when rebels set sail

Photo by Glen Alan Woods

Such a rebel, this tug boat on the mighty Columbia River. At least, that is its given name. Rebel. I wonder, what could it possibly rebel against? The dead weight of many tons brought to bear by the loaded barges? The conflicting currents of the river? The obstacles in its way? One wonders; one wonders, indeed.

Navigating a tug boat while pushing two barges surely is no easy task. I have a hard enough time keeping my grocery cart in a straight line, much less deploying an entourage such as the one above. But I suppose none of that is really the most compelling point. The skill involved with controlling this tug is far more advanced than rowing a canoe, or steering a speedboat. It requires a sophisticated knowledge of the river, the tug, the behavior of the barges, and so much more. I doubt that the Captain of the Rebel graduated from some marine school and immediately took over the helm of the Rebel. More likely, his ascendency to this role was many years in the making, learning, growing, proving, practicing. Equally likely, there were others who aspired to the role, but they fell short for various reasons. Not everyone who seeks it is so easily handed the reigns of such a large responsibility. It must be earned. And even those who seem to have earned it are not always granted the privilege. Life is unfair, that way. They learn to adapt, finding other ways to use their skills.

While I never aspired to be a boat captain, I have dreamed of other lofty goals. Some have come to pass, usually in an edited form. Many others have died.  I am learning to adapt to the new realities, variously in terms of my perceptions, my hopes, and my commitments. In a way I am becoming a rebel to the common expectations that some have about me. It is not an entirely foreign experience, but I sense a profound new degree of disconnect between what I once thought were the major components of my aspirations and the newly tilled soil which seems to have been brought to the surface recently. In a way, this journey I commenced nine years ago and (I mistakenly thought) I concluded upon my graduation last year is taking on a personal dimension. So, it hurts. It probes. It yearns to be set free. And I wait on the Lord for his direction and timing.

Photo by Glen Alan Woods

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