Meet my borrowed kayak!
I can’t even tell you how excited I was the day it got dropped off in my yard. I’ve been dreaming for a long time of being able to experiment with the versatility of a kayak, both for personal recreation (a vessel I could handle all on my own!) and the new world of photographic opportunity it would open up for me (high stealth waterfowl photography, coming right up).
But, of course, the catch is that it’s borrowed, so it comes with a time limit. To make things even more interesting, I don’t actually know what the time limit is. I have a few educated guesses as to when it’s owners are going to decide that they want it back, but I really don’t know. It could be in my yard for as little as a couple weeks. It could be in my yard for the rest of the summer.
One morning though, a week or so after it arrived, I woke up to the fact that it was still just sitting in my yard. Wait a minute! Time was ticking, but I hadn’t even used it! How silly would it be, after all the excited intentions I’d voiced, to sheepishly admit to the owners when they came to get it that the only water that had touched it while it was in my possession was raindrops from a summer storm? They would be quite justified in questioning the worthwhile-ness of the effort it took for them to transport it to me.
So, on a quiet Sunday as a hazy afternoon was fading into evening, I hauled it to the water and gave it a go.I slipped along past the water lilies, and brushed gently through the wild rice. The water was like glass except for the artful zigzags of water bugs. The mosquitoes stayed away, and I could hear a blue heron croaking in the distance. Water dripped down to my elbows as I dipped the paddle up and down, and for a few minutes, the looming to-do list for the upcoming weeks faded away to the back of my mind.
It was every bit as peaceful and relaxing as I’d imagined; how glad I was that I hadn’t missed the opportunity!The quiet of the water was a peaceful place for thinking, and as I floated airily along in my orange pod, it occurred to me that the gift of life is a lot like a borrowed kayak.
I’ve heard people who were healed from cancer or survived a terrible accident call their life thereafter “borrowed time”. They realize that they could/should have died, and whatever time they get after that feels like a precious gift. They go on to live with much greater intention and with much deeper gratefulness for every breath they take.
Here’s the truth, though: Those survivors have had the advantage of a wake-up call to bring them to their senses, but you and I should be living with the exact same amount of appreciation and urgency as they are. We’re really all living on “borrowed time”. God gave us life, but none of us came into this world with an automatic 100% guaranteed Will-Live-To-Ripe-Old-Age warranty built in.
That truth can be a little unsettling, but living in denial of it never helped anybody. Better to embrace the exciting part, that we’re all given the exact same chance to make what we can of our limited time of unknown duration—and we get to choose! We can “leave it sitting idly in the yard”, or “take it to water and go somewhere with it”. We can fill our hours with good intentions or we can buckle on a life jacket and start paddling those intentions into reality. We can waste opportunities, or we can embrace them for their full potential. My encouragement for the day? If there’s a kayak sitting neglected in your yard, go use it. It’s good for the soul. And if your life feels a bit like a neglected kayak, go use that, too. Spend it well–and when time is up and it’s time to give an account, you’ll have no regrets.
And that’s really good for the soul.
“For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:
“As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will confess to God.”
So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10-12)