Nathan and Christina pulled into the gravel parking lot beside Buck Pond. As soon as Nathan cut the engine, they made themselves busy, releasing the ropes that held their canoe securely to the top of their minivan. Their movements were swift, with a grace that could only come from partners who have performed this dance countless times yet never wearied of it. Taking their places at each end of the vehicle — Nathan in front, Christina in the back — they lifted the boat in the air and walked with purpose toward the water.
At the water’s edge, they carefully flipped the canoe over. Red and black spun in the air to reveal the gray hidden beneath, and then came to rest on the stony shore. While Christina went to work placing the canoe in the best position for launching — the bow bobbing up and down as it rested in the water — Nathan ran back to the van to retrieve their life jackets and paddles.
When all was ready, Nathan made his way to the bow of the boat, a balancing act he was used to performing as Christina relished her place at the stern. It was the one place she knew she could take control. The only defiance she might face would be the water, and today, with the cool breeze caressing her cheek, she knew there would not be much of a fight.
As soon as she saw that Nathan was settled into his seat, paddle across his lap, Christina guided the boat farther into the pond and climbed in. One deep push off of the shore with her paddle sent the couple gliding gently over the surface, the canoe swaying side-to-side until it was in sync with the calm water.
Christina closed her eyes and took a slow, deep breath, filling her lungs with the fresh, clean air. She let the air escape and opened her eyes again. Working in unison, she and Nathan plunged their paddles into the pond, past the cattails and grass that grew close to shore.
As they made their way beyond the water’s edge, deep into the heart of Buck Pond, Christina took note of the trees that surrounded them. Red, yellow, green, orange, and brown harmonized with the bright blue sky. Autumn had not been shy as she composed the landscape to her liking, and she had signed her name for all to see.
Birds flew overhead — seagulls and herons mostly — their flight soundless as though even they knew the peace that Christina and Nathan longed for on this day. And it was peaceful out there, floating along the water. It was just the place for stress to melt away.
God knew exactly what He was doing when He created this peaceful spot. He must have known that someday, two people in love would need to use this as a way to relax, to escape the chaos they lived in, though Christina would call it “happy chaos.”
Christina’s eyes came to rest on the sturdy back of the man in front of her as it twisted with each stroke. This was the main reason she preferred her place in the back of the canoe. She could watch her husband as his strong arms maneuvered his paddle through the water — down, back, up, forward, repeat. Oh, how she could get lost in those arms as he held her. Nathan was always there for her, always ready to embrace her and make everything better no matter how big or small her problems were. That’s part of the reason why she fell in love with him, why she married him. She couldn’t picture her life without those arms, his chest, his back. And his sweet, gentle lips.
A smile drew across Christina’s face, a sentimental tear trickling down her cheek. Her heart was full, and it warmed her on this chilly day. She loved this man, and he loved her. An overwhelming love that brought her to tears whenever she thought about it.
Oh, God, she prayed. Thank you for bringing this man to me. Thank you for loving me enough to allow me to share my life with someone like him. I know he’s not perfect, Lord, but neither am I. Oh, what a blessing.
Christina continued giving thanks to the God of all creation, the God of love. It was because of Him that she and Nathan found each other, dated, and eventually married. Through Him, they were able to become the parents of four beautiful children — three biological, one adopted, all of them theirs. She thanked Him for all that He had provided for them, for His comfort in the storms, for the peace and quiet at times like this.
Thank You, Lord.
When she finished her prayer, Nathan looked back at her and smiled. Did he know what she was feeling, what she had prayed? Perhaps he did, perhaps not. But she knew it was time. Dancing together once more, Nathan and Christina successfully turned the canoe around and made their way back to shore.