Finding my focus on the ferry


I decided to remain in my car for the thirty-minute ferry ride from Edmonds to Kingston. I needed time to think. Recent business expenses and issues were piled high inside my brain.

Through my windshield, I could look out the ferry’s gaping mouth and watch the clouds and nearby ships. I then noticed a car a couple lanes over. It happened to be the same model and bright red color as my son’s car.

I recalled the day he and his dad had found his car. He bought it before he even had his license--with savings from a job he’d had since he was 12. I smiled as I remembered him passing his driving test—and then taking it to high school afterward. Now he is a college senior. Where did the time go? I suddenly felt much older.

Those thoughts didn't help me shake my dismal gloom. I leaned my head back and rested. Soon I felt the ferry begin to slow down.

We were close to land now and I watched people come down the stairs, unlock their car doors and prepare to disembark. The workers were standing at the ramp preparing to rope up to the quickly approaching dock. 

But no driver had returned to the little red car. I wondered if it was a young person like my son. Then I saw the nearby elevator door open. A little girl with long black hair skipped over to the passenger door, opened it and climbed in the back seat.  Her father, who was probably in his late twenties, came next and the mother followed, carrying several bags.

What made this family different was the wheelchair. I watched the father wheel himself up to the passenger side and carefully hoist himself up and over into the seat. He was paralyzed from the waist down. He reached over and pulled his legs in and with his right arm, he spun the chair back towards his wife who hurriedly popped the wheels off, folded it up, and hoisted it into the small trunk. She was quick, efficient, and obviously used to the routine.

This family who shared the same kind of car as my son, had a totally different life than mine—or my son. It made me realize that I while I might grieve over extra expenses and business hassles, I could walk.


As we drove off and headed in opposite directions, I knew we’d not likely cross paths again. The image of a young girl, a father lifting his dead legs, and a mother disassembling a heavy wheel chair will forever remind me that I have precious little to complain about.

Thankfully one random ferry ride jolted my perspective and reminded me that life could always be much harder.  

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