It was a huge log. It seemed to come out of nowhere and it was too late to change course. I was on the front deck watching the sunset and saw it coming. I braced by holding on to the ladder and then heard the first hit at the front of the boat, then the hit in the middle created a huge jolt. I held my breath and waited – hoping it had somehow been pushed to the side. Then came the third hit. It was a different, disturbing sound as it ground into the propeller.
The boat began to shake violently, then the commotion began. I heard yelling and saw the crew running around. One of our interpreters came to the front deck and told me there was a fire in the kitchen! When the log hit the middle of the boat, directly below the kitchen, it caused the propane line to separate and the flame from the stove caused a flash fire. Smoke billowed from the lower windows as the fire was extinguished quickly. No one was harmed. The boat, however, had sustained some damage. The log had broken off one of the blades of the prop and bent the rudder.
The boat had to be tied at the bank for repairs. We found this beautiful tributary where a family obviously had lived in the past. This was our home for over 20 hours. We swatted mosquitos, listened to birds, watched a beautiful sunset and sunrise, and observed crew members and even an interpreter work tirelessly diving under the nasty, brown water filled with germs and fish and poisonous snakes trying to replace the propeller. Our interpreter was recruited to help with the job because he was tall and strong. He worked so hard alongside the crew without ever complaining. You see him in the far left of this picture with an air hose and a flashlight!
After we headed back out on our journey we only made it about 50 yards before the shaking and shuddering began and we realized that the rudder had also been bent and was hitting the propeller. Another few hours of being tied against the jungle for repairs and we were on our way.
Sometimes we have logs in our life river. They seem to come out of nowhere and knock us off course. The jolt can be violent. The damage can be extensive and can spread its destruction across our lives. A sense of fear and danger can paralyze even the most courageous of souls. Illness, accidents, natural disasters, bad choices, and hundreds of other logs can disable a perfectly good vessel.
So how do we cope? How do we repair our vessel and get back on the journey? If we take a lesson from the crew of the Amazon Vision, we don’t try to do it alone. Every crew member worked tirelessly in shoulder deep, mucky Amazon River water to replace the broken prop and to straighten the bent rudder. The rest of us cheered them on and praised them for their efforts.
When one of us gets smacked with a huge log we have to allow others to help. We can’t just tie up against the bank and quit. We have to assess the situation and fill our lives with the people that have the knowledge, the ability, and the resources to help get us back in the water. On the other side…we must be willing to be the person that comes alongside and offers help when someone else is in trouble. Be willing to dive into the murky water and help.
As a sidenote…
I saw the log coming and, if I had yelled a warning up to the captain, it might could have been avoided. If our captain had been paying really close attention, he would have seen the log and steered away. Satan is in the business of throwing logs in our life rivers. Don’t be afraid to warn others when you see something on the horizon that could cause damage. Pay attention. Don’t ever get so comfortable in life that you are not observant and watching for the dangers that can – and will – come.
This is the beautiful area where we lived for over 20 hours.