I recently had the pleasure of vacationing in Maine. Autumn was budding, and the air had a chill – a perfect time for exploring. Hero Husband and I flew to Portland, rented a car, and took off with no particular plan in mind. Daring, I know, and totally out of my comfort zone. However, I must admit – I felt more freedom than anxiety, I prayed that God would direct our path each day, and He was faithful to provide an unforgettable experience.
The highlight of our trip happened about midway through, and it began with a morning walk in Stonington. Stonington is a beautiful little harbor town at the very end of one of the many peninsulas in Maine. It is known for its lobster industry as well as its granite excavation. We were strolling down the street when we noticed a sign for boat tours. We were interested in getting out on the water but didn’t want to invest a lot time, or a lot of money. This sign offered a 1 hour seal tour for a very reasonable price. Our interest was peaked and we inquired at the nearby jewelry merchant. She was a bit of character, quite harried, (reminding me a bit of the rabbit in Winnie the Pooh), explaining to us that she was preparing for her annual move to Florida for the winter. However, as I perused her jewelry, she slowed done enough to sell me a beautiful bracelet. She promised that “Captain Steve” gave wonderful tours and encouraged us to book one. The only problem was she wasn’t sure where he was and, well there’s no consistent cell service in Stonington. When she saw our disappointment, she “hopped” into her house, grabbed her land line phone, and produced the voice of Captain Steve on the other end. After very little conversation, we had a tour booked for later that morning.
We jumped on board with Captain Steve, and his dog, Boo. As we pulled away from the dock, he played the theme song from Gilligan’s Island and was completely impressed when he discovered I knew every word. Captain Steve shared his knowledge of lobster fishing and granite excavation. He told stories of feuding fisherman and the rules of the sea. He found some seals for us, as promised, and then as were heading back to the shore, he posed the question that changed the course of our exploration:
“Would you like me to drop you off on a deserted island? I could pick you up in about an hour, at the end of my next tour.”
I laughed, convinced he was joking. He asked 3 more times, challenging us by asking “when would we ever get an opportunity to be completely alone on an island?”. All I could think about was that this sounded like a familiar horror movie plot. You know, how when you’re watching the character make a really dumb choice and you’re thinking “why would anyone do that?”. And yet, in a matter of minutes I was climbing a wooden ladder up a cliff and watching the boat sail away. As he drove off, he asked if we’d ever seen the movie Deliverance, and laughed (I am not kidding). Captain Steve had mentioned there was a trail to our left, but we found nothing. We decided to explore Captain Steve’s other left and went right where we discovered a path that took us deep into the woods. We both were awestruck. Complete and utter silence. The ground was covered in all sorts of different mosses, and felt soft and spongy beneath our feet. The air smelled of pine and salt. Every turn we took brought more beauty. When was the last time a human stood here? It felt like I was inside a terrarium. I also had a little voice inside my head that was suggesting Captain Steve may never return, and I would live out my days here. I was suddenly glad I had wasted all that time watching “Naked and Afraid”. I knew we would need to build a shelter and find a source of fresh water. I began scoping for berries. We continued to follow the path, discovering a pond (fresh water source-check) and some wildflowers. My mind kept going back to the fact that we were COMPLETELY ALONE…No one but Captain Steve knew we were there. I went live on Facebook (yes, there was service on this island), only to deplete my battery – the horror movie plot thickens. There was a constant battle in my head: beauty vs. fear. We stumbled across a quarry filled with water. Captain Steve told us that they had mined the granite many years ago. The path continued until we found ourselves in an open field, equally as beautiful with the tall grass blowing in the sea breeze, feeling the sun on our face, seeing the sign…wait… A SIGN? I thought this was a deserted island…where man has not set foot in decades, maybe centuries.
Sure enough, it was a parks and recreation sign telling us to leave the area as we had found it, blah, blah, blah. Okay, so maybe no one else was on the island, but we were far from being in unexplored territory (perhaps the path should have been our first clue). We had a good laugh. We plopped on a rock, pulled out our survival trail mix and waited for Captain Steve’s return. And he did return, as promised.
As I recall our adventure, I think about the times in my life when I’ve stepped out of my circle of ordinary. There have been times when God has brought me into circumstances that I have never experienced before. I find myself fearful, yet hopeful, wanting desperately to trust God. I can easily testify that He has always been faithful. Hero Husband and I thought we were in uncharted territory on that deserted island, on the precipice of danger, treading where no man man had been in decades only to find that the path we followed was previously laid for our discovery and pleasure.
…and I’m pretty sure God giggled.
“I will never leave you, I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5