Author: Patti N. just returned from her third trip to Russia. She traveled this time with her husband, Robert and their youngest daughter, Laura.
There is a Casting Crowns song entitled “Somewhere in the Middle” that has been stuck in my head since the last day we were in Russia. One of the lines that strikes me is “somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves.” And I ask myself, what if I had stayed in the safe confines of the boat? What if I had never gone to Russia?
The boat represents the comforts of home, the “known,” the “controllable,” the easy button :-). In my boat, I know I can count on a hot shower with plenty of water pressure every morning, a couple of cups of strong coffee with milk (just the way I like it), foods that I am familiar with (and meals that I have planned and prepared), a comfortable couch, a good 8 hours of sleep in a comfortable bed, a familiar time zone (EST), a language I can read, write, speak and understand (usually), and transportation that is basically under my control (no plane, train or bus – just a car or my bike). I like the boat – a lot!
So, taking the journey to Russia requires me to leave the safety and familiarity of the boat. Why go so far away? Why not be content to compose letters, write checks, all from the comfort of my couch, while sipping on a good cup of coffee? Wouldn’t that be easier? Well, how far would you travel for your family? Wouldn’t you go to the ends of the earth for your loved ones? The orphans, caregivers, teachers, interpreters and staff in Slobodskoy are part of our family. The relationships we have built have changed all of us. I would not have come to know this had I stayed in the boat.
Another line from the song is “somewhere between who I was and who you’re making me.” If we remain in the safety of the boat, where we feel “in control,” we cannot grow. If we step out of the boat into the unknown, the uncomfortable — that is where we start to become the people we were created to be.
In the boat, it’s safe, but it’s never-changing. It offers us nothing. Life begins in the water! This is a challenge to all of you who might really like the safety of the boat – come on in, the water is fine!