I hope everyone had an awesome Labor Day weekend. This weekend my family and a friend of my girls’ got to go out to Weikwa Springs, Florida. I love Weikwa Springs. We swam in the very cold water, went canoeing, and my oldest daughter and I went for a couple mile hike. We had a great time. I love canoeing, but as many of you know about me by now I really don’t like alligators; or any large animal with massive amounts of teeth. Canoeing at Weikwa or anywhere in Florida for that matter requires a level of peace with nature. There are gators out in those waters and if you are in them you have to accept that fact. Having lived in Florida for almost 13 years now, I’m at the point where I am semi okay with them as long as I’m in the boat and they are not. Call it out of sight out of mind. I like to keep my distance.
When we went canoeing we all agreed Dan would take the two younger girls in his canoe and my oldest and I would go in the other canoe. The day was picturesque. It was everything I love about canoeing. The turtles were sunning themselves, the sun was streaming, and I was singing a few praise songs (Sorry to all the people who heard me. We call it a joyful noise). My oldest daughter and I were slowly getting the hang of getting the boat where we wanted it. I probably could write a parenting blog hear about communication. It was a process and we were getting better. Up until this point we hadn’t spotted any gators.
In a brief moment I looked to my right and sunning itself on a log in the middle of the river was a three foot alligator. Granted it wasn’t a big one, but as I mentioned before, I don’t like gators.
“Look there is a gator.” I pointed to my oldest trying not to cause alarm. I thought if the younger girls heard me they might get a little nervous, and the last thing anyone needed to do is tip the boats.
“Where mom?” She asked. Her curiosity was piqued.
“There!” I pointed again. My daughter became so caught up in looking at the gator that instead of steering away from the scaly thing she brought our boat right too it. I was okay with the gator until I looked up and I was only 8-10 feet away from it, and my daughter had pulled us right next to the log it was lying on. Suddenly visions of the series ‘Swamp People’ came to mind, and I kept thinking if I this ninja mom has to turn ‘gator wrestler’ for the day I hope I’d be able to take the thing down.
“Pay attention! Hey! Turn the boat!” My oldest could hear the panic in my voice. We’d gotten our boat stuck on several underground logs before and suddenly the idea of jumping into the water to get us unstuck didn’t seem like a good idea.
My daughter started to laugh at me. She knew I was about to hit the terror button. Fortunately we weren’t stuck on the log and we easily got away from the gator.
While all worked out well, and we had a beautiful day, I thought about this incident later. Honestly my oldest hadn’t meant to steer us right next to the thing I feared, but automatically she did because that’s where her eyes were fixed. Life is a lot like that.
What you’re eyes are fixed upon will be the direction that your canoe or life turns. Many just like us in this situation fix their eyes on what they enemy is doing instead of God, and so instead of pulling out of a situation they just end up ‘right beside it’. You have to have the determination in this walk on the earth that no matter what is going on around you; your eyes are fixed upon the prize. You’re eyes need to stay fixed on God!