The prudent man balances the opposing virtues of tenacity and flexibility. As wind and wave tossed my little craft about the Bay that morning, I struggled to find my balance. Should I stick to my plan of reaching Alcatraz Island? Winds and waves were both smacking me from the northeast such that I had little hope of even getting near the island. I decided to paddle for one rosary (so as to get in my exercise and my prayer) and then head back to shore.
The San Francisco Bay is a map of life. Its currents and winds and tides toss you about, changing every hundred yards and every ten minutes. You have to think on your feet. Two decades into the rosary my arms were giving out and salt spray was blinding my eyes. “Maybe I should turn back.” I said. By the third decade I had hit a flat stretch of water, and by the fourth decade I had entered a current that flowed northeast, toward Alcatraz. The island soon blocked the wind so that I made landfall before even finishing the rosary.
When you enter San Francisco Bay, you don’t know where the tides and winds and currents will take you. Your paddle affords some control, but the Bay reveals little until it is actually upon you. I entered Star of the Sea parish four years ago. You entered your marriage ten years ago. She entered motherhood twenty years ago. He entered a career twenty years ago. God asks us to follow a path, but he declines to reveal more than a hundred yards or twenty minutes at a time. We have to paddle on blindly at times.
My advice is that we stay the course as best we can, a hundred yards at a time, a decade at a time. God will bring us to landfall at last, and probably sooner than we think. He will bring our little boats to safe haven if only somehow we can steel our wills to keep paddling (at times) blindly through the stinging spray.