God Laughs, Episode 65, Odysseys in Paradise

An hour beyond Batiki Island, Rich dropped the sails and the gentle roll of a placid sea lulled The Odyssey into a rest. Lazily she bobbed. Rich sat on the deck with his back against the forward outside wall of the cabin. A vibrant orange sun hung below a ceiling of clouds to the west. The day stood ready to retire.

A steady movement of cool air flowed gently over the bow. “After my journey is complete, what then? Is it too early to chart a course? As sure as a course must be charted on a voyage across the seas it must likewise be with life—and I have no course. I’m driven by the winds that someone else has conjured. However, what course would I take so different than the one forced upon me? Sometimes the things we have no control, are the ones with the most advantage. Which things, people, or episodes would I chose to leave out if this journey was of my own volition? A man who wrestles with regrets wrestles with God. Was that Jacob’s struggle? Jacob prevailed and his badge for prevailing was a limp the rest of his life. Any scar carried with me from this journey will be a testament to my enduring.”

“If I should write a book about my journey it will start with the words, Call me Israel.” Rich laughed as he looked into the heavens. “You get it, don’t you? Call me Ishmael, call me Israel. No laughter, was I being blasphemous? That was not my intent, but please; a sign or something. Wait, I don’t really want to hear God laugh. What would that be like? It may cause a storm. So keep it to yourself. However, if it’s not funny and I’m being irreverent and foolish, please don’t punish me for it; just inform me in a way that is gentle.”

“It is time for supper,” Rich said and was about to boost himself to his feet. From the port side, a wall of water 10 to 12 feet advanced with the speed of a runaway locomotive.

Whoosh! Water rushed over from the port and The Odyssey listed 30 degrees. Rich grabbed the helm to keep from being washed overboard. Then The Odyssey quietly rocked upright and swayed a couple times before settling.

“Easy, baby,” Rich said patting the top of the cabin, “Everything will be alright. Just a rogue wave.”

Rich slipped on the slick deck and cracked his elbow on the edge of the bench. It elicited that strange phenomenon of pain and uncontrolled laughter. He shook his arm and rubbed his elbow. He looked to the heavens. “I’m laughing, but don’t really see the humor, however, if humor is all about timing…”

Rich climbed below to inspect if any damage occurred. He opened the cabinets and found most everything well in place. He made a few adjustments, nothing major. A couple books fell from the shelf above the chart desk. The Seaman’s Handbook laid on top of an open Bible with a small spyglass in between. Rich looked through the eyeglass and the word laugh stood out.

Rich picked up the Bible and read where the eyeglass had been positioned, “And Sarah said, God hath made me laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.”

“God, please don’t laugh again, and if you do, give me warning,” Rich said. “A god who created us with the ability to show our sadness through tears surely gave us something of equal proportions so we might express our joy. Laughter and humor are a gift. I’m grateful to you, oh God. So now, the first sentence of my book will be, ‘Call me Isaac.’”

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