My mind likes to wander, especially when I’m sitting outside staring at nature.  I especially love clouds, and I hunt for objects within the wisps.  On a recent sun soaked afternoon, as I watched the clouds move slowly across the sky, it made me think of life’s journey; specifically, that of a wife, mother, grandmother and widow. I hold three of these titles, and know that someday the fourth will come.

Like the clouds drifting across the expanse of the sky, our lives are often a journey that we have little or no control of.  Some days move by so slowly they seem to take more than the allotted 24 hours.  Others careen by as if we’re dashing for the finish line of our own personal race.

Growing up, we long for the freedoms that we believe will come with teenage years and adulthood.  We think we will never be out from under the rules that our parents have placed upon us, and in some cases, we choose to run from those rules.  But eventually, most of us grow up and realize that mom and dad were only doing what they thought was best for us, helping us to grow into people of character.

Then our turn at adulthood comes.  We find a partner and a new journey begins.  We build a home and look forward to the arrival of our own little ones.  Nine months, waiting for a child to be born; more waiting for them to crawl, walk and talk.  Will it ever happen?  Then, as if whipped by an unseen current, the whirlwind begins.  Nonstop changes and additions to the daily routine.  How will we get everything done, and where will we find enough energy?

At some point, usually in their teen years, our children become walking hurricanes.  There are storm clouds, with tears falling like torrential rain, and doors slamming like claps of thunder.  These human hurricanes come and go, causing havoc in their path, and we wonder if the sun will ever shine again.  Eventually it does.  The cycle repeats itself, only with another new generation of offspring.

As our children raise theirs, we try to be a safe harbor, providing a respite in the storms these new families face, the lighthouse of experience and guidance, but as often as not, those new sailors ignore our maps and set sights on their own destinations.

Time goes on, calm waters return, and we drift to a different tide, slower, more stable; comfortable.  We relax in the softness of the breeze, taking in the sun.  We are happy.

But the calm does not last forever.  We do not see the approaching dark cloud until it’s too late, and there’s nothing left to do but hunker down and wait it out.  This storm passes as well, but not without irreparable damage.  There is no rescue from this final storm, at least not in this life.

So, we journey on alone for a time.  We set a new course, sail a different sea, but we know that someday we will drop anchor as well, and our journey too will be complete.

The knowledge of that final voyage is full of emotions; fear, relief or maybe anticipation, knowing we will see our sailing partner again on the great Crystal Sea of Heaven.

Sail well.