Our Alaska Highway Journey: The Last (and Worst) Leg Home

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I am home in Kodiak now but my spirit is still on the road. I have to show you what the last two days looked like. Maybe this is what it looks like when God is dreaming . . . or was it me?

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But there was no dreaming to be had the last night on the road—-and it wasn’t on the road. It was on this: our regular ferry to Kodiak, the Tustemena (known affectionately as the Trusty Tusty”).


We left from Homer, 2,800 miles from where we started in Washington the week before. At 8 pm we drove our van on along with a handful of others and sailed out in a nearly empty ship by 10 pm. (January is not a popular month to ride the ferry.)

It’s a 14 hour sailing to Kodiak, with stops in two villages along the way. We booked what is euphemistically called “a stateroom,” which is more specifically a 6 x 9 shoebox you can barely turn around in, with stacked beds and a diminutive sink.

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I did not sleep 40 winks. Or 20. There was little wind, but there was sea. So there we were, plunging our way through open seas like a bedeviled rocking horse. I did not last long in the shoebox bunk, rolling from side to side with every sink and rise. I climbed down and found my way through the nearly empty ship to a chair in the dark. I rode that horse all night across the sea with one hand over my mouth, the other over my stomach, while a man noisily coughed and spewed in the restroom nearby. It wasn’t fun.

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(And the seas weren’t nearly as rough as in this crossing.)

As the bow plunged in the swells, the spray would shoot to the third level windows beside me and instant freeze. The next morning, light came by 10 am, revealing some evidence of our trip.

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By noon, the waters had calmed. Kodiak’s shores were approaching. We steamed past the dry dock, to the city dock. Home. And maybe sleep.

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I slept 12 straight hours that next night.

THANK YOU to the many friends who prayed us home (through many a danger, toil and snare!)

HOME. Over the years, I have thought about home a lot, since I am often coming and going from it. No matter where I am, no matter what country I’m in, or what boat or plane or house I’m inhabiting, come night fall, I am looking for home. I am wanting home. I am needing home. And maybe you are too?

So we prepare. As evening comes, we empty our hands of tools, we leave our books, our screens; we close the check book. We rid ourselves of every little thing then lay our bodies down. If we can, we exercise our greatest leap of faith: we let loose our muscles. We still our brains. We give ourselves up, we give ourselves over to the hardest work of all: we fall. With arms outstretched we slip backwards into the sea.

How can we do this? Who will hold us above the waters, the waves, the icy spray? Who will keep us breathing? Who will carry us? Who will ferry us across?

God will. Every night we fall into the sea of God’s love and mercy, and we are held. We are home.

And if there are times you cannot leap, you cannot fall, if there are times you sit up all night on a rolling sea, gripping the arm rests in the dark,

even then, still

God will ferry you Home.

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Write here…

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Friends, how do you experience the presence of God at night while sleeping (or not)?