Three Men In A Boat: Who You Bring And Who You Join Will Lead You In

boat water


On a night where every inch around me was filled up with crisp, blackest black mildly cool spring air, and only the tiniest, far off bits of light dotting the sky gave us proof of where the blackness ended, we climbed into the little jet boat beside that creaking, swaying dock at our family’s boat-access only lakeside cabin, and set off.

Wrapped up, blissfully unaware, in a pile of blankets and dreams, nestled into my neck, was the baby. Beside me, life jacket shielding him from the cold, sleepily snuggling against my side, affected more by the late hour than the brisk open air and tiny cold drops that sprayed into our faces as we moved along, my youngest son. We sat there together, I the only one of us to witness our little voyage, while the three men in the boat set out to get us across the lake in the black of night.

My dad at the wheel, my first husband on the bow, my forever husband standing on the back holding a spotlight above us and out toward the shoreline. All working together to get us traveled safely across that lake and back to shore.

Faster and faster we moved through the darkness. The air grew colder and blew faster around us as the calm wind now picked up with the speed that was carrying us across the glassy lake. The motor and the upturned water growled loudly in our ears, cutting into the otherwise perfectly still beauty of a day at rest. Fog, clouding up the only window in front, leaving no visual at all in the pitch of night of the path ahead, if it weren’t already shrouded in complete nothingness. Not even the moon was present to reflect on the water and light our way. Dad relying completely on these two husbands I brought into this boat, to steer his movements and be his eyes. I was relying on all three men in this boat to guide my way.

One in the front perched as the lookout, used his hands to signal a turn or an adjustment left or right. The other standing atop the back of the seats and above the canopy, with the small spotlight in hand. He ducked down in, to repeat the signals out into the night, loudly enough to be heard by dad over the hum of the engine that echoed against the shoreline we couldn’t see, but the echo reminded us it was there. Dad blindly followed along each direction called out, making the swift adjustments with a purpose and a confidence and incredibly, an ease; they all did. It was as if they had been navigating this kind of three man journey through the darkness together their whole lives.

Go Left! More! More! That’s it! Too close to shore now, right, Right! Ok you got it! Now stay straight, watch that stump!

The ride seemed to go on forever, and also happen in just a blink. It was as if I was dreaming the whole thing; except I was sure that it must be real, as I could hardly feel my fingertips in the now frigid, speeding open night air. And I could hear both of my little ones breathing heavily against me as they slept serenely through it all. I was on edge, feeling both a little scared of the perhaps foolish predicament to have stayed out so late that we now must travel back to camp this reckless way, and eerily safe all in the same instant. As I sat there with the wind and the motor whirring in my ears, my hair blowing in my face, the muffled yet loud voices in perfect synchronization being carried off with each new order given, cutting into the otherwise still night, the complete darkness all around me; I thought.

Of all the people in my world, these three men in this boat will make sure that I, we, my loves, will make it safely back to dry land. This I know more than anything in this moment. Even as I sat there, aware of my powerlessness to the blackness of the journey, I knew that I could believe in these three men more than any fear I had; more than the control I lacked in that moment to be able to take care of myself. Because all I could do was hold on tight, squeeze my children closer, and trust, without seeing where this was headed.

And so, it was with an equal mixture of strange calm and exhilaration coursing under my skin, along with the goose bumps from the growing misty breeze as the boat sped along through the blackest air, that I clutched my children tighter and enjoyed this most unusual ride. I couldn’t see where we were going, none of us could individually. But together, by these three men in a boat seamlessly navigating through our swift and unknown path, I knew without a doubt that we’d get to the other side of the lake to the shore again, safe and sound.

Sometimes you have to rely on others to get you to the place you need to be. When you find yourself afraid, or just lost, in a fast-moving unknown darkness, in a night with no moon to guide you, on a path where there is no view of the course ahead- look to those in your boat who only want the best for you. Rely that they can and will guide you in.  Because we will all find ourselves on a journey at some point that we can’t see our way out of alone. We may learn, just when we need it most as we sit there powerless in these moments, that we have no choice but to trust those in our boat, and we hope we have chosen well. Hope that those in your boat will work together for your best interest when it can’t be done alone; when we need a little helpful navigation to find our way. All of us will find ourselves in a boat. Sometimes it’s our own, and we will blindly sit. Sometimes it won’t be, and then we will be the eyes. Be grateful of those who ensure you will make it back. I am so thankful for each of the three men in my boat. I hope they understand how much it means to me that they are there, in my boat, to get me safely back to shore. I hope they know I am in theirs too. What a ride.


There are all kinds of people in our life for a reason. Some are meant to pass through, others are meant to anchor us. I wish for all of you to encounter, recognize and hold on tightly, to the ones who are meant to stay and have a lasting impact. A strong support system can make a life worth living. When I first moved to a new area, I was baffled at how it felt so empty, so cold, even in its abounding natural beauty. It just feels like “something” is missing. It’s then that I realize what is missing is my support system; the people in our lives whom we grow to love and rely on, who shape our perspective on life and our surroundings. If you have a strong support system near you, reach out to them and let them know how grateful you are for them being in your life. If you don’t, then I encourage you to find others around you whom you can offer yourself as a support to.  Sometimes reaching out in the darkness is the only way to guide us to the shore. This life is as much about what we put in to it , as what we get out.