Who knew hard comes in so many different forms and fashions. Over the past 3 weeks Sherod and I had to confront that our life work, the New River Regional Ministry that we’ve poured ourselves into is not immune to the economic seismic shifts the world is going through. It’s easy to talk about courage and hope and generosity when there is an abundance of resources and everything is on the “up and up”. It’s not so easy to live into those graces when times get tough. Across the board, we’ve had to make significant salary cuts and in some cases, cut the hours of employment of people we’ve worked with side by side for 16 years. The possibility of deeper cuts looms. Between Sunday evening and Tuesday evening, I got about 6 1/2 hours of sleep and thanked my lucky stars for the years I spent in the Human Resource Analysis department at FedEx. St Ambrose has a small preschool that’s been sort of chugging along but some changes in the state funding we receive for a big part of our program made it imperative to analyze our financial performance in a way no one has before. I had to do it largely alone, using analysis “muscles” I hadn’t exercised in years. I had to make sure I got it right–the jobs of 7 people depend on that. I had to try to balance a strong sense of mission and ministry with the new financial realities we’ll be operating with from this point forward. This wasn’t playing at being church, this was being church in dead earnest. Sherod and I also had evening meetings every day since Monday. The meeting last night began at 6:30 in the evening and didn’t break up till almost 9:30. We were wiped out.
We slept in a little later than usual, then we headed out to Black Point Marina. When Sherod and I moved to Florida, we brought with us a 21″ trailerable sailboat, Los Locos, and put it in for a sail on Biscayne Bay at this marina, close to “Mount Trashmore”–the highest elevation in Southeast Florida. About a year later, when we swapped her out for the larger and good vessel Promise, we sailed from the yacht broker’s marina on South Beach down to Black Point and berthed Promise there for a long time. So going to Black Point, this time with One More Chance, the 17″ motorboat we traded down to after Maria came into our lives, was a homecoming of sorts.
Daisy and Boo came along–we’ve always brought our dog(s) with us on these outings. It felt unfair to leave them at home and both dogs enjoy the water though they are both chicken about joining us for a dip. Our dog Polly, who came with us from Memphis, loved the water. She’d swim with us till she was water-logged. I miss her.
There were also reminders of times we did this with Maria. Sometimes she loved it, sometimes not so much–less and less, as she grew up, in fact. Her daddy had her all figured out when it came to his things, that’s for sure…
I don’t think I will ever stop being amazed that I have access to a place where I look out and this is what I see at the start of the day:
I am also always amused and delighted watching the folks that come out to fish in the channel out of the marina. We wave at each other and there’s a sense of instant camaraderie:
We went out to Elliot Key
and the sandbar just north of Elliot
All those years ago, when we first came to Florida, Elliot Key was our favorite place to go–we loved to fish, swim and snorkel. One Thanksgiving we “hung off the hook” for the entire weekend with Charlie, Sherod’s son–best turkey-lurkey day ever! We were frisky and playful and full of life when we were out there. At night we got to see the whole cosmos. Today we got back in that lovely water again, though we eased in gingerly. I didn’t jump off the side like I used to. We clung to each other for a long while and sadness kept bubbling up for us both. I think we’re more accepting about the fact that sorrow finds us in so many different places. Our lives are so busy and different now that each faces it on his or her own most of the time. It was comforting to feel the solid presence of my husband; he was more real than the grief. And after a while, the sadness diminished. We were both glad to be out in this lovely place, both glad to feel the breeze on our face, both glad to have a day off.