway sailing on her small boat. No engine. No paddle. Just me and my boat riding the current powered by the wind.
Lilyboat. That says all that I am.
I am a little Lily God cares for.
I am also a boat, my own vessel.
I don’t know where I am going, but–
I am going.
25 Comments Add yours
….and Jesus is always with you in your boat even if it seems that He’s sleeping in the corner.
hehe I thought about that too.. 😉 he’s the best companion!
Reblogged this on LifeRevelation and commented:
Every so often, while careening around the blog world, I stumble across a post that hits me with tremendous force…usually it is something simple and concise…as most of you who read me blog know, I’m not in love with the complex…so here is this blog by a very a young lady with a very interesting story…I can’t exactly explain why it struck such a chord within me, but at the end she writes, “I don’t know where I am going, but – I am going.” Something about her honesty pulled on my soul…I admire her grit, vulnerability, and bravery…I hope you enjoy the read…be encouraged!
AnElephantCant think of anything clever to say
This happens time after time
But he wants you to know
That he likes you and so
He says hello with this silly rhyme
This is the sweetest thing I’ve heard lately.. No kidding! Thank you.
I’m where you were in 2008. I’m alone in the world – painfully sad and often afraid of what the future holds. I’m still able to smile and laugh but inside I’m in pain. I love what you wrote here. It figures that Stephen would find you and lead me to this blog. I love him. I’ll join you, if you allow me. My daughter’s name, coincidentally, is Lily. She recently got married and moved far away (Illinois to BC). I have an empty nest. I turned 50 this year. Just when I thought I was going to start chapter two, my husband told me he wants a divorce after 27 years of marriage. That happened this past Thanksgiving. Oh, and my dog died, and then my cat. It’s been a hell of a time for me. I’m all alone. I don’t know where to go or what to do. I know the pain you speak of- when you ask God to let you come over to the other side, even just briefly, for some needed heavenly rest.
I like that you look for signs and then you follow your heart. I do, too. I’m at the point where I need a 2×4 to hit me on the head, though. I need some solid guidance and direction.
Anyway, sorry for the ramble…
I’ll be following you in your Lilyboat and I’ll keep you in my prayers. 🙂
Lisa …See my comment will you? …Diane
Hi Lisa, my heart goes out for you as I read your words. But you are not alone in carrying that pain. I remember my dark days beautifully now, because God used that period to draw me ever so closer to Him. It was because of those days when I had nothing to rely on but praying that I got to know God. My prayers are with you, and may the Lord enter under your roof and dwell with you. When the Lord is with us, we are not alone no matter what the world sees in us.
You have my prayers.
I think that’s part of the process or plan – in those dark moments we will turn to Him. I have been praying and know He is near. I guess it doesn’t mean that the pain gets lifted, it just means that we’re not alone. Thanks for the comforting words and for the prayers. I’ll be praying for you as well and your beautiful Lily boat to find a peaceful shore. 🙂
Lillies grow in dark and difficult places, but they do grow and blossom and are part of a much bigger story than one garden–His story. Bless you!
How beautiful. This reminds me I should research some more facts about lilies. Surely God had a purpose in choosing to use the example of the lilies to demonstrate His point. It seems what you said might be the reason! Thank you for the insight.
I can feel what you and also one of your commenters are saying…Maybe different situations that got you to the point you’re at now…then when I had those despairing times of feeling so alone….I’ve come through the ‘darkness’ that I suffered for so many years but I so remember the pain .
I can say ..maybe take one day at a time…and I know that sounds cliche…but when you’re feeling like you are that’s all you can do..take care of ‘today’
I’ve been blogging since Nov. 11 and it’s a result I believe of asking God what I could do ‘for Him’…and even though I had only heard of blogging once and didn’t understand it at all… I sat down one day and set up the blogging account and with trepidation set forth…to find so many wonderful supportive people… and also many hurting people. Some in the midst of what was my past.
Please know you can and will find the direction to take in your life…with faith and hope …God does care ..even if He seems far away…he is not. He’s beside you every step of the way…I recently reblogged something that a fellow blogger posted and I’m sending a link for you…I thought that it was beautiful…Take care ..Diane
Thank you for these comforting words. Oh, he’s never far away.. I know that now! 🙂 One day at a time is the adage for all. It took me so so many days of pain to learn to live one day at a time. I like how you said; “take care of ‘today’.
I am glad to hear that you have come through the darkness. That proves one’s strength! I shall check out your blog as well, and thank you for the link.
Thanks so much, Diane. Your words are comforting and give me hope. I read recently that these times are when God needs you to change direction all together. It’s painful to be stripped of everyone you’ve loved and thought loved you. Mine came on suddenly like a tsunami. I wouldn’t wish this kind of heartache on anyone.
Knowing that there are others out there, like you, Diane, who’ve weathered the storm gives me a reason to hang on.
Okay, now I’ll go to the link. 🙂
Thanks again, for your kind and tender words.
Diane, Lisa, and “Lilyboat”. thanks to Steven I too found this post and it has touched my soul in an hour of great despair. I feel as though I have weathered many storms and found ways to be grateful for them as I gazed upon some resulting rainbows. But today, the storms that have violently gathered just recently are stronger and bigger than any i have been through before and i just don’t think i have the will to make it through. Though not religious, i am deeply spiritual and this post as well as your comments have given me hope that i too might be able to find some shelter from this horrific storm if i just let go and let god. Thank you all. Keep on going.
You are well on your way to a good place as God always, always leads one to the best place. I understand how it feels like some inner storm is going through your core.. threatening your own existence. I used to call it my emotional tsunami(triggered by the circumstances but also by my mental illness). But God pulled me through, and He stayed with me. Because of that experience, and because I have witnessed what He did for me during hard times and good, I know He is real, and that He cares for me greatly. And He cares for you tremendously. I can feel it! Don’t lose hope, and keep the faith, and Love will always be with you. So nice to meet you and thank you for dropping by.
You also have had a very rough time, Lisa. Asking the Lord to remind me to pray for you and for Lily. My wife has struggled with Lupus for the past 27 of our 28 years of marriage ( and truly sorry to hear of your marriage struggle), and I continue to ask the Lord for healing from her chronic pain, headaches, chronic fatigue, etc.
Our marriage has been greatly blessed, (and I won’t go into all our financial issues) but we continue to trust the Lord for another day. Through it all He has given my wife such love and caring for others – apart from His grace I don’t know how she functions. I will pray for the restoration of your marriage, don’t know all the relational dynamics, but perhaps the Lord will turn his heart and heal your pain.
Blessings to you! His grace and peace to sustain you on your journey,
May the Lord strengthen your marriage more and more, and give you blessings to be His good examples to those around you. I pray for your wife, and for you for Him to carry you in your sufferings.
Thanks for all that you have shared here Lily. You are a blessing! Reminds me of a quote from Robert Murray MCheynne “There are some flowers that only when crushed emit the sweetest fragrance.”
You are in my prayers. Thanks for visiting wordimagery. Appreciate the encouragement.
Hi Stephen. How sweet of you to leave this message! I love that quote. It gives me a lot of hope!
Very inspiring ! Best of luck to you in everything you do 🙂
Keep lighting up the world with your amazing words.
Hi Maryam, thank you for the visit. And good luck to you as well!