The Anchor and The Hurricane

by Anisha Hopkinson on November 8, 2015

anchor hurricane
I’m a dreamer. I know it’s not really possible for me to save the world, but I still dream about it all the time. I’m a great starter. Full of passion and can-do spirit, I dive right in. Don’t try to warn or reason with me, the risks don’t really mean much.

My husband is a thinker. He sees a suffering world and carefully considers where and how he can make a difference. He starts slowly, thoughtfully, because there’s no real rush when you’re in it for the long haul. The risks are carefully considered and prepared for.

Our pastor likes to ask the question of married couples, “Are you the anchor or the hurricane?”

When a hurricane and an anchor move overseas, adversity doesn’t miss an opportunity.

True to myself, I dove right in. My new culture and language right outside my front door, I walked the neighbourhood streets for hours each afternoon. It didn’t matter that I didn’t actually have any words or phrases other than “Good morning”, “My name is Anisha” and “What’s that?” It didn’t matter that my feet couldn’t touch the bottom. I figured I’d just tread water while I searched for a ledge to grab on to.

Unfortunately for anchors, hurricanes tend to whip up everything in their path and carry them along, willingly or not.

The anchor would have preferred to learn more words first. To have a base to build meaningful friendships on rather than a bunch of friendly but rather shallow smiles. The anchor would have sought out relationships with expats who have been here for years instead of focusing exclusively on local relationships. He would listen for directions and, coached by the experiences of those who already know where to find the ledge, would swim confidently in the right direction.

It’s hard for hurricanes to slow down, but the anchor you love can only be tossed and carried along for so long.

We were warned, “Your marriage will be under attack. You have to stay in tune with each other. Nothing else matters.”

I didn’t see the break in the wall until the arrows struck. Illnesses, language difficulties, overwhelming feelings of powerlessness, loneliness, depression, anger – they each hit their mark. As we tried to recover our defences, me through eating my emotions and the anchor through stuffing his down inside, we only destroyed ourselves further. My weight ballooned, he became angry and mean.

Of all the lessons learned over the last year, this one is the hardest: In all my passion and enthusiasm I fail my anchor. While I ignore and criticize the needs and God-given qualities of the one I pledged my life and love to, the Adversary gains easy ground.

It took time, but we eventually learned how to fight back. We learned to honour each other through empathy, compromise, encouragement, and acknowledging our differences are not mistakes but God’s design.

The steady anchor qualities in my husband make him a capable and safe missionary pilot. My hurricane engages and holds the attention span of pre-schoolers. Free to be and love who God created us to be – we thrive.

The dreamer and the thinker, hurricane and anchor, joined together for one mighty purpose. Not to save the world or even figure out how to change a little part of it. Those reasons are much too small.

No matter where we are, no matter where we make our home, no matter what we make our profession – this union is not about our physical world. It’s really about reflecting God’s great love.

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
(Ephesians 5:1-2 The Message)

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What about you? Are you the hurricane or the anchor?

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About Anisha Hopkinson

Anisha was born to Chilean and Texan parents, first tasted missions in Mexico, fell in love with an Englishman in Africa, and now lives in Indonesia. She journals about cross-cultural life, helping people, and loving Jesus on www.namasayamommy.blogspot.com
  • Elizabeth Trotter

    This is the kind of article that told me we needed you on the A Life Overseas team! So glad to have you here 🙂

    Turning towards each other in times of stress truly is the hardest thing, when all we want to do is turn away. I make this mistake in times of stress quite often. I pull away, and in so doing, reject him. I’m getting better at turning toward him faster, but it’s still a weakness and a work in progress.

    I do like this metaphor. So glad your pastor gave it to you to fall back on when times got tough. And also so glad you’ve identified these emotional blocks and started working towards healing.

    Love you!

    • Agreed! This is so helpful! Would you mind, Anisha, if I used this as a spring board for when an anchor or a hurricane move to the field single? You’ve got me thinking :)!!

      • Anisha Hopkinson

        Go for it! Looking forward to reading what you write 🙂

    • Anisha Hopkinson

      Thank you Elizabeth. I’m honored to be here!

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