I've been reading through the book of Acts off and on since January. I finally finished it last night.
I had never really paid much attention to the final 2 chapters, where Paul, as a prisoner en route to Rome, becomes part of a raging storm and ends up being shipwrecked on the island of Malta.
What struck me is that Paul's fate as part of the wreckage was of no fault of his own. Actually, it says in Acts 27:10, "So Paul warned them, 'Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.'" But those in charge of the ship did not listen.
I'm dealing with bits of anger since the one year mark. Apparently its just a normal part of grieving. However, it's a new emotion for me in my grief journey.
I'm angry that I had absolutely no control over my entire life being turned upside down over the last year. I had no choice in my marriage being ripped apart. I could not have stopped what happened to my Tony. I was not there to intervene.
Instead, I'm just left to deal with the consequences. I'm left to start completely over.
I feel as if my heart, my life, my dreams, have been entirely shipwrecked.
Aside from relationships with family and friends, every other part of my life has drifted away like debris floating on the ocean, tossed and turned by the crashing waves. I will never be the same. And I will never recover the wreckage.
And, barely staying afloat with a plank of faith under one arm and a plank of my family and friends under the other, I wade into an unfamiliar shore. What other choice do I have, except to drown in the sea of my sorrow?
Yet, I'm so grateful that like Paul, God's grace has met me in my shipwreck.
Acts 27:39 to 28:2 explain:
"When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.
"The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.
"Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold."
My Malta is Buckhead. And fortunately, like Paul, I find my new community to be so friendly, so welcoming, so kind.
It's been a beautiful collision, running aground in a place I could have never asked for or imagined. And I trust that my new island is all part of God's perfect plan to gently rebuild and restore my heart and my life.