Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 NKJV
The Intuition Diaries
At about the midpoint of our trip around Lake Michigan, we spent a couple days in St. Ignace. We had been travelling seven days non-stop from port to port. It seemed like time to regroup. So we spent an afternoon, a whole day and a morning in St. Ignace. Our choice to stay in this small town across from Mackinac Island was purposeful. We wanted a slower pace.
Our first morning in St. Ignace, we lingered over a pancake, bacon and egg breakfast prepared on our galley stove. After breakfast, we pulled the bikes off the top of the boat to explore the town. We were looking for a historic site, where Father Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit priest, founded a mission in the early 1600s. It was strange, I knew his name from the state park over in Illinois, but I felt like I knew him from my childhood. When I read one of the plaques at his memorial site, I remembered doing a report on Jolliet and Marquette, the explorers. Now as an adult I was putting the historical and spiritual pieces together.
It also made me happy to know that Marquette was a member of the Jesuit order founded by St. Ignatius, my newest spiritual mentor. (I’m reading An Ignatian Adventure by Fr. Kevin O’ Brien). In my ever deepening quest to learn more about the early church fathers, I am planning to study the Spiritual Exercises that St. Ignatius developed as part of his devotion to Jesus.
We rode our bikes to a park that overlooked the lake and the Mackinac Bridge. At the Marquette memorial, we recalled that he and Jolliet were the first Europeans to map the Mississippi River and explore the surrounding land. They left from St. Ignace, following the Fox River from Green Bay and eventually came to the Mississippi.
As we studied the map on the floor of the memorial site, we noted that we were visiting on the same date that Marquette and Jolliet turned back for St. Ignace. (They stopped near the Arkansas River on July 17, 1673). I had Les stand on the map to show where we usually put our boat in the Mississippi River in St. Charles County.
After this serendipitous discovery, we returned to the boat. We had the whole day ahead of us, so what would we do?
Clean the boat!
Insect guts were clinging to the outside; dirt and sand were accumulating in the back. So we hauled everything off the back. Les scrubbed. I sprayed with the hose. We felt invigorated and refreshed. It felt good to have everything clean and stowed away in an orderly fashion again. Living on a boat inspires simple living.
Chores took less time. We were eating fresh produce from the farmer’s market. Instead of collecting souvenirs, we were gathering memories. While on this vacation, I wanted to clean. I wanted to buy carrots to peel and cut up, rather than buy the prepackaged baby carrots. It’s amazing to me how a mundane task can clear your mind and invigorate your soul.
While peeling carrots, I had more time to ponder life. On vacation, I set aside time to read and to contemplate. As we returned home, I hoped this time of renewal would spill over into our daily life and work a day week.
Renew in me a steadfast (firmly fixed on Jesus) spirit way of living, O LORD!