Kathleen Peterson

a disciple along the way

Kayaks, Vanity, and Heaven

Last weekend my hubby installed the rack for our kayaks onto my car.

While it’s still too cold for me, it is a sign of hope. I’m looking forward to spending time out on the water simply floating, thinking, praying, and basking in God’s amazing creation.

Last summer we took the kayaks out as often as we could.  On many occasions my hubby’s brother joined us. I would lazily follow them around, take pictures, chill to music, and just soak in the sun.  They fished.

One day after feeling quite confident that I knew the bay shoreline, the inlets, markers, and buoys, the boys took off to deeper waters while I remained close to the shore where I could lazily drift. Every few minutes I would look up to make sure they were in sight.

Then it happened.
My cell had data service.
I had access to social media.

That Sunday’s homily had resonated with me and I decided to take the opportunity to do an Instagram story, give a little testimony and reflect on the Gospel.  It would be great content, shot in-the-moment, surrounded by beauty, and the peace of being on the bay.  Nature and the New Evangelization!

Here’s the problem though… and no, it’s not the waves.

It’s my vanity.

There is no way to calculate how many ‘takes’ I did before posting.  Either the wind was too loud, or I was facing the wrong direction, or I stumbled on my words, or hair blew into my lip gloss (don’t judge me). You get the point.

It took time, but finally happy with my video, I hit upload, then sat back and waited for the ‘likes’ to come rolling in.

Now, keep in mind that every moment of recording was time not spent on checking my location in relation to my hubby or the shoreline.

After refreshing my social media feeds about 20 times, I finally looked up to see where the boys were so I could paddle out and tell them how amazing my Instagram story turned out… but, they were nowhere to be seen.

Panic set it.

After many deep, calming breaths, I reminded myself that I simply needed to paddle out from the shore a bit and get my bearings.

I could handle this!

After paddling past the no wake markers and scanning the direction they were last headed, I still couldn’t see them.

Once again, my heart started pounding and I could feel the panic coming again.  How could I have missed them? We were in the bay for goodness sake, not the lake!


No worries.  I’ll call the hubby; he keeps his cell phone on for emergencies.

Plot twist… no reception where my kayak now bobbed.

Oh, the irony.

So, I paddled up and down the shoreline; making sure to keep an eye on the parking lot where we put in. Dusk would soon be upon us; eventually the boys would have to come in and I’d be waiting for them.

After several hours (more like 15 minutes), I could see from a distance the blaze orange flag which marked hubby’s kayak and I started to paddle toward them. Breathing easy, I was glad they hadn’t left the peninsula without me… also, thankful I didn’t get completely lost.

Two take-aways from that experience:

  1. Don’t use social media while kayaking. It’s just stupid.
  2. Losing sight of my hubby is akin to our journey to heaven.

You see… in His great love for us, God allows us to chart our own path.  But, if we’re not vigilant, distractions will float into our lives and steer us off course.  Recalling the basics of angles in geometry class…  the longer we’re off course the further away we move from our intended destination.

It’s so darn easy to shift our focus from the Lord to earthly things that pass.  Temptations are everywhere.  Even the most insignificant thing can cause a deviation that, for the soul, can be very dangerous. Before we know it, we’re out in deep waters with no land in sight.

But, like my roof carrier, there is hope.

When we find ourselves lost we need to remember that God knows exactly where we are.  We may think He is absent, unreachable, not even on our map.  But, nothing could be further from the truth.

We need to remember that Jesus is actually in the boat with us.  He’s the One Who calms the seas, tells us where to cast our nets, and calls us out to walk on water.

But, our sin fogs this reality and we forget that He can navigate even the stormiest weather of our lives.

There is no greater Captain for our ship… or kayak. Without keeping the call to holiness as our compass, it will be difficult to navigate to the safe harbor of heaven.

Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.” — Matthew 14:33

Pray for me this boating season as I pray for you.

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